If you find that you need to keep setting the same goals over and over with no results, then you need to learn how to set and achieve your goals the smart way because chances are there is something you are doing wrong.
Every year thousands of people make new resolutions on New Year’s day and most of those resolutions have fallen by the wayside by the end of the week.
While resolutions are great as they indicate that one knows and desires change and improvement, it is best to set goals instead of vague resolutions.
But in goal setting, strategies need to be in a place that will make it more likely these goals will be met. So the question is, how do you set goals and achieve them this year?
One thing is for sure making change is difficult and requires one to employ nearly full-proof strategies to realize the change they desire.
Let get to it and start setting some goals that we are sure to crush this year.
A step by step guide to achieving your goals
So you want to set some goals to move your life forward. Just where do you start? You can’t just throw words on paper and expect to succeed. You need a strategic approach. Let’s dive in and see what strategies you need when it comes to setting achievable goals.
What goals do you want to focus on?
You need to decide on the goals you want to achieve of course to get started in setting goals you can achieve.
You need to sit down and brainstorm all the things that would make your life most fulfilling to you. What is it that would make all the difference if you achieve it? It has to be something you really want that is very beneficial and meaningful to you.
Something impactful. So sit down with a pen and paper and write down as many things as you want. Let it out. You can sift through it after.
In most cases the areas many people desire a change in will be in:
When the brainstorm session is done. Look at it and choose 2 to 3 overarching big goals. You don’t want to overwhelm yourself by trying to change all the things. That is one way to be discouraged and fail to achieve your goals.
But how do you decide among many things that you may want? You want to choose goals that align with areas in your life that really need a change, Do you have a job you hate? Do you have too much debt? Are you in a bad relationship?
So, in other words, you need to define how this will look to you once achieved
And before you begin, certain things need to be in place.
Let us look at these.
You need a meaningful reason for your goals
Your goals must be meaningful so that you must keep on even when no matter what obstacles come, no matter how hard it gets. Things get really hard and you will need to revisit your reason for the goals again to regain the fire and the momentum.
When your inner critic starts telling you lies, you may be tempted to believe that you are way over your head, or that only some kind of people succeed in what you are trying to do.
It is then that you WHY will support you and give you renewed resolve to keep going. Motivation will wane. You need a greater resource than motivation alone.
Work on your mindset
One great reason people don’t achieve their goals is that their mindset is in the wrong place. Before you set goals you can actually achieve you must start by changing your mindset.
If you have a set of negative beliefs about yourself, you need to reframe them. Stand in front of a mirror and practice saying positive affirmations about yourself.
Change those negative beliefs. You want to change career but you worry you are not good at whatever career direction you want? If you feel a deep desire sort of a calling but you have imposter syndrome, practice affirmations to rewire your mindset.
Here are a few to get you started. Say after me:
I am worthy, I am smart. I can do this, I am worthy of my dreams. I have what it takes. I was meant for this.
Visualize yourself having reached your goals
Picture the new life you want to live. See the joy of success, Draw this mental picture and relish the new sweet feeling of seeing the success you have achieved.
Visualization is powerful. Lets say for example you have a goal to become a self employed freelancer and enjoy freedom to be location independent.
Visualize yourself working from a beautful tropical beach for example. You want to lose those extra pounds you cant seem to ever lose?
Visualize yourself in a beautiful perfectly fitting dress that hugs all the right places. You want to make more money? visualize yourself buying what you really want without the stress.
You see how easy that is?
This will give your goals wings. This will light a fire under you to achieve your goals because you will want to actualize what you have visualized. Visualization is a great way to manifest your dreams and achieving your goals.
And now that you have laid the groundwork and you are armed with your why and tackled your mindset, and your vision is strong and vivid, now get to work.
Here are your next steps…
Set your goals the right way
Okay, let’s just say it loud and clear. There is a right and wrong way to set your goals. And the right way is to set SMART goals.
It is not enough to just set a goal. Yes, just saying you will lose weight is not enough to give you the results you want. Or simply saying you will make more money. These are great goals. But goals need to be full-proof away. They need to be S.M.A.R.T
You may have come across the acronym S.M.A.R.T Goals. Let us remind ourselves so going forward we are clear about smart goals.
S — stands for specific. Your goals need to be specific. So if you need to lose weight, how much weight do you want to lose. How much money do you want to make?
