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Positive Change Series: Identify Goals For Change

Updated on December 20, 2014
Take a step back and plan well
Take a step back and plan well | Source

The first installment of this change segment set the foundation in relation to establishing the desire to change. Other portions in the series are available to your right.

This segment will tackle “goals.” It is the belief that change is less likely to be permanent or significant unless goals are established.

So lets get into the thick of it all.

Aimlessly Wondering

Have you ever felt like good things come to others and you are left to watch their success? You have found that you are only able to accomplish the bare minimum required for human existence. Yet in some manner wonder if your efforts will ever payoff and your dreams come to life.

That leads to the question, “how do people become successful anyway? “ One possible answer that would come from my mouth would include, have you asked those that you consider successful?

No matter the tactics used in solving this question, successful people start out their journey with a goal. Often multiple goals will develop over time as success is not a one-track adventure.

Importance Of Goals

Before change can occur, there must be a reason one would want to work so hard accomplishing the said goal. Will changing bear the fruits one hoped to accomplish? Or will it be a progressive move in the right direction.

At this point change becomes all about you. Frequently taking on a self-centered approach may feel unsettling to some, but essential. Being able to evaluate past experiences and decisions are not for the faint or weak but must be tackled head on and with courage. Taking control of your goals in a self-fulfilling manner does not insinuate that people are not needed. Quite the opposite. However, others do not dictate the direction of your goals.

Goals that are quantifiable and able to be evaluated over time aid in the production of motivation and label success. Motivation continue when results begin to occur and are visible. Goals and results go hand-in-hand with motivation.

A pitfall to be aware of is self-criticism. All change that is self-evaluated has the tendency to be heavily critiqued. We are our worst critics. Though firmly identified goals can stand against even the toughest critic, when change is evident.

Quick Note:

Put some positive reminders on sticky notes around the house as a way to help enforce your established goals.

Identifying Goals

Short term:

These are small objectives that lead toward the ideal change. Short-term goals are somewhat flexible as opposed to long-term goals. In a less than perfect world setbacks would not occur, however, that is not our world. Setting short-term objectives affords the ability to adjust goals and work with setbacks rather than allow them to work against you.

Since we are addressing positive change we will look at how to improve oneself and overall outlook on life.

Example of short-term goal:

One may decide to change a negative perception of self with the hope of increasing self-esteem. Therefore, a short-term goal could mean saying positive affirmations every morning upon waking.

Examples of positive affirmations:

I am a good person

I am worthy of friendship

I am a good (define a talent)

I am a good parent/child/spouse

Long term:

Roughly of the same nature, but long-term objectives are what you hope to become. These objectives can be quantified and evaluated. The defining moment that you can truly sit back and say, “I have changed.” These goals are less flexible and require consistency.

Example of long-term goal:

As mentioned above, one may choose to change a negative perception of self and increase self-esteem. By continuing small short-term goals such as affirmations self-perception will change over time.

Defining what is not working in your life in terms of perceptions, thoughts and behaviors allows one to have a clearer look at themselves and the desired change. These are essential evaluations to creating a positive personality.


Goals are dreams with deadlines.

— Dian Scharf Hunt

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Learn more about creating a better you by visiting my personal website

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Set A Time Frame

The world revolves around time. Consequently, goals and change are no different and without a set timeframe one is likely to feel like a work in progress forever, which often produces a mark of discontent. But moving past the goals and into a maintenance phase affords the ability to continue improving. Self-improvement can continually occur but without a sense of unfinished business once identified goals are achieved.

How much time do you plan to set aside to achieve both short-term and long-term goals. Decide how much time you will allow before reevaluating what is not working. There is no harm, no foul by returning to previous goals and regrouping. Many times change works in a trial-and-error fashion. Change is usually awkward for most; therefore, you are no expert and will need to make some adjustments. No worries.

Short-Term Time Frame:

Using our previous established example of using daily morning affirmations can start immediately. Commonly, short-term goals work in that fashion. They are short-term so there is no time to waste. In addition, short-term objectives are considered a starting point and thereby must be started.

Long-Term Time Frame:

Long-term time frames are dependent on the implementation of short-term goals. The concept is the combination of short-term goals equating to the long-term outcome.

Therefore, a long-term goal may be evaluated in this manner:

I decide to say three affirmations daily for 30 days. After 30 days evaluate if you adequately achieved the short-term objective and if it led you closer to the long-term goal of positive self-perception and improved self-esteem.

Employing Goals By Being Accountable

As mentioned in the first segment nothing is perfect, however, initiating your goals can take on a “one day at a time” approach. But success is dependent on doing. Change will not occur on its own, you must put your best foot forward and with a positive mindset put your feet firmly on the ground.

This is the hard part. Planning to change is motivating and stimulating but the true test comes when you get going. At this point stopping firm in your tracks would not be surprising as moving forward is likely to provoke anxiety and fear.

Deciding how to start is also important in the grand scheme of things.

For example, starting off by keeping a journal or log to ensure that you are sticking to your goals may be helpful for some. It is proven that keeping yourself accountable will encourage creating new habits. Reflecting on what you have accomplished is also easier when progress is documented.

