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Last Updated on January 25, 2021

How to Be Determined and Achieve Your Goals

How to Be Determined and Achieve Your Goals
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You have set yourself a new goal. You’re excited, inspired, and motivated to achieve your next level of success. Things are going great, and you’re making progress. Then, it happens—out of nowhere, you find yourself stuck, stalled, or stopped. You can’t believe that just a short time ago you were on fire and crushing it, and now you’re not getting any closer to achieving what you want. You’ve hit “the wall.”

How can you stay determined when you hit the motivation wall?

It’s common to feel great about starting a new project or goal. In the beginning, we feel like we have the energy and passion to get something or accomplish something that we want. Willpower is what most people rely on to get started. However, willpower is not enough. It has a short life, and it alone cannot sustain the effort needed to reach the finish line when obstacles get in the way. You need a better strategy.

Here are 3 keys to staying motivated and determined no matter what, so you can use your time right: set S.M.A.R.T. goals, set tour “Why”, and set your schedule.

Key #1: Setting S.M.A.R.T. Goals

Your “GPS S.M.A.R.T. Goals” are specific goals meant to move you in the direction of your overall success. To be successful, you have to first make sure your goal is set up correctly.

Take the time to craft written goals and put them down on paper. This is the first step to make sure you have the highest chance of success. It’s like setting the right address into your GPS.

S.M.A.R.T. goals must be Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-centered.

Specific

Create your goal with as much detail as possible. It should be written with precision, clarity, and specifics by focusing on the five W’s:

  • Who?
  • What?
  • Where?
  • When?
  • Why?

Measurable

Establish specific criteria for measuring your goal so you can track your progress and stay motivated.

  • How will I measure progress?
  • How will I know when my goal is achieved?
  • How much?
  • How many?

Answering these questions will give you the details on how to measure progress and see that you are always moving forward—for example, in income, pounds lost, hours saved, etc.

Attainable

Make sure that your goal is achievable and realistic. It should stretch you and push you to your limits but still be obtainable.

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  • What appropriate and inspired actions do I need to take to meet my goal?
  • How can I achieve this goal?

Relevant

Choose a goal that you are willing and can put the appropriate time and effort into. Also, that goal should be something that actually matters to you and/or the collective.

  • Does it connect to my overall short-term and long-term plans?
  • Is this goal going to make a positive difference for me and/or others?
  • Is this aligned with my “why” or purpose and my values?

Time-Centered

Have scheduled and trackable tasks and timelines. This inspires action and holds you accountable while also helping you stay determined. Also, you should set a specific time frame for accomplishing your goal.

  • When will this goal be completed?
  • Am I committed to investing the time needed?

Use these questions to make sure that every goal you make is a SMART goal.

Key # 2: Your “Why”

The bigger the “why” the easier the “how.” —Jim Rohn

Clients come to me when they’re stuck, stopped, or struggling to have the life they want and when they want to accelerate their progress or have more consistent results than they’re getting, whether it’s in their business or their personal lives.

One of the very first things I ask any and every client is this: “What are you committed to having?”

That can be anything from their life purpose, a specific business goal, or a life goal. Most people have a clear understanding of the goal, such as “building my business,” “having a better relationship with my spouse,” or “being healthy and fit.”

The big question comes next. I ask them the simple question, “Why do you want that?”

The typical response is a generalized surface answer with no deep emotional connection to their core motivation and purpose. It has been pre-programmed for so long that it doesn’t have a current and relevant emotional connection. This gap between their obvious answer and their core motivation is the primary reason why so many people get stuck, stopped, struggle, or lack consistency and motivation.

Simon Sinek, one of the leading thinkers on this topic, tells us in his book, Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action, that “everyone knows what they do 100 percent of the time. Some know how they do it. Very few people in organizations, in the world, and their own personal life know why they do what they do.”

His definition of “why” is “the purpose or cause—the single driving motivation for action.” Knowing your own “why” is the key to connecting with the deep motivational centers of your brain that inspire action. Your “why” gets you to connect with your purpose. Your “why” then becomes your purpose identified, and this helps you stay determined.