M— They need to be measurable. While you may know just how many pounds you need to lose. You need to be able to evaluate your progress throughout. This is easy with weight loss as you can weigh yourself every week. Using the money example how will you measure your progress?
Do you have a product to sell like an Ebook maybe and can aim to sell 10 Ebooks every day? Or launching a new product and aim to make 5000 at launch?
Now for other areas of life where the goal is not so tangible, how will you evaluate the change? for example, if you want to quit a particular bad habit, have a way to measure that progress.
A— Your goals need to be actionable or achievable/attainable. I know you want to make BIG HAIRY changes. But pause for a hot minute and reel your dream in a bit and examine it and trim it a bit.
Your goal needs to be something you can achieve. If not you will be so discouraged and give up. And of course, we don’t want that.
It may not be actionable to say you will make a hundred thousand dollars in a month unless you have some systems set up in your life that can give such results.
R– Is your goal relevant to you? is it reasonable and something that aligns with the rest of your life and goals? Is it something worthwhile to pursue?
And is it something that you should be doing now? Here you can consider the time and resources available to you and their impact on the rest of your life and relationships.
T– Stand for time-bound. A goal, a good goal needs to be time-sensitive. If you don’t set a time then you are likely to procrastinate and keep pushing the actions necessary aside. Give yourself a deadline to achieve and reach your goal.
Also, set smaller deadlines for when various steps will be done in the timeline towards the final deadline.
So you may have what you need to do in a week, a month, three months, six months, and within a year so that way you are checking progress and evaluating action steps.
Now that you know just how this goal looks and your smart goals are outlined it is time to commit.
Get committed: Write the goal down
It is proven. Writing your goals down is important. Research has found that those who write their goals down are more likely to achieve them than those who don’t.
According to Micheal Hyatt, “the secret to accomplishing what matters most to you is committing your goals to write.” And he explains the five reasons why it is important to commit your goals in writing here.
Also, a Havard Business Study found that 3 percent of the respondents in the study wrote their goals out and these were three times more likely to achieve their goals than those who had goals in mind and did not write them out.
There is something about writing things down. It adds an element of seriousness and a sense of commitment, like a promise to a respected friend that you don’t want to break. It adds determination.
Writing encodes this information and stores it so it is there for retrieval and is marked by the brain as important. It also helps you clarify the goals so they are clear and you are sure they are exactly as you want.
Now that your goals are firmly and clearly written. Display them in palin sight where you see them every day. You need daily reminder. Sometimes you know, out of sight out mind is so true. Dont make the mistake of forgetting what you wrote. Keeping your goals where you see them often will keep them top of mind.
Plan and get organized and prioritize
It is now time to plan everything out. Get prepared and organized.
Here are some steps you may need to take:
- You may need to get materials such as a physical planner, and of course, if using other online systems works for you go for it.
- You may need to declutter your world to make space for a better work environment. It is a fact, physical clutter is debilitating for the mind and you cannot move well forward if your world and paces are in a disarray. So can your physical environment.
- Eliminate distractions. You need to focus starting now so you can start the mind work as well as the real work required in achieving your goals.
- Set the time you will work on your goals with the beginning and a deadline. Without a specific time to start working on your goals and a deadline, you may end up pushing the starting or the completion time, and before you know it, time is over and you did not reach your goals.
- Get to the nitty-gritty. Break your goals into small easy steps to avoid any overwhelm. Getting organized includes breaking your goals into actionable steps. What steps are needed for the desired outcome? For example, if you wanted to save money for a major trip you would decide how much money you will need, then you brainstorm how you will make money, and how much you will need to save every month. Plan the details out. Or do you want to lose weight? Then you need to decide how much weight to lose. The action steps needed such as exercise, and what exercises to do daily, and when, what meals to eat for breakfast lunch and dinner. Plan that and schedule it in your calendar. Schedule these in your planner.
You will also then need daily checklists so that every morning you wake up knowing just what has to be done and in what order always having at least 3 major things that must be done.
Yes, you must prioritize the BIG to dos for every day.
According to Gary Bencivenga a marketing genius, the key to productivity is applying the 80/20 rule. Or the law of the vital few and the trivial many also known as the Pareto principle.