What better way to know if you are reaching or meeting your own set out expectations than to document progress as well as setbacks. Though, considering three important pieces of documentation are absolutely necessary.

  1. Determines a baseline
  2. Is it measureable
  3. Identify desired outcomes


Finding a baseline prior to setting goals are particularly important, as this is the starting point. Where are you right now? What have you found that is not working? Establish your current thoughts, perceptions and behaviors, especially the ones you want to change.


As change begins to occur one can see thoughts, perceptions and behaviors moving away from the baseline and toward an increased positive light. Measuring change shows how one is accomplishing short-term and long-term goals.


The last phase of change is evaluating the movement from the undesirable thoughts, perceptions and behaviors and settling on a comfortable improved self. Recording outcomes reinforces achievements and demonstrates meeting the short-term and long-term goals.

Prepare For Setbacks

Anything new will have the tendency to have obstacles, as change is a learning process and perfection is impossible. Setbacks are part of the path and teach you about yourself just as much as the documented successes.

One must be able to move back to make sure the path ahead is clear. Being too focused on the outcome blurs the path of the present. Keep that motto and you will achieve greatness.

Any failure is a chance to try again. Whatever happens avoid giving up even if quitting seems like the right choice to make when things get tough. Don’t forget to remind yourself of the identified goals when falling back. Renewals are part of the project. Things get tough, motivation is misplaced and old habits keep knocking on your front door. But no matter your best excuse – try again.

Quick Note:

Repeat any desired behavior for 21 days to create a new habit.

Keep Your Eye On The Prize

No matter how tough things get remain focused on the importance of positive change. I cannot say it enough; perfection is not the goal but rather improvement and inner peace. The prize can only be determined by the self and thereby can only be evaluated by the self.

Setting and achieving goals help to increase overall self-esteem especially when feeling accomplished. Change is progressive and a valuable part of life throughout maturation. Seeking to improve oneself demonstrates personal value and the effort to be better.


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    • mdscoggins profile imageAUTHOR

      Michelle Scoggins 

      4 years ago from Fresno, CA

      Thank you Chartric for the comment.

    • profile image


      4 years ago

      That inghtis's perfect for what I need. Thanks!

    • mdscoggins profile imageAUTHOR

      Michelle Scoggins 

      4 years ago from Fresno, CA

      Thank you Iris for the comment. I hope to bring some really simple tips and tools that reflect positive living. It is true that meeting our goals equates to some form of self-worth.

    • Iris Draak profile image

      Cristen Iris 

      4 years ago from Boise, Idaho

      You summed up goal setting beautifully and in a way I hadn't really thought about-that setting goals and trying to improve oneself demonstrates self worth. That is so true and you said it in a way that is bite-sized.

    • mdscoggins profile imageAUTHOR

      Michelle Scoggins 

      4 years ago from Fresno, CA

      Thank you Catherine for the comment. I am glad you were able to use some of the ideas in your own life. You have almost met your goal. I hope you take some time off and enjoy this wondrous season. Happy Holidays :)

    • CatherineGiordano profile image

      Catherine Giordano 

      4 years ago from Orlando Florida

      I like your ideas about setting long and short term goals and writing them down. Concrete goals are the best. I set a goal of 12 hubs from December 1st thru January 6. I wrote it down in the forum. Yesterday I did the ninth one. thank you for reminding me to keep setting goals.

    • mdscoggins profile imageAUTHOR

      Michelle Scoggins 

      4 years ago from Fresno, CA

      Thank you Theresa for the comment and share. I too have not produced as much lately as I have too many pots that I want to stick my hands in. So I will have to prioritize in order to be productive. Thank you for the support.

    • Faith Reaper profile image

      Faith Reaper 

      4 years ago from southern USA

      Hi Michelle,

      I love your series! It is so important to set goals in this life, whether short term, long term ... well both really. I have to work on this and will take your insightful advice as to how to do such and make it happen. Yes, time management is oh so important to realizing any goal.

      I have been remiss in publishing anything here of late and need to set a goal to make the time and manage all else in this life that seems to be stealing my time.

      Up +++ tweeting, pinning, G+ and sharing

    • mdscoggins profile imageAUTHOR

      Michelle Scoggins 

      4 years ago from Fresno, CA

      Thanks Bill. I am glad to see you are on track and that goal setting works for so many. I too have set up some pretty important goals and have recently met some. But there are always more goals to set :) Happy Sunday to you too.

    • mdscoggins profile imageAUTHOR

      Michelle Scoggins 

      4 years ago from Fresno, CA

      Thanks Word55 for the comment. It is important to refill our tanks and remember that being positive makes us better people. Also positivity can help with mental health and medical concerns.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 

      4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      I'm with you all the way, Michelle. I am a goal-oriented human being, completely focused on my five year plan, and right on track with it. Great suggestions here.

      Happy Sunday to you!

    • word55 profile image

      Al Wordlaw 

      4 years ago from Chicago

      Hi Michelle, what a superb hub on maintaining positive energy. Changing for the better is good for all practical purposes. It is simply necessary. Thank you for sharing!


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