What qualifies as a goal?  How do goals differ from wishes?  Goals must be:
  • specific
  • measurable
  • attainable
  • something you can control (can’t be dependent on someone else)

If people say that their goal is to be tall, it’s really a wish, not a goal.  It isn’t specific, measurable, or controllable.  Changing it to be ten feet tall makes it both specific and measurable, but it’s still not attainable.  Changing it to be at least 5’6″ is specific, measurable, maybe attainable, but still not not something you can control.

Less, more, better and other comparative words are too vague for goals.  If people say that their goal is to be a better basketball (chess/violin/golf/etc.) player than some other person, it’s not really a goal.  It’s vague, not measurable, and is dependent on the performance of another person (which can vary from day to day).

If people say they want to get an A on a test, that is measurable and attainable, but not specific enough (depends on the grading formula, not on the student’s performance).  Getting an A is a wish; a goal would be to score >95% – specific, measurable, attainable, and not dependent on others.

That said:

Wish:  no more headaches
Goal:  take meds as prescribed, refrain from eating things that tend to trigger headaches

Wish:  feet and ankles would quit hurting
Goal:  wear orthotics when I’m not in bed

Wish:  spend less time on the computer
Goal:  complete all responsibilities and do at least one special project each day prior to checking my blog reader

Wish:  No Evidence of Disease
Goal:  take all meds as prescribed, exercise for at least 30 minutes on (at least) four days per week

Wish:  see my doctors less (due to lack of medical issues, not due to lack of money!)

How about you?  Do you have vague wishes or specific goals?  Do you ever rephrase your wishes as goals so that you can tell if you’re making progress?  Will you be making New Year resolutions next month?


8 thoughts on “Goals

  1. What an inspired post, WarmSocks! I have never in my life (this is a little embarrassing) seen the concepts of wishes vs. goals spelled out so clearly and pragmatically. Understanding dawns …
    Well. Thank you very much!

  2. Over the past year I’ve begun to set more concrete goals for myself, and also to spend time occasionally thinking about my accomplishments. Taking time to make a short list of what I want to accomplish and what I’ve already accomplished keeps me feeling focused and positive.

    My goal right now is to keep up with exercise and begin to integrate some core exercises into my workout.

    Thanks for an inspiring post!

  3. Thanks for sharing. I have recently been thinking a lot about the idea of building blocks, as I continue to put my life together. Come to think of it, these blocks are the goals in my larger wish. Thanks for all of your great posts…I do read them all, although I do not always get around to leaving comments. (See, I’m even leaving with a new goal!)

  4. Very useful post. I thought to let you know that you website isn’t getting displayed properly on minimo mobile web browser on my pda.

    Have a good time…sorry for typos

    Beverly-That’s a WordPress thing over which I have no control. Sorry.

  5. Pingback: Exercise Resolution « ∞ itis

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