How to Set Goals So You Can Actually Achieve Them

As humans, we are hardwired to set and try to achieve goals. They give our life meaning and purpose. They motivate us to stretch ourselves, grow, and evolve. They can help us become better versions of ourselves.

However, if you want to actually achieve your goals, you need to put a little time and thought into goal setting. Here’s what to do:

Be specific

“I want to retire early with millions of dollars in the bank” is an unachievable goal simply because it is so broad. What age do you want to retire? How much money do you need to have in the bank? How will you earn and save that money?

A more specific goal will allow you to put a specific plan in place. Ever hear of a WHY SMART goal? A WHY SMART goal is:

  • W – Written
  • H – Harmonious
  • Y – Yours
  • S – Specific
  • M – Measurable
  • A – Attainable
  • R – Relevant or rewarding
  • T – Time-bound

Using those criteria, how would you re-write the broader goal above?

Be realistic

While it is great to think big and set a big hairy audacious goal, you can also fall into the trap of setting yourself an unrealistic goal. Be honest with yourself when setting a goal – do you really have the time, skills, and interest to achieve it? If your goal align with your values, then the answer will be yes.

Figure out steps

If you want to master the Italian language in one year, back up from your goal, and start listing the steps you need to achieve it. Maybe you will take classes, find a tutor or native speaker to converse with regularly, subscribe to Italian newspapers online, and write one full page of text in Italian every week.

Once you know the steps you need to take, write down the weekly or monthly goals you want to achieve on your way to reaching your ultimate goal.

Pick a deadline

An open-ended deadline completely strips away any sense of urgency and provides zero motivation for you to take action. Saying, “I want to master Italian” is completely meaningless until you add “by the end of the year.” Otherwise, you could wait 40 years to do it!

Review your goals regularly

Your goals need to stay top of mind, so review them regularly. Remind yourself why achieving this goal is so important to you, and review all of the things you have done so far. You might be surprised at how far you’ve come!

What is one goal you have set and achieved that has made you particularly proud? What was the key to your success?  What one goal would make the biggest impact on your personal and professional life this year?  If you want to guarantee your success contact Barbara Ann Beisler or Joan Fletcher to learn the goal setting steps to goal achievement!

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