How to Set Goals and Reach Them
Why are Goals Important?
Goals give you focus, allow you to measure your performance, hold you accountable, give you the motivation to push forward and give you the clarity to pursue your dreams. But, how do you set goals and actually achieve them?
Have you written goals in the past and found yourself overwhelmed trying to focus on too many goals at once? Or, perhaps you have written goals at the beginning of the year, but neglected to follow through and hold yourself accountable.
I’m want to help you set goals and achieve them by developing your goals and breaking them down into small achievable pieces, so you can hold yourself accountable week to week by focusing on one thing at a time.
How to Achieve a Goal Successfully – Goal Setting Tips
Before we start, here are a few tips to keep in mind….
I suggest setting specific goals in the following areas of your life:
- Personal Development
When developing your short term goals consider the S.M.A.R.T. acronym. They should be specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-sensitive. For example, it’s not enough to say you want to lose weight or be healthy. Instead, your goal should be “I will exercise 5 times per week for 30 minutes per day.” The more detailed and clear goals are, the more your subconscious mind will work to achieve them.
Are S.M.A.R.T. Goals Effective?
Okay, I know I just said to use the S.M.A.R.T. acronym (actually, I said consider it), but there are a lot of people who have dropped the S.M.A.R.T acronym because most goals aren’t achieved within a specific time frame. Life happens and we can often get off track causing us to feel like we’ve failed because we didn’t meet our goal in a certain time frame. You decide if you want your goal to be time-sensitive based on the goal and your personality. If your goal has no end you may not have the motivation to make it happen, yet you don’t want to set yourself up for failure if you don’t meet your goal by a specific time. If you want something bad enough you will keep going no matter how long it takes you.
Make your goals achievable (but not too achievable)! Okay, here’s another reason to question the S.M.A.R.T. acronym. Goals should push you outside your comfort zone but make sure you have a realistic plan to achieve your goals. Otherwise, you set yourself up for disappointment making it easy to lose motivation. That being said, if you can easily attain all your goals you may not be challenging yourself enough. It’s a balance and failure is part of the process. During your weekly reviews, you may choose to change or tweak your goal with this in mind (I’ll share more about that later).
It’s okay to let goals go. If a goal no longer seams realistic it’s okay to move on. Part of setting and achieving goals is allowing yourself to evolve during the process.
Goal Setting Worksheets
Before we dive into my goal setting process I suggest downloading our free worksheets to help you organize, write and track your goals. These worksheets are part of my goal-setting journal but I’m giving them to you for FREE to help get you started! Enter your email below to receive the free worksheet, my tips to avoid common goal-setting mistakes, and the number one daily habit that will help you achieve your goals.
Steps to Achieve Goals – A Goal Setting System that Works!
My system breaks your goals into long term goals, annual goals, 90-day goals, and weekly accountability. That may sound like a lot, but I try to make it fairly simple! Use the worksheets to get started or grab a copy of my Goal Setting Journal from Amazon if you want a handy spot to keep everything organized for the entire year.
Long Term Goals
First, I suggest brainstorming your long term goals and dreams. Make a list of everything you want in life if time and money were not a factor. Dream big and small. Where do you want to see yourself in one year, in five years and in ten? How do you want to make a difference in your life, your children’s lives and the lives of others? What hobbies do you want to pursue or charities do you want to help? Do you have aspiring career goals or dreams to retire? What does your perfect home look like? Do you want to travel? What are your health and wellness goals? Don’t stop yet! Keep going…write down everything you want out of life.
Next, organize your thoughts into five to ten long term goals you have for yourself. Knowing your long term plans will help you when choosing your annual goals.
Now that you have your long term goals figured out, it’s time to write goals for 2020!
Considering your long term goals, schedules, priorities, family and other obligations, write your specific goals for this year.
We suggest writing up to ten goals for the year, keeping in mind that you can only truly focus on one goal at a time. Consider the list of categories I mentioned above, however, you don’t have to have goals for each category and you may have more than one for some categories. These are YOUR goals and there is no magic formula.
Why are these goals important to you?
What drives you and keeps you motivated to pursue your goals?
What action steps do you need to take to achieve your goal?
You should be able to answer all these questions when writing your goals so really take the time to think this through and make sure you have solid, specific, achievable goals.
The last space on the worksheet encourages you to write your positive thoughts and/or affirmations to keep you motivated. I highly suggest including affirmations as part of your daily habits. You can read more about how affirmations can change your mindset and your life here.
As you begin the year I encourage you to choose one of your annual goals to focus on for the first 90 days of 2020.
Why? When you focus on too much at once you become unproductive and overwhelmed.
When looking at your annual goals what is the most important?
What goal will help you take the first steps to achieve your other goals?
Pick one goal to focus on. This is the important step in actually achieving your goals so don’t try to do too much at once!
Why is it important and what action steps do you need to take to achieve your goal?
What challenges you will experience along the way and what habits do you need to implement to consistently work towards meeting your goal? Perhaps, it’s a morning or evening routine, waking up 1 hour earlier, drinking more water, exercising 5x a week or implementing a new schedule
Lastly, what other goals can you consider working towards without losing focus on your main goal? It’s important to focus on one goal at a time, but that doesn’t mean you can’t work towards other goals too. Just make sure those goals don’t distract you from achieving the #1 goal.
Now that you’ve determined your goals it’s time to take action. Each week set aside time to review your goals. Write down what you’re focusing on, your priorities, other to-do’s and track your habits. Journal about your challenges, positive thoughts, affirmations, what went well and what needs improvement.
How to set goals and achieve them? This is the key! Don’t neglect to schedule some time each day/week to check in with yourself in order to hold yourself accountable for consistently working towards your goals.
Are you ready to set goals and accomplish them!? Leave your comments below.
Have you considered goal setting as a family? Check out my post Goal Setting for Families and include your kids in the process!