How to Set a Goal

A goal needs five qualities. You can remember them by applying the DAPPS rule.
“DAPPS” is an acronym, a memory device in which each letter of the word stands for one of five qualities:-
D - Dated
A - Achievable
P - Personal
P - Positive
S - Specific

DATED. Motivating goals have specific deadlines. A short-term goal usually has a deadline within a few months. A long-term goal generally has a deadline as far in the future as one year, five years, even ten years (such as the goal you have for your most advanced academic degree). As your target deadline approaches, your motivation typically increases. This positive energy helps you finish strong. If you don’t meet your deadline, you have an opportunity to examine what went wrong and create a new plan. Without a deadline, you might stretch the pursuit of a goal over your whole life, never reaching it.

ACHIEVABLE. Motivating goals are challenging but realistic. When you set goals at the outer reaches of your present ability, stretching to reach them causes you to grow. Listen to other people’s advice, but trust yourself to know what is achievable for you. Apply this guideline: “Is achieving this goal at least 50 percent believable to me?” If so and you really value it, go for it!

PERSONAL. You  don’t want to be lying on your deathbed some day and realize you have lived someone else’s life. Trust that you know better than anyone else what you desire.

POSITIVE. Motivating goals focus your energy on what you do want rather than on what you don’t want. So translate negative goals into positive goals. For exam- ple, a negative goal to not fail a class becomes a positive goal to earn a grade of B or better. I recall a race car driver explaining how he miraculously kept his spinning car from smashing into the concrete racetrack wall: “I kept my eye on the track, not the wall.” Likewise, focus your thoughts and actions on where you do want to go rather than where you don’t want to go, and you, too, will stay on course.

SPECIFIC. Motivating goals state outcomes in specific, measurable terms. It’s not enough to say, “My goal is to do better this semester” or “My goal is to work harder at my job.” How will you know if you’ve achieved these goals? What specific,  measurable  evidence  will  you  have?  ” Being specific keeps you from  fooling  yourself  into  believing  you’ve  achieved  a  goal  when,  in  fact,  you haven’t. It also helps you make choices that create positive results.