Goal setting strategies can be enormously helpful when trying to lay out a plan of action and make forward progress in your life. It's often not enough to simply think to yourself "I will do such and such" and expect it to happen - you have to learn to set goals that are achievable, realistic and specific.
The first step is deciding what your goal is.
For example, you want to write a book. That's great, and if you have any writing talent at all, it's realistic, too. You need to be more specific, though. What kind of book? A suspense novel. How long? 50,000 words. By when? Six months.
Very good, you've set a goal that is specific and realistic : writing a 50,000 word suspense novel in the next 6 months. Now let's make it achievable. How do we do this? By breaking the original goal down into segments.
You have six months to write a 50,000 word novel. If you do 10,000 words per month, that's five months, and it leaves you time to edit. 10,000 words per month works out to 2,500 words a week, or 500 words a day if you only work on your novel on weekdays. See how the goal suddenly becomes achievable?
You can further refine by setting aside a special time each day to work on your project. Get up a half hour earlier in the morning and do laundry or clean the bathroom, and work on balancing your checkbook or paying bills on your lunch break. That way when the kids go to bed you are ahead of the game and can grab 90 minutes to knock out your 500 words.
These goal setting strategies can apply to any kind of goal. Want to lose weight? According to the above strategies, run the litmus test - is it realistic? Barring any medical condition that would preclude it, yes. Is it specific? All right, let's make that 'lose weight' into 'lose twenty pounds in five months'. The next step? You guessed it - make the goal achievable.
Twenty pounds in four months is only four pounds a month, or not quite a pound a week. Often this can easily be achieved simply by fifteen minutes of moderate exercise a day plus cutting two specific things out of your diet - soda pop and potato chips, for example. See how simple it is?