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Last Updated on December 4, 2020

How To Set Goals Effectively And Grow Continuously

How To Set Goals Effectively And Grow Continuously

One of the most vital productivity tools at your disposal is being able to set goals. Without goals, it’s difficult for you to be going in any direction. Not to mention, a lack of goals doesn’t put you in control of your life.

You may already know all of that, however, what you may not know is that not all goals are created equal. Setting goals is incredibly easy, but many people still struggle with setting goals effectively.

People are quick to think big, create vision boards, or use other goal-setting methods. However, a few weeks or months later, those people are not even close to their goals; some may have even given up.

I don’t want you to fall into that pitfall now or ever again. So, to help with that, I want to share with you some simple steps on how to set goals effectively and achieve them.

Why Do People Struggle With Goals?

To understand why I’m giving you these methods, you need to understand why you are stuck with goals in the first place. The list of why people struggle with goals is extensive.

In most situations, why people struggle with goals is to do with a lot of what’s going on inside you.[1]

Some specific examples are:

  • You harbor doubt in the goal or your abilities that the goal demands from you.
  • Your goals are too impotent – as in they’re not important enough.
  • There’s little risk of major setbacks if you give up or stop.
  • Maybe you view your goals as a final result rather than the start of something new. You’re not enjoying the process and lose motivation after some time.

The thing is that these issues can be remedied if you know how to set goals effectively.

How Do I Set Goals Effectively?

If you’re tired of setting goals and never achieving them or losing momentum, here are some steps on how to set goals effectively, make them realistic, and achieve them.

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Step 1 – Develop and Write Down Your Core Values

Also known as personal values, understanding what you value is important to goal setting. What you value the most is what structures your habits, processes, and the goals that you set.

When you’re not aligned with your core values, chances are you’re not motivated to achieve them at any capacity, even if those goals are inherently good for you like losing weight or being a better partner. If you don’t have core values in those areas, then chances are your willingness to improve isn’t going to be much.

And that’s okay. Because that often means you are more focused on other things that are more important to you. You won’t know what that is until you put together your core values.

There are many examples of core values. Some of these are:[2]

  • Authority
  • Competency
  • Determination
  • Leadership
  • Love
  • And many more

You can do this in two ways: either write your goals and find core values after or find core values you associate with and set goals around those.

Step 2 – Remove Weak Goals That Are ‘Good Enough’

What this refers to are the goals that make you feel good but aren’t driving you to pursue them.

One example is how most people use vision boards. People are quick to putting together a large vision board and filling it with all kinds of goals. While there is a feel-good feeling, a lot of it is filler and things that would be nice to have but aren’t actual needs. I’m referring to the massive houses and the “expensive cars”-type of goals.

These are good goals to have as it suggests making more money and working hard and smart financially. That said, they’re big distractions from the goals that play a bigger role in your life. Maybe you’re having relationship issues and one of your core values is to fix it and make amends however you can.

The more goals you have means the more opportunities there are for distractions. As much as goals are important, it’s key that you have a narrow focus on the goals that you set and a narrower one on goals that you are working on.

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One way to help you focus on goals is after you’ve written down your list, create another list. One list ought to have the five most important goals for you at this moment. The second list has any other goals that you may have or come to mind.

The list of five or fewer goals is your “must-do” list, while the other is the “avoid all of them” list. Instill in your mind to only focus on the most important goals.

Step 3 – Enjoy the Process

I mentioned earlier that goals aren’t the end, they are the beginning and it’s true. This particular step is crucial to completing goals as it provides the motivation you need to push forward.

When you are focused on the joy of the process, you also begin to believe more in yourself and your abilities. In a sense, your goals become fun which comes with various perks.[3]

While there are other big motivators to completing goals, the goal should be fun and something that you want to achieve. If it’s fun, you’ll find it easier to tackle problems.

For example, say you’ve experienced a setback and lost some of your momentum. Many people usually become fearful and worried. They begin to lose belief in their abilities.

All that changes when you are enjoying yourself. You see this as a new opportunity to look at something you enjoy from a different perspective.

In the end, a setback can introduce a new perspective to something you love doing. It creates a new appreciation for your goal and the habits you are building.

Step 4 – Have an Action Plan

Preparing yourself to enjoy the process is good. However, it pays to have more direction than simply writing down a goal. Writing down goals works wonders, but mapping out your goals is important too.

