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Last Updated on January 19, 2021

8 Steps to Achieve Your Three Big Goals This Year

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8 Steps to Achieve Your Three Big Goals This Year

We’re coming to the end of the year, and most would take this time to review and plan their year ahead with new year resolutions.

Do you set goals? Do you reset your new year resolutions year after year without really progressing or achieving them? Do your new goals get forgotten along the way? According to a University of Scranton study, only 8% of those who set out to achieve their New Year’s goals actually achieve them.

Why Are We Not Achieving the Goals We Set?

Let’s not just talk about new year resolutions but also the goals that we set. Why are we not achieving the goals we set? Don’t we want these goals? From both research and personal experiences, I can boldly highlight three reasons:

1. We set too many goals all at once

When we set too many goals; e.g to travel more, to set up a business, to lose 10kg, to run a marathon, to be a great partner, parent or child, to get a promotion all at once, we are setting too many focus (and distractions) for ourselves and in turn, setting ourselves up for failure.

When that happens, we either tread water (no progress), take longer to reach where we want to go or we drop some of those goals that we could have achieved if we had spent more time and focus on that goal.

That’s not to say we shouldn’t have many goals. Over our lifetime, we’re bound to have goals and change goals at different stages of our lives. And the list may even grow longer over time, but what we need to focus now, is to pick one to three goals that really matter to us, that we really want to achieve and focus on right now.

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2. We don’t really want the goals we set

Have you ever set goals that you think it’d be nice to have? I have.

For many years, I had ‘practice meditation’ on my list, but I barely did it. In fact, over the last five years on my goals list, I have sat down and practised for less than five times. Each time I tried to meditate at home, I either fell asleep or hated the feeling. It just didn’t work for me. Meanwhile, I relish Yoga sessions so much that I would travel to get to the Yoga centre for that one hour of practice. Doing meditation is a means to practice consciousness and mindfulness which I can practice through other means.

As I looked back at my goals, I realised I didn’t really want some of the goals that I set for myself. We may have spent a lot of time and energy on these goals, but when we realise that we don’t really want them, these goals easily become a struggle. For instance, do you know why you want to chase that career goal, to climb up the corporate ladder, to travel more or to set up profitable businesses?

3. We set goals that are too vague or too difficult to achieve within a very short time frame

If you set mediocre goals, you will get mediocre results. If you set vague goals, you will get vague results. Be clear on what you want to achieve, with specific actions, non-negotiable schedule and set a due date that you cannot postpone.

Also, when we set goals, we want to cover as much action steps and timeline as we can and follow through. It’s great if what we complete goes accordingly to what we have planned. However, when we set goals that are too rigid, e.g to lose x kg every month without fail or to plot a progress so linear that it does not allow us to relax, take breaks or even change, sooner or later it will be a stressful burden to us.

8 Steps to Set Smart Goals and Achieve Them

With the ever-increasing uncertainties today, we all crave for certainties to some extent. Whether you set a goal to be healthy so that you won’t have to deal with hefty medical costs in future, or to set up a business so that you can live with more freedom and independence, setting and achieving our goals not only build us as individuals as we progress and grow but we also gain confidence and empowerment when we achieve our goals. When we achieve what we set out to be, we are more motivated to do more and be more, because we know we can.

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1. Write Your Goals Down

It seems simple and basic, but there are many who either sets no goals or those who set goals in their head. Over time, as we get busy and distracted, we tend to forget these goals that we set earlier on.

2. Pick 1 – 3 Goals that Really Matter to you

Pick goals that you really want to achieve, not what feels or looks nice to have, not what you should be achieving.

3. Know WHY you Want to Achieve these Goals

It should not be for anyone else but yourself. Why do you want to lose weight? Why do you want that promotion? What is your motivation in wanting to start that business?

4. Break these Few Important Goals down into Smaller Actions with a Specific Timeline

Have an action list for each goal with a set due date. And, break these actions further into really small baby steps. In fact, some coaches suggest that you break your goals into steps so simple that you can do it immediately.

5. Post your Goals and Actions Steps somewhere Visible

Making your goals, the whys and the actions steps visible not only reminds you of what you want to achieve, it also allows you to review and track your progress.

