Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Critically Thinking About Goals

You might be wondering what a post about critical thinking is doing in a crafting blog, so let me explain.

Before the addition of the newest family member, I was a university instructor. One of the courses that I had the privilege of being involved with was on the topic of critical thinking. As members of a team teaching the course, we all tried to give the students tools to live more mindfully, to think by design, to carefully examine every aspect of whatever they were dealing with (including the emotional side) in order to reach a conclusion. That's critical thinking. And the first assignment in the class was to make some goals.

So let's talk about creative goals, shall we? 

In my last post I listed some goals for this new year, some new plans I have moving forward. I wanted to follow up on that post with a little talk on setting yourself up for success in achieving those goals.

First, I want to share this infographic from the folks at Education Database Online that shows the importance of setting up explicit goals from the start.

Setting Goals Infographic
via Education Database Online

But it's really not enough to make and write your goals down, although that's a great first step. There are some ways of making your goal even more achievable.

  1. Goals should be measurable: a goal of getting healthier (for example) is a laudable goal, but how do you measure "getting healthier?" What does it mean to you to be healthier? To lose 10 pounds? To run a mile each day? To eat at least 1 serving of vegetables per meal? When writing your goal, think of exactly what you mean by it in measurable terms so that you can look back and clearly determine whether you reached it.
  2. Goals should have a time limit: let's say my goal is to sell 10 paintings. By when, 1 year? 10 years? There's quite a difference in the two. Besides, having a time limit helps to keep us motivated and accountable, lest we fall into the depths of procrastination pits. 
  3. Goals should be challenging but achievable: the infographic above touches upon that when it says not to do too much too soon. Our goals deliver better results when they motivate us with a challenge but don't near impossibility. So, in my life right now, to say that my blogging goal is to write two posts a day, every day except for Sundays for the next three months would give me a goal that's measurable, has a time limit, but would not be possible. 
  4. Goals should be divided into smaller goals/routine tasks: after you have a good goal, it also helps to set up some smaller tasks that will help you achieve that goal. For example, if your goal is to save enough money to buy a new sewing machine by June, you could have a smaller task of skipping a latte daily and putting the money towards the machine instead.
Are you ready to set up some goals? I hope so, they're actually very fun. Just to entice you, I'm putting up a free printable worksheet for you to make a manageable, measurable, time-conscious goal for yourself, divide it into smaller tasks, and get on your way to achieving it. You can download it here or click on the picture below.

file upload storage


  1. You make me want to get out some paper and start writing.

  2. Loved reading this! I've become a recent convert of goal-setting (within the last two years) and have seen a remarkable difference in my life. I really like all the points made here.
    Catherine Denton

  3. Thanks for your comments ladies. I'm having some trouble with my new file hosting site and the download is not working. I'm dealing with it right now.

  4. These are really good tips - I have a few that pop up year after year but at this point they've almost turned into words to live by. I like the whole "measurable" results aspect because that sets up an action plan for you to start looking at