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The biggest thing is that an action plan allows you to break down your goals into smaller pieces. Often, people feel overwhelmed when looking at a big goal. Furthermore, people are more motivated if it’s a smaller task.

For example, what sounds easier to do: losing 25 pounds in three months or working out at the gym for three hours per week?

Most would go for the second option as it builds up habits. Best of all, you can put it into your action plan and schedule it into your routine.

In the end, an action plan can be made however you like, but it has to outline actions you can do every day. If you put down daily actions, it puts into perspective that goals are habits you work on regularly.

Step 5 – Have an Environment to Make Working Easier

Once you have everything in place, the next thing is to ensure that you have an environment that is conducive to you working on your goals. In some cases, you may need some productivity or organizational tools in your office, or maybe you need to find another location that works better for you.

Determine what needs to be done and take steps towards making it happen. Your environment needs to be geared towards the work that you want to be doing. This means having the proper tools there, posting positive reminders, and mitigating distractions as much as possible.

Step 6 – If You’re Stuck, Ask for Help

You are reading this article because you’re struggling with goals in some way and need help. And that’s okay. When you are stuck or you feel uncertain about something, it creates doubt and chips away at you.

Instead of caving in, you should make an effort to look for help. Refuse to give up and instead, turn to articles like this and others. Reach out to people and ask questions or guidance.

Many people refuse to do something like this as it could be a point of pride for them. That said, every person that has achieved something has been able to do so thanks in part to someone else in their life.

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If you want to achieve something, make a note that if you’re stuck, ask for help. Knowing how to set goals effectively also means knowing when to ask others for help.

Step 7 – Assess Progress Often

An action plan and your goals work only as effectively the more you check on yourself. If you’re not looking at your progress, it can feel like a long time before you obtain your goal.

Motivation and inspiration drive us to accomplish goals and by looking at your progress, you can see how far you’ve come. Furthermore, if progress isn’t to your liking, you can change up your action plan.

You can say that goals are one massive experiment on yourself. Don’t be afraid to make tweaks and see if any changes have been made.

Final Thoughts

Learning how to set goals effectively boils down to striking a balance between great goals and having the motivation to complete those goals. As such, you want to remove distractions both around you and your goal setting system.

A lot of people struggle with their goals, but this strategy of managing internal motivators and influencing your world around you will allow you to set and achieve better goals.

More Goals Setting Tips

Featured photo credit: Tim Graf via unsplash.com

Reference

More by this author

Leon Ho

Founder & CEO of Lifehack

FIRED to HIRED with the Fortune Formula Why Having a Goals Strategy Can Help You Achieve More How to Be More Assertive and Go After Your Goals How to Achieve Goals and Increase Your Chance of Success Having Trouble Reaching Goals? This Could Be Why

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Last Updated on May 13, 2021

Understand Goal-Setting Theory To Make Your Goal Happen

Understand Goal-Setting Theory To Make Your Goal Happen

We all have goals, whether we realize it or not. Dreams, hopes, visions of the future—these are all, in some way, a goal. The thing to remember about goals is that to be able to focus on them for the future, you have to recognize that they are goals and that they are something that you should be working towards. This is where the idea of a goal-setting theory can help you.

But what is goal-setting theory and why is it important for you to try out for yourself?

What Is the Goal-Setting Theory?

Let’s look at goal setting. The Goal-Setting Theory was created by Edwin Locke in 1968. The main aspect of the theory was that it helped employees to feel motivated to be as productive as possible both in work and outside of work.[1] It looks at the importance of having goals that were well-defined and set out as well as how feedback on these goals are given and received.

Locke knew that goals have to be not only realistic but also clear and defined. Many people set goals that are too vague in their nature. While this may make more sense to them at the time when it comes to achieving those goals, things are not going to be quite as easy as you may think.

There were five principles of the goal-setting theory created by Locke:

  • Clarity. A goal should be specific and clear
  • Challenge. While a goal should always be realistic in its nature, it should still challenge you.
  • Commitment. Your goal should have a positive outcome—a buy-in that is going to keep you looking towards it
  • Feedback. You should receive feedback throughout the process, helping you keep your goal on track (this will often mean that you need to involve someone else).
  • Complexity. If the goal is complicated and is going to take some time to complete, then it may be better to break it down into smaller goals along the way

Why Is It Worth Setting Goals Yourself?