6. Act on Them

No actions = no progress. All the planning and brainstorming may feel like a productive and fulfilling exercise, but you won’t reach your goal with just planning. You have to take action.

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7. Track Your Progress

Make an appointment with yourself on a regular basis to review your progress. If you find weekly reviews too time-consuming, you can always do it monthly or quarterly.

Be conscious of how you set your due date. When we set goals for ourselves, we tend to be ambitious and want to achieve the most in the least amount of time. When we don’t see results, it is easy to give up. Set actions steps that are realistic, that you can do, pace yourself and do within your limits.

If you find yourself unable to progress because you lack some skills or experiences, go out there and get these knowledge, skills and experiences.

8. Get Feedback on Your Progress

Sometimes we may feel stuck even when we have taken a lot of actions. It helps to have support groups or people you trust who can provide you honest feedback, give you comments and motivate you to do better.

Be careful of who you share your motivation and feedback with, though. Stay way from naysayers or negative people who are always difficult. No amount of persuasion or justification will prove you right even if you are right.

Bottom Line

The above steps are really what many would tell you to do on SMART goal setting. i,e, set Specific, Measurable, Actionable, Realistic and Time-based. But this also incorporates the SMARTER Goal Setting method to include Evaluation and Review as well.

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While we may be anxious to achieve our goals, we have to learn to be patient and be willing to try. Also be willing to fail. When you fail, don’t be quick to give up and say you are not cut out for it or you won’t be successful.

The most successful people don’t only depend on skills or talents or experiences, they also persevere a lot. That’s what separates people who achieve their goals and people who don’t.

Meanwhile, enjoy the journey and don’t forget to celebrate your milestones.

Featured photo credit: Pablo via pablo.buffer.com

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Published on September 16, 2021

What Are Process Goals? (With Examples)

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What Are Process Goals? (With Examples)

Ready. Set. Go. For years, this was my three-step mindset when it came to goals. I would reach for the moon and hope to land among the stars without feeling the pain of the fall. This approach was all or nothing, and as a result, I experienced loads of burnout and almost zero productivity. In short, my task list was filled with high-level intentions, but I hadn’t taken the time to create a map to reach the destinations. I was lost in the planning stages because I didn’t understand process goals or have any examples to follow.

Since then, I’ve learned how to embrace the journey and break my outcome goals into smaller and more manageable process goals. This approach has improved my focus and reduced frustration because I’m now working towards a surefire strategy that will take me where I want to go––I’m creating a plan of action with achievable daily targets (a process goal).

What Is a Process Goal?

A process goal is not a destination, it’s the path you plan on taking to get there. For example, if you want to become better at writing, your process goal would be to post one blog article per week and learn from the feedback you receive. The destination is a monthly goal of 12 articles.

This distinction is important because it’s easy to lose sight of the fact that these types of goals are not all or nothing. Think about it. You’ve heard it said: it’s not about working hard but working smart.

Well, a process goal is an actionable target with what we call SMART criteria:

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  • Specific – The more detailed your goal, the better. For example, instead of “I want to be fit,” you would say, “I want to lose five pounds.” Make sure your goal is crystal clear.
  • Measurable – You need a way to measure progress and success, so it needs to be quantifiable. This is where you decide what “fit” actually means for you (more on this later).
  • Achievable – If your goal isn’t challenging, then it’s not going to be motivating. On the other hand, there must be a steeper mountain to climb if you want substantial results.
  • Realistic – “I want to run a marathon” is not practical for most people. Ensure you have the time, energy, and resources (e.g., training program) required to achieve your goal.
  • Time-Bound – Your goal needs an assigned deadline or it’s just a pipe dream. There’s nothing wrong with dreaming, but what happens when the fantasy ends?

To summarize, these are the essential components of any process goal: specific, measurable, achievable within a certain time frame, and realistic.

What Is a Destination Goal?

A destination goal is a point in time when you plan to be at a particular destination. For example, if your goal is to get to represent your country at the 2025 Summer Olympics, you right need to focus on smaller increments to attain that success. On your way to that goal, you need to focus on smaller destinations. First, make the national team. Then, compete in a few events and so forth.