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Why Is Your “Why” So Important?

Your “why” gives meaning to everything you do. You can appear to be successful on the outside, but if you are not internally aligned with your why, you will never truly feel satisfied in life.

Your “why” directs and guides you. Not only can your “why” give you meaning, but it can also give you a clear direction about where to go in life. It can help you make both big and small decisions and take the next step.

Your “why”motivates you. In life, there will be difficult times to go through. You may experience setbacks, rejection, and failure. In such situations, your “why” can give you the motivation you need to keep going. It also becomes your GPS guide in everything you do with your time and schedule.

Identify Your Why

I have a specific process you can use to uncover your purpose. It involves answering the questions below. You must ask yourself the key question 4 to 5 times.

As an example, I’ve provided my own answers as a way for you to understand what the process is like.

“What am I committed to having?”
My answer: “To be the best researcher, speaker, and coach.”

  1. Why is this important to me?
    My answer: “So I can feel good about helping people improve their lives.”
  2. Why is that important?
    My answer: “So they feel someone is in their corner supporting them.”
  3. Why is that important?
    My answer: “So they believe that they can have the life they want.”
  4. Why is that important?
    My answer: “To help people discover and live their true purpose.”

This last answer finally got me to the core of my true motivation. It can take 4 to 5 tries asking yourself “why is that important?” until you really hit on your core reason or belief that’s motivating you.

Determining your “why” can apply to specific goals in any area of your life. For every goal you have or anything you want to achieve, you need to know the “why” to align your efforts and motivations to achieve your goals.

Here is another example:

I had a client come in for wellness and health issues that were affecting her business performance. Audrey is an executive in her late forties. She believed she had 20 pounds to lose and knew she was not in good physical condition.

When she walked in, she said, “I’m having some barriers to losing weight.”

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“What’s your goal?” I asked.

“To lose 20 pounds.”

“Why is that important to you?”

“Well, so I can feel good,” she answered.

“Why is that important to you?”

“You know, so I can feel healthy.”

“Why is that important to you?”

“I need to be more active to keep up with my kids.”

“Why is that important to you?”

“Because my mother passed away when I was 20, and I want to be there well into adulthood for my kids.”

I could literally see the shift reflected in her eyes. Audrey’s purpose was not just about losing 20 pounds so she could be more active and feel better. Instead, her “why” for this particular goal was to be present and have an enriched long life with her kids. When she realized that, she became highly motivated and easily lost all the weight after trying and failing in the past.

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If I had let Audrey’s purpose be to just lose some weight over time, she would have failed. There would have been no connection with the deep motivational centers of her brain—the area that motivates her to take action.

Your “Why” Makes Your Time Relevant

Connecting with your why ensures that you are using your gifts and talents in a way that connects you with your true purpose, making a positive difference for you and your community. This is key to learning how to be determined because it directs and maximizes your time in a purposeful and meaningful way that gives relevance to everything you do.

Key #3: Schedule Everything

Now that you have established your SMART goals and determined your “why,” it’s time to schedule what you need to do to accomplish them. You can do this successfully by making sure you put your tasks on your calendar.

Your calendar is where you are committing your most valuable asset—time—to your most important priorities. If your tasks are not on your calendar with the appropriate time scheduled for them, there is a good chance in our 24/7 hyper distracted world they won’t happen.

Your daily schedule should be written as a visual reminder of what you have chosen to do on any given day, which guides the intentions you set for each day. It represents what’s important in your life and business.

There is an old productivity saying that I live by: “If it’s not on the calendar, it didn’t happen.” Live with this mindset and calendar everything important, and scheduling will be the key to unlocking your motivation and potential and staying determined.

Final Thoughts


Knowing how to stay determined despite the hardships you’ll face is not an easy task. So, the next time you’re lacking motivation, set yourself up for success by using these 3 steps: set S.M.A.R.T. goals, connect to your “why”, and schedule everything. Doing this will ensure that you start strong, build momentum, and stay determined in reaching your most important goals.

