We thrive on goal setting and taking the necessary steps to achieve them especially during the beginning of the year. In many cases, these steps might not be straightforward or result in the desired outcome. However, setting goals — be they long term or short term – is essential to gain a sense of fulfillment.
It provides purpose and meaning to our lives, guides us to the route we wish to take, and intrigues and captivates us – which makes us happier overall. It’s far better to be masters of our own destiny, by setting viable future goals, than just sitting back and waiting for our ship to come in. Here’s six proven ways to set goals that will help you make this year your best yet!
1. Make Your Goals Inspirational
It’s important that the goals you set for yourself matter to you, and that accomplishing them will make a notable difference to your life. If your goals are insignificant in the grand scheme of things, or you’re not emotionally interested in the end result, the odds of you going the extra mile to reach them are long.
Establish goals associated with your life’s top priorities. If you don’t focus your efforts in this way, you might end up spreading yourself too thin by trying to accomplish too much. You must be dedicated and have enough time available to achieve your goals. Therefore, to increase your chances of success, you should feel compelled to act and adopt a ‘can do’ mentality.
2. Put Your Goals Center Stage Constantly
If you set goals, but then lock them away in a cupboard and forget about them, you will never get anywhere. You have to remain engaged with your goals by reviewing them frequently. Display them in a highly visible location, so you can glance at them on a daily basis. Reread them thoroughly every week and monitor your progress. Gauge the things you need to improve on and formulate a strategy to do this. Change the methods you use to achieve your goals, depending on how you perform.
You can use my Goal Planner inside The Your Life Planner Pack to make goal setting as easy as possible for you. You can monitor yourself monthly and give yourself to-dos and an action plan to stay on track and monitor your progress.
3. Set Detailed Goals (S.M.A.R.T.)
All your goals should be clearly specified. Goals that are half thought out or vague are counterproductive, because they fail to offer enough motivation. Don’t forget, goals are necessary for showing you the path. Ensure that it is as simple as possible to reach your desired destination, by articulating exactly where you wish to go.
Make them S.M.A.R.T.
- Specific: Your goals should be well-defined and clear. They offer concrete answers to questions. What do I want to accomplish?
- Measureable: Your goals should answer the question, “How will you know that it’s done?”
- Achieveable: Your goals should be feasible, acceptable, and action-oriented. Are your objectives relevant? Don’t set goals that cannot come to fruition.
- Realistic: Are your goals realistic? Do you have the ability, resources, knowledge, or experience to fulfill the objective?
- Time bound: Always set objectives against a specific period. Give yourself enough time to accomplish the goal and be realistic.
For example, if one of your goals is just specified as “to lose weight”, there’s no way you can determine when you have achieved it. To make sure your goals are clear as possible, make sure they’re SMART. So, if I want to lose weight, my goal would be: To lose 20 pounds in 3 months.
Here are more examples of goals that are SMART:
- I want to launch a lifestyle blog and make $8,000 in the first year.
- I want to pay off my $2500 credit card debt in 6 months.
If you can’t gauge your success accurately, you will forgo the satisfaction that comes from knowing that you have accomplished something worthwhile.
So, write down exact deadlines, amounts and more on your goal list, so your level of success can be measured.
4. Preempt Obstacles
In all likelihood, you will face plenty of challenges and roadblocks as you progress towards your goals. If you fail to prepare mentally for this, you’ll most likely want to give up. So before you start, accept the fact that there will be problems and have a plan already set to overcome these challenges.
First, write a list of every possible obstacle you believe you might encounter. Then, write an action plan for dealing with these. Obviously, there will be unforeseen issues that arise along the way as well, so you will need to tackle these when you come across them.
5. Get Someone to Hold you Accountable
A difficult but important tactic is to locate someone who also wants you to achieve your goals. You need someone to pester you, when you lapse into an unproductive state, and communicate with you to ensure that you stay on track. For a modest fee, you could hire someone to do this, and ask them to call you and email you regularly, to check up on your progress. If this is impractical, use a relative or close friend, who can criticize you if they have to.
6. Be Persistent
Finally, be mindful that setting goals is an evergreen process, and not simply an end in itself. Incorporate reminders into your routine, so you remain on course, and allocate time slots to assess your goals.
As time passes, your desired outcome might not alter much, although the plan of action you devise to get there could change substantially. Always ensure that necessity, relevance and value are key factors in your approach.