There is an art to productive goal-setting. We want to set expectations for ourselves in order to create motivation. Goals help us find purpose in our actions.
Therefore, we must strike a careful balance: our goals must be lofty enough that we are forced to work outside of our comfort zone to reach them, but they also must be close enough that they are reachable. Setting goals that are unreasonable will set us up to fail, will create disappointment, and may prevent us from actually trying at all.
Short term goals that are achievable will allow us to feel small moments of success, and will spur us on.
Also, concrete goals are more measurable (and therefore more achievable) than abstract goals. That is, a goal like “get stronger” or “gain lean muscle” aren’t as measurable as “increase dead lift by 5 pounds” or “get 5 dead hang pull-ups.”
So, stop and think of what you’d like to achieve by eating clean this month. What have you achieved already? What larger goals remain? And then imagine how you might configure those larger goals into smaller, more accessible benchmarks that you can easily measure.