Thursday, February 24, 2022

Goal Setting Fridays - 5 Ways to Up Your Goals

Welcome to Goal Setting Fridays!

Why Fridays?
So you can ruminate over the weekend & get a fresh start on Monday!

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Don’t forget to check out last week’s post:

S.M.A.R.T. Goals Saved My Reading Life

Last week, I shared a recent journey in my reading life, 
and how the S.M.A.R.T. acronym helped me achieve my goal.

To remind ourselves, a S.M.A.R.T. goal is:


By using the S.M.A.R.T. pattern, I was able to increase my reading from almost no books a year to 24 books a year!

I completed this goal in 2018 and again in 2019, but then the pandemic hit, and everything changed!

Reading was one of the things that truly saved me in 2020. I couldn’t bear to read non-fiction, but I devoured books about historical heroines, quirky friends, and faraway adventures.

In 2020, I had set a goal of reading 24 books. 
By New Year’s Eve, I’d read 42!
(You can find my 2020 reading list HERE.)

2021 came, and I thought, “Well, that was fun, but it certainly isn't repeatable. This year will be sooooo different!”

(Ah, the naiveté of January, 2021…)

“24 is obviously too low; 42 is too high. I’ll split the difference and read 36 this year.”

By August, I’d smashed that goal completely! 
It had become abundantly clear: 
It was time to up my goal!

Upping your goals isn’t about creating something new. 

Instead, it’s about adding to a goal-already-in-progress.
It’s stretching a goal to give yourself an even greater challenge,
and potentially, an even greater success!

Realizing you’ve outgrown an older goal is a really exciting moment! 

Not only have you succeeded in your original goal, but you’ve grown to the point that you now need a new challenge.

How do you know when it’s time to up a goal?

It’s no longer a challenge.

It’s become too easy for you to achieve.

You’re achieving the goal much sooner than planned.

You realize you underestimated your abilities.

You’re getting bored!

I had definitely reached that point with my reading goal. It was glaringly obvious that 24 books had become too easy to achieve. Plus, I’d re-fallen in love with reading! I craved moving stories and inspired writing. 24 books just wasn’t enough to satisfy me anymore. 

Remember, upping your goals isn’t just about doing more for the sake of doing more.
It's about realizing growth, and rewarding it with an even greater challenge.

As our S.M.A.R.T. acronym tells us, we still want to be Realistic.
If you have to up your goal, that means you've discovered a whole new level of what’s Realistic!
You’ve raised the barre! You’ve stretched and grown your own Circle of Influence.
How awesome is that?

Here are 5 ways you can up your existing goals:


Sometimes, it’s as easy as increasing the numbers:

Want to lose 5 pounds? Try losing 6.
Want to run 10 km? Try running 15.
Want to write 100 pages? Try writing 200.


Because your goal is Time-sensitive, you’ve set a timeline for your achievement. Maybe you need to shorten that timeline.

Are you trying to accomplish your goal in 6 months? Maybe you can do it in 5? Or even 4?

Again, keep it Realistic. The point is to challenge yourself, not give yourself burnout.


Maybe your goal isn’t about achieving something quickly, but about building a longterm habit. Rather than shortening your timeline, maybe you need to extend it.

If your goal is to walk 20 minutes a day for a month, what about making it two months?

Or maybe that’s not the time you want to increase. Maybe, instead, you increase your walk from 20 minutes to 25 minutes?

Either way, play with time to see if you can stretch and grow your habit goal.


If a project is coming together easier and faster than anticipated, how can I add to it to make it more dynamic and complex?

For example, let’s say my goal is to organize a community concert for local bands. Things start coming together really quickly and easily. What can I add to this project that’s still Realistic, but also works towards my goal? 

Maybe I can set up tables for local vendors? Or have the art school create a pop-up gallery? Or add face-painting and a kids stage for our younger audience? 

Each of these ideas adds to the complexity of the original idea: “organize a community concert.”


Many goals are solitary pursuits, but sometimes our goals are based in community.
(Community in this sense could mean your family, your workplace, your church, or any situation that involves a group of people coming together for a common purpose.) 

If that’s a key component of your goal, how can you increase the involvement of other people?

For example, let’s say my goal is to create a community garden. I need six volunteers to get the garden started.

That first summer, I quickly reach my goal of six volunteers. Excellent! 

So, how can I up this goal?

Maybe, I can get more volunteers, so we can build a bigger garden?

Maybe, I decide to make it a multi-generational garden. How can I find some young people to partner with the seniors?

Maybe, I’d like to have more cultural diversity. Maybe I can start advertising for volunteers in local cultural centres?

Maybe, I want to make the garden accessible for volunteers in wheelchairs. Is there a local builder who can understand the special requirements of physically challenged gardeners? 

All of these are great ways to up your goals!

For my growing reading goal, the answer was clear: Higher Total.

I had made the 2021 goal of 36 books, because I was afraid of overcommitting myself. 

But when I reached 36 in August, I realized I was way past the point of no return. I looked at my pace, and realized I could, with a little focus and planning, read 50 books that year.

50 books! I never would have been brave enough to set that goal in 2018, 2019, or even 2020.

But I’d outgrown my initial attempts. It was time to up my goal.

I committed to finishing 50 books in 2021. 
By New Year’s Eve, I’d read 55 books!

For 2022, I’ve made a solid goal of reading 50 books this year! 

My goal fits the S.M.A.R.T. profile perfectly. It’ll take some planning to achieve, but I’m so excited about all the gorgeous books I’ll get to read this year!!

And who knows, maybe in another year or two, this goal might need to be upped again?

Take a close look at your goals this week:

Are there any that are becoming too easy?

Any that leave you bored?

What are some ways you can up your goals?

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