When I was a kid I found out that my great great grandma was a full blooded Native American from the Cherokee tribe.

After some quick math, I realized this theoretically made me about 1/16 Cherokee. Ignorance and naivety quickly began to shape my entire life mission. When I grew up, I wanted to be a “Native American” who “lived off the land.” I stopped wearing shoes outside to develop calluses on my feet, begged my parents to buy me a bow and arrow, ran around in every forest I could find, practiced throwing my uncles hatchet, Pocahontas became my favorite movie, and switched the side I roleplayed on with my lincoln log set.

Well, as you could imagine this didn’t last too long. I grew out of this phase quickly after getting my first gaming console, the Super Nintendo; but for a short time, my goal was clear and my mind was set. This ridiculous childhood dream taught me a few things.

There are countless ideas and concepts surrounding goal setting but few talk about what should occur prior. Ask yourself these six questions before jumping headfirst into your next endeavor.

Is this impulse?
You’ve probably heard of impulse shoppers, well I used to be an impulse goal setter. Every time I watched the movie Rocky, I would run around the block a few times and do as many pushups as possible; just knowing that I was about to get into the best shape of my life. Seeing a trend? Goals take persistence, consistency, and dedication. If you are basing yours on a whim, the follow through will be unlikely when the going gets tough.

Am I consistent with current tasks?
First things first. Before reaching for the stars make sure your grounded. What do I mean? Ensure that you are diligent in the responsibilities you already have before moving onto larger ambitions. In sports, we would call this mastering the fundamentals. If your current time and energy are completely sapped, you need to rearrange some things in your life to make room for the upcoming undertaking.

What has stopped me in the past?
Have you been down this road before? Last New Year’s Eve? Ask yourself what challenges and obstacles arose the last time you attempted to achieve your goal. Learn from past attempts and remove anything that has been a common denominator for failure. “Failure is only the opportunity to begin again, only this time more wisely.” – Henry Ford

Who will hold me accountable?
Having an “accountability buddy” is one of the best ways to stay on the straight and narrow. It is by no means a requirement for goal setting, but the benefits should make it something your seriously consider. This does not have to be someone you see every day, it could be someone you call once a week to talk about that week’s victories or challenges. It is much more difficult to gaff something off if you know you must answer for it.