If you try to make it to the Olympics from the very start without any milestones along the way, it would be too daunting. On the other hand, if you focus on each milestone as a destination goal, it will all seem possible and achievable.

Process Goal Template

Let’s say you want to become a better cook. Here is one way of writing the process goal: “I will save $100 per week by cooking all my meals at home for 12 weeks.” This would be your destination (monthly), and the steps required to achieve this goal (weekly) would be:

  1. Spend one hour on Sunday planning my meals for the week.
  2. Shop for groceries after work on Monday and Tuesday nights.
  3. Cook all meals at home on Wednesdays through Sundays.
  4. Pack my lunch for work on Mondays and Tuesdays.
  5. Save $100 per week in cash by cooking at home.

This process goal will help you become a better cook by teaching you to save money through planning, shopping, cooking, packing your own lunch, and trying new recipes. It also includes a weekly reward (saving $100 in cash) that will help you stay motivated.

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Process goals encourage you to reach your ultimate goals. When you feel like you can accomplish smaller goals along the way, you gain sustainability and confidence to move forward.

In many ways, process goals are a lot like faith. Each accomplishment brings you closer to seeing the fullness of the life that you desire––it breaks through the fog and makes things clearer.

What Questions Helped Me Find My Process Goals?

After several years of setting lofty goals and becoming increasingly frustrated when I wasn’t getting the results I wanted, I decided to take a closer look at my approach.

Now, there are many ways you can do this, but here’s how I went about it. Last year, I asked myself the following questions:

  • What am I doing right now?
  • How can I get better at this?
  • Is this process goal leading me closer to my ultimate goals?

The choices I made from the answers to these questions became my process goals. They were the driving force that kept me motivated and moving forward when I wanted to give up and throw in the towel. Since then, I’ve been able to accomplish lifelong goals that I had given up on years ago. For example, I’ve been able to obtain a publishing contract, create more digital products for my business, and enjoy the moment.

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Before I broke down my goals into smaller ones, I was struggling to just get out of bed. The thought of my endless list kept me stagnant. Now, I look forward to each morning and taking on smaller projects to reach profitable outcomes.

What Are Some Process Goals You Can Try?

So, now that you understand the importance of process goals, let’s get you started with some examples that you can utilize this week:

  • Sign up for a new class.
  • Complete one portion of your project by Thursday.
  • Start walking around the block instead of running a mile.
  • Improve your writing by spending 30 minutes everyday journaling.
  • Practice your interview skills.
  • Read at least one book from the library this week.
  • Do ten push-ups each day before you leave for work.

You get the idea. These process goals don’t have to be complicated. If anything, you want to break down your plans to the point of them feeling easy or at least doable without needing a week’s vacation. By breaking your goals down into smaller pieces, you can accomplish a lot more in a shorter period. You’ll also feel more confident that you’re able to accomplish something within the moment.

It isn’t easy to continue towards your goal if achievement feels too far away. You need to celebrate the small things and embrace the process.

What Do You Need for Process Goals?

Think about how much time and money you’ve spent on new clothes, books, technology, etc. Many of us want to keep up with the latest trends and purchase the best gadgets from Apple or Microsoft. But all of these extra investments come at a steep price.

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To find your process goals, you may have to face some difficult emotions or situations bravely and confront them head-on. You might need to forgo the new outfit or the latest Mac book to meet your overall objectives.[1] Remember, process goals not only protect you from feeling overwhelmed, but they also keep you from being distracted.

Final Thoughts

You may feel overwhelmed at first when trying to set a process goal. Sometimes, just thinking about change triggers stress hormones, which only leads to more worries and anxious feelings. However, if you keep yourself focused and take small steps in the right direction, you’ll soon realize that goals don’t have to be complicated.

You can achieve your process goals one day at a time, and you can start today by breaking down your larger goal into smaller steps. It doesn’t matter if the process takes a week or six months, what matters most is that you’re moving forward and doing something to make yourself better.

Now, go on out there and achieve one of your process goals!

Featured photo credit: Kaleidico via unsplash.com

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