The idea of the goal-setting theory is to help you achieve any goals that you may have. But to actually do this, first, you need to have goals in mind. You may be happy with how life is going at the moment and think that you don’t need to make any changes. But the truth is that we all have room for growth.

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Here are some of the main reasons why it is worthwhile taking the time to set goals and look to your future, whether that is at work or in your personal life.

1. It Allows You to Take Control of Your Life

Do you ever feel that you are simply sleepwalking through life? That you are not in control of what you want or what you need? This may simply be because you are not in control of your own life. By setting yourself goals, you are effectively taking control of your life and where it can take you.

Of course, there are going to be things that get in the way and that can get you off track, but you are still going to feel much more ready to take control of your own life and where it is going.

2. It Gives You Something to Improve on

By taking the time to set yourself goals, you are acknowledging that there is more that you can do in your life. Complacency is not always a good trait to have. particularly when it comes to your working life.

It is always a better idea to give yourself something to improve on—to identify ways that you can make changes and build on what you know and what you can do.

Goals are the targets for those changes. They are your aim and they are what you will look forward to, even when things are not going quite the way that you want them to.

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3. They Are Your Focus

We can all get distracted from time to time. Even when we know where we want to go, it can be hard to be laser-focused on whatever it is that you want to achieve.

When you have a set goal, you are giving yourself a light at the end of the tunnel. You have something that you can look at and think about for the future. This is less likely to result in you drifting off and ending up out of course.

4. They Motivate You

It can be hard to keep working towards something. Life can get in the way and put a roadblock on your plans. Motivation isn’t always something that comes naturally, and we all have times when we want to give up.

If you don’t have a goal that you are looking forward to in the future, then there is a much greater chance that you are going to give up when it gets hard.

A goal is a target, it is something that you know that you need to strive for. This means that you are definitely going to feel more motivated to keep trying and to keep pushing forward, even though it might be difficult at times.

5. They Can Impact Other Parts of Your Life

You may have set your goal for a very specific part of your life, such as your fitness or your career. However, the good news is that you can apply this to other parts of your life too. When you know how well a goal can work for you, then you will feel ready to set them for other things.

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Before you know it, you will be a goal-setting expert and you will be able to change a variety of parts of your life and make sure that you are the best that you can be.

The Goal-Setting Process

Now that you have a better understanding of the goal-setting theory and know that you want to set goals and understand how they can be valuable to you, you are going to want to know the actual goal-setting process.

1. Write Down Your Goals

The first thing to do is to write down your goals. You might have them in your mind, but by writing them down, you are making them real and giving them force. This will be the driving force behind you achieving them in the end.

2. Make Them SMART

Next, you need to make sure that you make them as SMART as possible. SMART stands for Measurable, Achievable, Specific, and Time-based, which is the way wherein you can take a vague and weak goal and make it something that you can actually do in the future.

It is great to set a SMART goal, but you need to be able to actually meet its requirements. You must know how you are going to measure them along the way. How will you know when you have achieved them? Or how will you know whether or not you are on the right track?

3. Have a Deadline

You need to also set a deadline for your goal. Having a time-frame in mind will help you to create a sense of urgency, which will drive you towards your end goal. It is important that the deadline that you set is realistic and something that you can achieve.

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Although, of course, it is worth remembering that if things are not quite working out how you hoped that they would, then you can make changes. You can also break down a bigger, longer-term goal into smaller chunks, which will help you to stay on track.

4. Know Your Obstacles

We all hope that we are going to be able to reach our goals with minimal issues, but there is always a chance that things are going to crop up along the way. By knowing what risks there may be and what challenges may come up, we can try to be more prepared for them.

There may be curveballs along the way, but for the most part, you should be able to identify the issues that could be there and look for ways that you can get through them.

Final Thoughts

Goals are something that can benefit us all. Sure, it is going to be hard to set them and then even harder to reach them. But it is always worthwhile trying for yourself.

While it is important to live in the here and now, it is still good to look to the future too. After all, without focusing on where you could be, how will you ever know what you can achieve?

More Tips on Goal Setting

Featured photo credit: Ronnie Overgoor via unsplash.com

Reference

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