25 Tips for Goal Setting, How to Prioritize Goals

These 25 tips for goal settings can be applied to any niche or individuals needs. I am writing how to prioritize goals from the perspective of a bike & ski instructor, but I find the methodology to be applicable to just about anything from finances to learning a new hobby! Before I worked in the outdoor recreation field I loved creating little goals having to do with routines, finances, or fun goals (like learning how to long board etc). I include my own current reflections and personal goals as an example too.

My ONE big goal this summer 2022 is bike commuting 5 days a week. I started in April 2022, and so far have been committed and LOVING it. More about designing and creating a prioritized goal below.

Write out a massive list, (100 + goals), Nothing is too big or too small. Use it as your inspiration. Let’s call it our “big list”.

This is our starting point. Obviously you will not actively pursue this massive list, but it will start to give you some inter-reflection and inspiration. Now let’s look at some tips to help prioritize these goals, and get started!

  • Create your “big list”. Think on the grand scale & consider the more immediate as well.
  • Consider the next 6 months. Identify ONE goal that has to happen, or you really want to happen? A financial goal? Physical task? Race? Volunteer event? Trip you want to go on?
  • Write your ONE goal for the 6 month time period in a journal, or paper that you stick on the wall.
  • Make a calendar for your ONE goal. Create alarm reminders in your phone for monthly benchmarks.
  • Set a timer, daily, to work on the ONE goal. Even if it is just 10 minutes.
  • Tell 3 people about your ONE goal.
  • Journal about why accomplishing that ONE goal will positively affect your life. Do this monthly for the 6 months.
  • Make the ONE goal is SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, time specific) there are many articles on this acronym if you are not aware: SMART GOALS.
  • Visualize (eye closed) what accomplishing this goal would look like for you.
  • Make something artistic related to your goal. Here are some examples: vision board collage, photo, painting, quote related to it, or something you can “color” in each time you reach get closer to it.
  • Write down possible barriers to your ONE goal. Identify how you can over come those barriers.
Here is a “ONE” financial goal I had from fall of 2021. I wanted to save an additional $4,000. I wanted an extra $1,000 for an emergency pet fund (I have a golden retriever I am obsessed with) and a remaining $3,000 graduate student loan, that was honestly just feeling like unnecessary baggage. This was not the biggest goal for my winter, but also not the smallest. I knew with a little patience and dedication I could handle it. I identified how I would make extra income, as to not make barriers for myself (extra lessons, tips etc). It was time specific (about 6 months). I knew it would bring me peace of mind knowing I had an extra vet fund, and mentally freeing getting rid of the student loan. It was visual and fun to color in each month as I got closer to the end of ski season.

After identifying your ONE 6 month goal, identify up to three mini goals.

  • Identify if your mini goals fuel your larger ONE goal or if they are entirely separate.
  • Limit your mini goals to a maximum of three different things.
  • Limit your mini goals to a week or month, maximum. The adrenaline, and positive reaction we receive by accomplishing mini goals is so valuable and motivating to your ONE goal.
  • Make sure your mini goal is truly “mini” in nature and will not compete with your ONE goal.
Bike commuting is my ONE goal until October 1st. My mini-goal for the month of July is to use my new hard tail mountain bike 3 times a week, yoga 5 times a week, and work on the blog 3 days a week. I have found that the modes of biking have been competing with each other (time wise & energy). I am choosing just the month of July, and will evaluate in August what my mountain bike goals are. This time frame feels motivating to me. I think these three mini goals compliment each other and do not compete for time – necessarily. I will replace one of my bike commuting days on electric bike for mountain bike. I already practice yoga 4 days a week, and will have to plan how to incorporate it on the extra day. I am looking forward to being more regular/routine to work on the blog.
I also have what I call a mini-plus goal that is professional in nature. I have been slowly working to acquire my aquatic therapy license. This is not the ONE goal, nor a mini goal as it is probably about 4 months away. It requires a lot of academic time, and I do see how it could compete with blogging (time wise, computer time etc). I plan on working on it 3 days a week for 30 min. increments for the month of July, and re-assess. I think it will be most productive for me to set timers to work on it, pre-ceding the 3 times a week I work on the blog.

Identify one year long goal and, perhaps a 5 year goal.

Consult your big list. Is there a larger goal that you really have your sights on? Personally, I do not have a 5 year goal (gasp!). I have dreams and ideas, but nothing I am actively working too. I am currently working on a year long goal with my husband but it is still in the formative stages. Let’s talk about the long term goals:

  • Do ALL the things for your long term goal: identify if it is a SMART goal, tell 3 people, visualize, journal about it, and create monthly “check ins” on it.
  • Be ready to pivot. In your monthly check in’s – be OK if that goal is no longer authentic to you or does not serve you.
I had a long term goal in the ski industry I did not meet in the time frame I had worked towards. During covid, tumultuous work conditions, and some personal family issues I had to be ok pivoting those goals. I will evaluate them this ski season.

I believe goal setting should be fun and motivating. Step away from it if it is bringing you anxiety, fear or self-doubt.

If the process is too overwhelming today thinking about all this, do not try and create a longer term 6+ month away goal. Try picking 2 mini goals that excite you. Really focus on them for one month.

There have been studies done on the mindset of motivation. Contrary to what people might think there are not people who are naturally more “motivated” than others. Some people are ok starting the grind, task, etc. and from that comes motivation. You might need the small win, accomplishment of the mini goal to really feel motivated to something bigger.

I hope this post was inspiring or challenging to you. I certainly feel more clear about what my goals for the month of July are. If you are a new bike commuter – please connect with me! This is a very intriguing concept to me – please send me a message if you agree or want to have a conversation about how goal setting works for you!

Happy Biking – Emily

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