In order to truly set yourself up for success, knowing how to set goals and achieve them is key. Simply put, if you want to be successful, you will need to set goals. But, there is much more to setting goals than simply thinking of what your dream life looks like. Should you go for it and dream big? Absolutely. But you need to have clearly-defined intentions and plans in order to get there. You can achieve anything you put your mind to, but not without some hard work and dedication.
The reality is, all of us want to achieve something — we all want to make more money, be more successful, feel happier, and look healthier. But, as nice as those things are, they aren’t real tangible goals. Genuine goal setting means being able to specifically define how you are going to achieve more success or a healthier lifestyle. So instead of saying you want to make more money, how is it that you plan on doing it? I’ve outlined 5 of the most important tips to make your goals successful every time. Understanding how to apply these steps to your goals will help you lead a more fulfilled life.
1. Identify Your Purpose
Who are you? What do you want to achieve in life? What will make you the happiest? These are questions you should be asking yourself before you even think of the goals you want to set. Think big on this one — where do you see yourself in 5, 10, 15, or even 20 years from now? By taking a generalized idea of how you want to shape your life, you can then begin to get specific about how you want to achieve it.
For example, whether you’re looking to go up the ranks in a certain career, start your own business, write a book, or gain financial freedom, those are long-term, big-picture goals that relate to how you intend on living your life. Whatever it is that you want to do, have a clear outcome in mind. To help you with this, think of your goals as dreams with a deadline.
2. Find What Motivates You
Every one of us is different, which means that each of us are motivated in a different way. When you’re thinking about what kinds of goals you want to set, it’s important to consider what you will give value to. So, if you’re thinking you want to go back to school to obtain another degree, but you aren’t too interested in saving up the money or putting in the time, trying to achieve that goal will be all the more difficult because there is no motivating factor pushing you to get it done. On the other hand, if going back to school is something that you are really inspired to achieve and you value the work to get there, it can be extremely motivating.
Set goals that relate to your highest priorities, and eliminate anything else that isn’t a primary concern or focus. This is because actually achieving goals typically requires lots of time and effort, and when life gets busy, starting out unmotivated about a goal just means it will fall by the wayside. Once you outline what’s important to you, write it down and explain why you want to achieve it.
3. Use the S.M.A.R.T. Method
The S.M.A.R.T. method relates to goals that are specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound. Here’s how they work:
Specific: Like I said before, goals have to be well-defined and clearly thought out. Vague goals don’t get achieved, so the more detailed you can get, the better. Instead of saying you want to lose weight, outline how much you want to lose and why.
Measurable: Setting clear guidelines and parameters for your goals is essential, so include precise dates and timelines to make them easier to stick to. So, if you’re looking to lose 20 pounds because you’re getting married next year, figure out how many pounds you’re going to lose in increments. If you don’t measure your goals, you will have no idea how close you are to achieving them.
Attainable: Setting goals that are impossible to achieve isn’t very motivating or fulfilling. Goals don’t happen overnight, so choose something that is within reach and give yourself the right amount of time in order to get it done.
Relevant: This goes back to identifying your purpose. The goals you set should support your ultimate motivations and objectives — so don’t set goals for anything that is contrary to that. This is because if you haven’t clearly defined what you want out of life, your goals may be inconsistent and disparate, causing you to try and achieve things that are conflicting.
Time-Bound: All goals must have an expiry date. If there’s no clearly-defined ending, how are you going to motivate yourself to get over the finish line? Time-bound goals are an important way to ensure you are motivated and can push yourself to achieve them.
4. Plan It Out
Planning it out goes one step further than setting a timeline and measuring when you will complete what by when. Setting a clear plan means figuring out what works for you. Maybe setting your goals in writing, keeping a notebook or journal, or downloading a goal-setting app on your phone to keep you accountable is what helps you to ensure you will stay on track. But whatever it is, pick something. I’ve found that the physical act of writing something down helps me see my goals as tangible targets that make it harder to forget. If you’re feeling your goal is becoming particularly difficult, it’s helpful to return to your note about why you started in the first place.
5. Keep With It
Goals aren’t accomplished overnight, so don’t expect that yours will either. Also don’t expect that you’re always going to be motivated 100% of the time. Life gets busy and it definitely gets hard to stay focused on your goals. But keep with it, and remember that goal setting is a day-to-day practice, not a one-time thing. Continuously remind yourself why you started in the first place, and make sure that you consistently prioritize those goals in order to ensure your success in the long term.
Make your mark by using these 5 steps to achieve the life of your dreams. By working hard at whatever goals you set, you can ensure you get them done every time.