“For the Most Part” Goal Setting for Success
I have always been a big goal setter. Maybe not always a goal achiever though. Making lists of all the ways I can improve myself is something that I love to do. Ok, really I just love making lists and dreaming big. But when it comes to successful goal-setting, this isn’t the greatest strategy.
Focus on Just 1-3 Goals at a Time
A few years ago, I became frustrated that I wasn’t getting any traction with the many goals that I would set for myself. This would happen even when I tried to break them up into smaller chunks. So I decided to change my strategy completely. Instead of trying to change everything at once, I decided to focus on only one goal at a time. It was not an overnight success. But over time, I have found that just focusing on one or two goals at a time has made a much greater difference in my life than trying to change many things at once.
Looking back on it now, I don’t know why it took me so long to figure this out. Neuroscience and psychology have pretty well established the fact that our brains can only focus on one thing at a time. Add to that the fact that developing new habits take time (although maybe not quite as much time as previously thought, depending on how deeply ingrained the habit is) and it just makes sense to focus on fewer goals rather than more.
For the Most Part Thinking
During my training, I encountered a principle in The Intuitive Eating Workbook that I would like to cover in this post. It’s called For the Most Part thinking.
Why do so many New Year’s resolutions and other goals quickly end in failure? Often times, it is because we set lofty goals and expect perfection in achieving them. When something in life inevitably gets in the way, we become discouraged and give up. With For the Most Part thinking, this isn’t such a problem because instead of setting a goal to ALWAYS do something, we set a goal to do it for the most part. Here are a couple of examples:
Original Goal: I will go to bed before 10:30 PM every night.
For the Most Part Goal: I will go to bed before 10:30 PM, for the most part. If I have to stay up late every once in a while or choose to in order to do something I feel is important, that is ok. It will not be the norm. I will return to my regular schedule the next day.
Original Goal: I will eat at least six servings of fruits and vegetables per day. No excuses!
For the Most Part Goal: I will eat about six servings of fruits and vegetables most days. Some days this just won’t be possible because of illness and other circumstances that I may not foresee and that is ok. I will go back to eating more fruits and vegetables as soon as possible. Most days I will get enough.
Notice the change in how these goals feel? It may not be as exciting to think that you’ll do these things for the most part, but it feels so much more attainable. And in the long run, having many good habits that we engage in for the most part is much better for us than having a few good habits that we stick to rigidly or simply don’t attain at all.
Use Other Strategies with For the Most Part Thinking
Of course, there are many other strategies that you can also use to increase your odds of success. Much has been said about SMART goals and that is a great method to use. A friend recently introduced me to Goal Ladders, a strategy that helps you break down larger goals into smaller steps. Many methods are wonderful for goal setting so make good use of them. But when you set your goals, show yourself compassion and prepare for life’s unpredictability by making your goals For the Most Part goals.
What do you think? Have you had success adopting goals for the most part? Let me know in the comments.