Goal Setting: How Often Should you Set?


Goal setting is integral for us to stay on track for our self-development journey. That’s why we should always set goals for ourselves. But the problem is that there are confusions on when or how often should we set goals for ourselves. So let’s answer: How often should you set goals?

As a general rule, you should set your goals on a weekly basis. Setting goals on a weekly basis is not too often that takes too much time compared to setting goals daily, and it is enough for us to be reminded of our goals instead of forgetting about them if we set goals monthly.

However, it still depends on the goals we have. There are numerous advantages, and disadvantages in setting goals daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly, and yearly. Each of these goals has a purpose. While weekly goal setting is a good practice, there are instances where we have to set goals on a daily, monthly, or yearly basis.

How often should you set goals?

Most of the time, you should set your goals on a weekly basis. Weekly goal setting makes sure that we are on track with our goals and at the same time, weekly goal setting does not take too much time. However, there are other factors to consider and that you might need to set goals daily.

If you are wondering how to set goals efficiently, then I recommend you read my other article on how to create a list of your goals. In that article, we are going to work smart in goal setting which will save time and yield better results. Here is the link: How to Create a List of your Goals

But going back to the topic of how often should we set goals, while weekly is very convenient since it doesn’t take too much time, there are numerous factors to consider before deciding if we want to set goals differently. Thus, I am going to discuss each of these goal-setting times so you can have an idea of which is the right thing for you.

Setting Goals Daily

Setting your goals daily is good only if you have small objectives per day. But it is worth taking note that daily goals mean that you should only focus on one objective to prevent burn-out. It is good to keep track but is very time demanding since we need to check daily.

Daily setting of goals is actually very great if you are someone who is very keen on staying on track. Which means that you take personal development seriously.

This means that you have a set of objectives daily which you need to finish. Usually, if we are talking about results, daily goal setting will always win compared to others.

The reason for that is because setting your goals daily makes sure that you live each day of your life on track. I once used this method to improve as fast as possible.

However, I do not recommend it if you don’t have extreme willpower.

While it is the one that will produce the best improvement in any aspect of our life, it has a lot of disadvantages.

One disadvantage based on my experience is that it makes us prone to self-judgment. As an example, when I was doing daily goal setting, there are just times that I do not feel like doing things or I am extremely tired especially when I didn’t have enough sleep.

We are all human. There are days where we don’t feel like doing anything and there are days where we are extremely motivated. The problem here is that when we are not motivated and we are not in the mood to do our daily goal, we feel a sense of shame for ourselves.

This is actually common because our moods can change really fast.

Another disadvantage is that we tend to overestimate ourselves if we do goal setting daily. I remember when I tried the morning routines of productivity gurus and I just got burned out the 3rd day.

Here is why. Let me give you the recommended morning routine that I tried:

  • Waking up at 5:30am
  • Meditate for 15 minutes
  • Exercise for 30 minutes
  • Read a book for 30 mines
  • Take a Shower
  • Prepare for Work day

For someone who is not yet into personal development, that was a big shock. It was too much that I gave up the 3rd day.

So what I mean is this. Daily goal setting is the best if we are talking about getting results as quickly as possible. It will always keep us on track. The downside to this type of goal setting is that we tend to overestimate ourselves when setting goals daily which leads to burnout.

In life, what matters most is consistency, and if you are burnt out, then all your efforts will be for nothing.

Thus, I only recommend daily goal setting if you have strong willpower since it will give you the best result.

Setting Goals Daily Advantages and Disadvantages

AdvantagesDisadvantages
Will Usually Give the Best ResultProne to Burn Out
Prevent any day slumpDoesn’t give leeway
Keeps you on Track Daily

Setting Goals Weekly

Setting your goals weekly is the ideal frequency in which we set our goals. It doesn’t take too much willpower to do compared to daily and it still keeps always on track compared to doing goal setting monthly. Thus, it is the perfect balance we are looking for in goal setting.

Right now, I set my goals weekly. This means that I always schedule my Sundays to have a check if I am still working on my goals.

Of course, the day will depend on when you want to set your goals.

The thing I like about weekly goal setting is that it only takes around 5-15 minutes weekly for me set weekly goals. This is a big-time saver.

As an example, making daily goals might take 2-5 minutes of your daily life. That is if you are fast in goal setting. So, it will take you approximately 20 minutes just to set your goals compared to just approximately 8 minutes to weekly goals.

12 minutes is not much, but let me give another advantage to doing it weekly.

As an example, my goal right now is to publish around 10 articles weekly. There are days where I don’t want to make an article so I won’t make any, or there are days where I can publish 2.

If I didn’t get enough rest, I would most likely not make an article because forcing myself to write causes its quality to fall tremendously. Thus, I will postpone my writing provided that I can still make 10 weekly.

Weekly goal setting gives us leeway. As humans, our days will not the same. There are days where we just don’t feel like it so we don’t want to do anything. Weekly goals won’t make us guilty for something that makes us human.

Furthermore, if you compare weekly to monthly goals, weekly is enough for us to stay on track.

