If I had a nickel for every time we’ve talked about the importance of goal setting…. (But, seriously. Set goals. It matters.)

Now calm down, I’m not going to list off a bunch of reasons why setting goals is important – we’ve already done that, and for the sake of being transparent: we’ll almost definitely do it again in the future. But not today! Today is designated to a tiny step that the entire goal setting process hinges on: Re-evaluation. It’s a step that is often overlooked, misused, and/or under-valued.

If there’s one thing that the majority of humans could agree on, it would probably be that life is tough to predict. Things happen all the time that are unexpected, or that throw a wrench into our plans – whether for the worse or for the better. And when this happens, we always have a choice as to how we respond. In regards to your goal setting process, this choice could make or break your ability to reach that end-goal.

For example, I have a goal of doing a 35lb weighted pull-up. I map out a training program (or, more realistically, have my super cool coach/husband map one out for me) and now have a date to set to ideally hit this goal, as well as several short-term “mile-marker” goals that will keep me on track. I’m cruising along in my training program and marking off the short-term goals like nobody’s business. And then it happens: I get sick (or injured, or distracted, or take a spontaneous trip to Mexico, etc.), and miss two weeks of training. Here’s where the choice factors in. I can choose whether to say “There’s no way I can reach this goal now” and wallow in the depths of despair, OR I can take a step back and re-evaluate my original game plan. Maybe that will mean pushing the date of my goal an appropriate number of days/weeks, or a revamp of my short-term goals. Whatever it is I need to do, I need to make the choice to do so.

It’s important to note that this process does not exclusively follow a misstep or a disappointment. It’s possible to be ahead of the curve and need to re-evaluate your plan in order to make it more of a challenge for you. It’s also possible that there need not be any inciting incident to prompt this process. Perhaps in order to ensure that your goals are consistent with your current reality, you wish to re-evaluate your plan on a consistent basis (weekly, monthly?). ‘Is this timeline still realistic?’ ‘Are there any additional steps I can add?’

Your goals are unique, and so should your goal setting process be unique. Find out what works for you.