In the Gale app, we ask you to “refresh” your goals on a weekly basis. As we noted previously, setting a weekly target is good for at least two primary reasons.
First, motivation tends to be highest when goals are neither too easy nor too difficult to achieve. A one-week time period provides that “sweet spot,” where you have to push a bit to get through the week, but not so hard that you eventually lose motivation and give up.
And second, when pursuing a goal that is far in the future, we tend to discount, or devalue, that outcome. When outcomes are discounted, we frequently make choices that provide us with more immediate gratification. We may, for instance, choose to eat a piece of cake, which gives us pleasure right now, rather than exercising, which may not provide the desired outcome for several months.
In addition, doing a weekly refresher gives you the frequent opportunity to determine whether your goals need to be revised at all. For example, maybe you were a little ambitious last week and set a goal that was out of reach. If so, you can scale back slightly this week and set a goal that is more appropriate for where you are on your behavior-change journey. (Remember, it is usually better to set small, achievable goals that accumulate over time than it is to set huge, potentially unreachable goals that may lead to a loss of motivation and a feeling of failure.)
On the other hand, maybe you’ve been pursuing the same goal for several weeks in a row and now determine that you’re ready for something a little more ambitious. If so, you can set your sights higher for the next week.
Finally, reviewing your goals on a weekly basis keeps you “close to the data.” Rather than guessing whether your goals are producing positive changes over time, you can simply look back at the preceding week (or weeks) and see if your behavior has changed for the better. The data will tell you whether to keep going or whether you need to shake things up a bit.
Ultimately, refreshing your goals on a weekly basis means you can make “in-the-moment” changes, if necessary, rather than waiting a month (or longer) to see if you’re making the kind of progress you want to make.