Goal Setting

Thoughts about specific goals vs lifestyle goals.

Some of my goals 2020

  • Visit 6 different national/state parks
  • Perfect cooking 1 meal + 1 dessert
  • 18 books (double of what I did in 2019)
  • Be Debt Free
  • Save More
  • Learn & Know the Korean Alphabet
  • Publish 36 Blog Posts between this blog & One For The Shelves

Looking at this list, I realized there are 2 types of goals that are typically set:

1) Specific
2) Lifestyle

You’ll notice most of my goals are specific. I think lifestyle goals are harder to implement because they’re ongoing. They’re goals meant to change your habits. Whereas specific ones, you just have to be consistent and grind until you get there. It may take many months, but there’s a specific end goal in sight.

I was talking to a guy last night who said his goal for last year was to quit smoking. He succeeded. Breaking it down though, this goal was specific. Technically, the moment he finished his last cigarette and said he quit, he could say he accomplished his goal. So if he had started smoking again, technically he still did reach his goal. However, since he didn’t start up again, it shows he implemented a lifestyle change after that.

Most of my goals are specific, but I’m wondering if I should be setting these specific goals with an idea of what will happen after I reach them. Maybe goals in general need to be set with both in mind. It’s one thing to reach a goal, and then another to maintain it.

Do you have any thoughts about this? How do you see Specific/Lifestyle Goals fitting into your own goals?

This is where my thoughts start spiraling down to what’s next.

Let’s say my goal is to be able to bench 50lbs. After I reach that goal, do I stop, knowing that I accomplished what I wanted to do? Do I set up a lifestyle goal so that I’ll be able to consistently bench 50lbs forever? Or do I set a new goal to be able to bench 60lbs? If I decide to set a new goal, where is the stopping point? I guess it depends on the big-picture goal, right? Why am I doing what I am doing, what’s my intention? Maybe that wasn’t a good example. I know a handful of people who have the goal to lose weight. Going down from 32% body fat to 28% body fat. For the average person to get there, a diet change and exercise would be required. Once you get to 28% body fat, you could aim to get down to 24%. This goal has a stopping point because there’s a minimum percentage of body fat you need to have to be healthy. But then, you would want to maintain that body fat, as not to get back up to 32%. This is when the specific goal turns into a lifestyle goal. Granted, you’ll probably be doing the same things you’ve been doing to reach your goal (exercise + diet change), but now there’s no specific goal. Exercise 3 times a week + meal prep for 6 days a week is a lifestyle change, not a goal with an end in sight.

But – maybe that’s not important just yet. When setting a specific goal, we have a motive. To bench heavier weights, could stem from the desire to feel stronger. To lower body fat percentage, could stem from wanting to be healthier. My goal to visit 6 different national parks stems from wanting to get out in nature more often. Even after I visit these 6 different national parks, it doesn’t change why I set that goal in the first place. I will still want to get out into nature. A lifestyle goal is only put into place to continue filling that initial desire. After I reach my specific goal, I might make my lifestyle goal to Spend More Time in Nature, and plan to do something outdoorsy on the first Sunday of every month. It doesn’t matter that there’s no goal that can be completed. What matters is that I’m continuing to fulfill my wants.

And this is how I talk myself out of a downward spiral.

If you have a minute, share some of your thoughts & goals for this year!

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