The Power of Setting Goals (and Our Summer Reading List)

We love setting goals, mostly because we love the endorphin rush that comes when we accomplish a goal.

Yes, goals are powerful. But so few of us set out in any serious way to set goals, let alone accomplish them. In fact, research says that only 8% of people achieve their goals. And while these numbers are on the slim side, we still have a fighting chance to finish that project, read that book list, build that relationship, or save that money. Today, we will share ways we can start setting goals and increase our odds of achieving them.


The Benefits of Goals

But before we talk about ways to achieve our goals, let’s talk about the reason they’re important. When we take the time to set goals, we give ourselves a purpose and a direction. Additionally, setting goals provide many other benefits:

  • Force us to be specific about where we’re going.
  • Provide a natural check-in point on progress.
  • Allow us to break things down into smaller steps.
  • Hold us accountable.
  • Afford us the freedom to say no.
  • Give us something to celebrate.
  • Allow us to believe in ourselves.


What Sort of Goals to Set

Setting Goals about Health and Fitness

Goals are as unique as people, so when setting goals it all comes down to what’s important to us. But it’s possible there are some life areas that slip our radar in setting goals. Here’s a list of categories to consider when approaching goals, and some questions to ponder for each category. (Keep in mind that we don’t have work on all categories at the same time. To put it another way, forward progress is the aim and chances are we’ll be at it for a lifetime.)

Health / Fitness

Is your weight, exercise, diet, food intake just the way you want things? Do you want to get ready for a hike, climb, run, or swim that you aren’t ready to accomplish yet?


Are you reading as much as you want? Do you actively stretch your mind to learn all the things you want to learn? Perhaps there are some skill sets you want to improve.


Are you as even-keeled as you wish you were? Do you hit periods when you’re slogging along rather than thriving? Are you as happy as you know you can be?


Are you building friendships and deepening them to where they’re fully satisfying? With friends, are you doing things that bring you joy? What about setting goals with your significant other, like time away together or counseling just to keep things great?


Are you making what you want to be making? Do you have some vacation or retirement goals that need more planning?


How’s your faith? Does it stabilize you? Are there any spiritual practices you want to pursue like prayer or meditation? Have you found a faith community that you’re comfortable in?


Are you working on the things you want to be working on, with the people to whom you feel connected? Is your workplace challenging you enough and making you better?


How much do you laugh every day? Are you doing things that enhance your happiness and make you glad you’re alive? These “fun” things can fit into any of the categories above, but they might have something you find you need to focus on specifically.


How to Set Goals

Once we’ve determined what goals we want to pursue, it’s time to break them down and accomplish them. For instance, let’s pretend we want to become healthier. (Isn’t that almost everyone’s New Year’s resolution?)

  • Think about the areas that might help us take steps towards a goal to be healthier. Write them down. In fact, Robert S. Rubin states that to make realistic goals, they have to be S.M.A.R.T. (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Time-bound). Explore some specifics when setting goals. What will it take?
    • You make a doctor’s appointment for some blood work.
    • Find a great yoga class.
    • Learn some new recipes.
    • Find a friend to walk with a few times a week.

  • Once we outline these things, break each one down as much as we need so we have a reasonable action plan every single week. For example, if we want to find a great yoga class, maybe these are our smaller steps:
    • Look at Yelp reviews for yoga studios near me.
    • Call and find out classes and times of the best options.
    • Sign up and put the classes on your calendar.
  • Check in each week to see how things are going. It’s important to realize we can make adjustments based on what we learn during our review.
    • Don’t forget to acknowledge each of the wins along the way. That’s a sure way to keep us motivated and on track to keep reaching our goals.


Are you setting goals in other areas too? Here are a few that we can help with:

  • Maybe you’re a school administrator and want to make your school feel safer for everyone.
  • You’re a parent who wants to have a better relationship with your kids.
  • Teachers who want to have a classroom that works together better.
  • School counselors who want some help to have more meaningful group time.


The 5RM Summer Reading List

We’re setting a goal to read more this summer! We’ve compiled a list of things that look interesting to us. In addition, we’ve added some books that will stretch us to be even better at what we do:


Great Summer Reading Lists for Kids

  • Oregon Battle of the Books (Lists range from grades 3-12. This year’s book battle is over, but if you’re in Oregon and your school is registered, you can compete in the battle next year.)
  • Common Sense Media (Lists range from K-teens and give parents an overview of book content, themes, and some conversation topics.)
  • Scholastic Book Summer Reading Challenge (List includes some teacher resources for PreK-8, but it works great for parents, too.)