Because let’s admit it, there are times where we’ll just be productive for a week or two then forget it. Thus, if we do monthly goals, the likelihood of failure is significantly higher compared to doing it weekly.

In case you fail in the middle of the week, you will only be in a slump for about 3 days if you are doing weekly compared to about 2 weeks if you set goals monthly.

Setting Goals Weekly Advantages and Disadvantages

AdvantageDisadvantage
Most efficient time to result ratioResults not as good as daily
Gives Leeway but not too much
Does not produce Burn Out

Setting Goals Monthly

Setting goals on a monthly basis is good for medium-sized projects but it requires extreme dedication compared to setting goals weekly. Furthermore, the likelihood of failure with monthly goals is extremely high if we set goals monthly since we are not constantly in check.

I only recommend setting your goals monthly if you are sure that you are not easily swayed by other things.

The reason for this is because if you fail in monthly goal setting, you fail big time.

For example, you have a monthly goal, then you lose your focus on the 3rd day, then there will be 27 days where you won’t make any progress.

The good use of doing monthly goal setting is to make goals for medium-sized projects and use weekly goal setting to check upon them.

For example, my goal is to make 30 articles monthly on my website. My weekly goal is 10 articles per week because I want to be an overachiever. My weekly goals make sure that I will accomplish my monthly goals without the need to be overwhelmed.

Setting Goals Monthly Advantages and Disadvantages

AdvantagesDisadvantages
Preferred for Medium-sized goalsYou can fail miserably if left alone
It keeps weekly or daily goals on track

I made a separate article discussing how many goals should you make if you plan to do monthly goals, it is a good read if you choose to do monthly goals. Here is the link: How many goals should you set in a month?

Setting Goals Quarterly

Setting quarterly goals is only good for large-sized projects because the time interval between a quarter of a year is too large. It is better to use quarterly goal setting with weekly goal setting in order to see results. It is not recommended to do quarterly goal-setting alone.

Like monthly, it is an extreme form of monthly goals.

But in my opinion, quarterly goals are far better in producing results compared to yearly goal setting.

The reason for this is we tend to underestimate what we can do in a year compared to what we can do quarterly.

More on that on the yearly goal setting.

But basically, quarterly produces more results than yearly goals because we often underestimate what we can do in a year.

Plus, it keeps us on a track like the monthly

As an example, let me give my article goal again.

If my quarterly goal is to make 90 articles on my website, that means I need 30 articles per month which are 10 articles per week.

As you can see, 90 articles might be very tempting but because of the weekly goals, it doesn’t seem to be really hard

Setting Goals Quarterly Advantages and Disadvantages

AdvantagesDisadvantages
Perfect for Big ProjectsToo intimidating if not combined with daily or weekly goal setting
Produce better results than Yearly Goal SettingThe risk for failure is bigger compared to monthly

Setting Goals Yearly

Setting goals yearly is only good in making small choices or habits. It is never good to make big goals on a yearly basis simply because humans are not good at making yearly goals. Yearly goals are usually underestimated and forgotten.

Do you ever wonder why only 12% of people are still doing their new year’s resolution?

A scholarly journal by the American Banker’s Association stated that 88% of the people who do new year’s resolutions failed.

It is not surprising because most of us can’t really stay that focused for 1 year. If some of us can’t stay focused for a week, how much more for a year.

But, there is a use for yearly goal setting. If we decided to make small daily goals for a year, then it will be effective.

For example, if your yearly goal is to read for 15 minutes each day, then it is doable. Combine that with weekly or daily goal setting, then it will produce big results.

Thus, while it is not recommended to set goals yearly, you can actually try to set yearly goals provided that it is small enough to track daily or weekly.

I also made an article discussing how many goals should you make if you plan to do yearly goals, it is a good read if you choose to set goals yearly goals. Here is the link: How many yearly goals should you set?

Conclusion

Setting your goals doesn’t mean that you are only going to set goals on a daily, weekly, monthly, or yearly basis. You can actually combine all of these to help us stay on track.

For example, since monthly, quarterly, and yearly goal setting is good for large projects, we can set our large goals on these types of goal setting frequency but to achieve it as fast as possible, we give ourselves a timetable.

For example, if your monthly goal is to lost 10 lbs of weight, maybe you can set a weekly goal of losing 2-3 lbs, and a daily goal of eating healthy plus doing 30 minutes of cardio exercises.

You can combine these in order for you to make use of all of their advantages. Goal setting helps us see our end goal and it is not a bad idea to set goals depending on the need. And you can use all of these if really needed.

Thus, here is the conclusion.

The best frequency of goal setting that would yield good results without producing burn-out will be doing it on a weekly basis. However, for larger projects, it is recommended to set goals monthly or yearly. You can also combine them and use smaller objectives for weekly goals.

Jason

Jason Ong is a YouTuber and the one who owns this site. He shares what he learned with people and makes videos if necessary. He was a former lecturer. The things he taught are topics related to Clinical Laboratory Science or what others call Medical Technology. Right now, he is also working part-time in an app company as a production supervisor. You can visit his YouTube Channel on https://ongjason.com/youtube

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