And Gary goes on to elaborate that only 20 percent of your daily actions are responsible for 80 percent of your success, income, and happiness.
He advises that you be ruthless in eliminating the low pay-off activities that are responsible for lots of wasted time. So plan and stick to your plans and eliminate distractions.
Once your plans are in place and you have streamlined your environment and are actively working on your goals, start to monitor your progress. You need to know if you are still on the right path.
Have a realistic time frame.
What is a realistic time frame for your goals? Have check points lets say at the 3-month point, 6 months, 9 months, and 12 months. Then you have monthly, and weekly and of course daily. You have then to fine-tune your daily actions to action steps that will move you forward to achieving the ultimate goal.
As mentioned earlier, having a planner or a notebook is a great way to write down what needs to happen when. Then every night write down your to-do list with the most important goal-oriented actions having the priority.
If you take these actions, you will get closer and closer to achieving your goals.
Then having laid out the action and carried out these actions you are nearly there but you still have some ways to go. And you need to look at how you are doing.
Monitor your progress
You must monitor your progress. This will also motivate you.
You won’t know what is going right and what is going wrong if you don’t monitor things. Check progress often but not so often that you get discouraged when only tiny milestones are reached.
Every day you should have small steps and actions needed to accomplish your goal and so that at the end of the day, you can look at your to-do list to see how you did. If you have done the main things set out for each day you are doing great.
Then review your weekly goals and action steps and see how well you did. Have a monthly review, a quarterly, and of course yearly reviews to see how well you did. You, my friend, are now on the way to crushing those goals!
Be careful, and watch for these hijackers of progress in your ability to achieve your goals.
Some days you will want to postpone the actions you need to take.
Be on the look out for those behaviors. Procrastination has seen the demise of many goals and dreams. Here is an article that can help you avoid procrastination so you can crush your goals, always.
You are on a new journey here. A journey to a better life and these goals are your vehicles to the life you desire.
Say what now?
Yes, it is okay to fail. Failure means you are trying. So dont be afraif to fail. Learn and keep moving boldly foward.
If all the people who have done great things stopped when they failed first, second, third, fourth… and many many more times, my friend, we would not have electricity, or the light bulb and many more things. Leverage your failure. Learn from it and use it to guide your next actions.
So if you fail, fail forward, keep going but wisely. And as Michelle Obama said, “failure is an important part of your growth and development. Don’t be afraid to fail.”
And to drive home the necessity of failure check out this Motiversity video. You have to embrace failure and expect it, and be okay to fail a lot… ” fail early, fail often, fail forward.
I love this video. Did you ever learn how to ride a bike? You stayed on even when you fell. Get back on the back of the bike, every time you fall.
First, be accountable to yourself. These are your goals, and it is much more important that you be accountable to yourself. Remember your why and the reason these goals are important to you.
Also remember that if and when you fail be sure to assess and see where to make amends. Accept you missed a step and do better. You own your mistakes and dont play the blames game whether you blame the weather or circumstances or your spouse or children… its not okay. Accept responsibilty and then change. See what need to be improved.
You can also find a friend -an accountability buddy. Someone on the same journey you are on is best. That way you hold each othrs hadn during the hard times, and call each others bull when needed. And most importanly celebrate each others success.
Celebrates your wins
Success is so sweet. Relish it! Indeed celebrate it. Celebrate even the small wins. It doesn’t have to be a big to-do but do something that makes you feel good and motivates you.
But celebrate responsibly. Dont erase all your hard work.
Plan a vacation perhaps or a simple trip that doesn’t require too much planning and have that as a way to celebrate your success.
It can also be smaller things like buying some trinkets or small things from Amazon. Celebrate every success no matter how small.
Assess review and adjust
Finally, as you progress with working on your goals, periodically assess to see how well you are doing. Review the goals and see whether anything needs to be changed.
Were the goals not specific enough, or too big, do you need to change anything. Keep working towards your goals step by step, week by week.
Stopping at each deadline, may it be weekly or monthly to check-in. Have you made progress? Good, now keep going forward. Something not working too well? Do you not have enough time? What can you change without giving up?
And finally Success!
At the end of it all you have now finally achieved your goals. Look back and glory in this amazing moment. Bask in the joy of success.
And then, as the chump you are at goal setting set new bold but SMART goals.
You go chump. You got this.