More Tips on How to Be Determined

Featured photo credit: dylan nolte via unsplash.com

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More by this author

Steven Griffith

Steven is an Executive Coach. He's been helping the world’s most successful people perfrom at their peack level.

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Last Updated on July 29, 2021

A Complete Guide to Goal Setting for Personal Success

A Complete Guide to Goal Setting for Personal Success
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If there was a rule book of life, there would be one particular page that was highlighted, underlined, and titled as most important. It would be the one which told you that you need to master effective goal setting and have an aim in mind before you get on with the process. While there may not be an actual rule book of life, we do have this helpful goal setting guide to offer.

Yes, goal setting is important. In fact, it’s more important than achieving the goal itself. This is because it is the sense of direction that is needed for you to fulfill any task in life.

You don’t have to feel overwhelmed if this sounds new to you, as all the following information has you covered.

Today, you’ll find out all about the importance of goal setting, types of goals, and tips to define realistic goals for yourself!

What Are Goals?

To kick off our goal setting tips guide, you need to first recognize what goals are and how they are different from objectives, dreams, and expectations.

A goal is essentially your aim for the long-term future. It is the bigger umbrella, the main focus.

Objectives, on the other hand, fall under the umbrella of goals. They are the stepping stones that help you achieve your goals[1].

Objects vs goals for goal setting tips

    For example, you may decide you want to learn a new language. Your goal is to be fluent in the new language. Everything you do to achieve this goal, such as the daily tasks and monthly learning aims, are the objectives.

    Similarly, your expectations, visions, and dreams are not your goals. If you wish to learn a new language someday, that is your dream. If you see yourself fluently speaking multiple foreign languages, that is your vision. If you think you’re capable of learning a new language, that is your expectation.

    However, if you aim to fulfill these visions, dreams, and expectations practically, that is your goal.

    Why Is Goal Setting Important?

    Why should you bother with goal setting at all? Wouldn’t it be more convenient to just get on with your daily objectives, follow a dream or vision, and let life take you wherever?

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    While that road can feel exciting and spontaneous, if you actually want to tick off things from your list of goals to achieve, learning how to set goals is necessary.

    Being committed to a goal puts your brain to work in one specific direction. Believe it or not, by having a defined goal, your brain does its magic unconsciously, 24/7, with full efficiency, to achieve the desired results[2].

    Goal setting is important to shift your focus, boost your motivation, and give you a sense of direction. Without formally defining a particular aim that you want to reach, you won’t be able to keep your objectives in line.

    Hence, this one tiny step can end up saving you a lot of hassle and time while also encouraging your productivity.

    Types of Goals

    Before we move onto the technique of setting effective goals, we need to first take a look at all types of goals in this goal setting tips guide.

    These categories will not just help you brainstorm new one for yourself, but it will also guide you to list them down in the right way.

    Time-Based

    One of the two broad categories of goals is based on time. These goals define how far in the future you want to achieve them.

    Daily

    There are certain smaller goals that you can easily achieve in a day or two. In fact, some of these daily goals can be recurring, too. For example, you may want to run for an hour every morning.

    Now, these daily goals can also serve as objectives for a long-term goal. You may be running every day because, in the long-term, you want to increase your stamina.

    Daily goals are highly effective for people who want to improve their mental wellbeing, time management skills, and stress management.

    Short-Term

    Next in line are short-term goals. As you would have already guessed, goal setting in this area is aimed at the near future.

    The great thing about these is that they are generally easier to achieve. This is because short-term goals are set for the foreseeable future. You are aware of the circumstances and have a general idea of how much the situation can change.

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    Just like daily goals, short-term goals may also serve as objectives for a long-term goal. Your short-term goal may be to lose 5 pounds in one month. That could be a goal in itself, or maybe it is just one objective to fulfill your goal to adopt a healthy lifestyle in the next two years.

    Another example of a short-term goal is to fulfill the checklist for promotion within the next 6 months. Or, you may want to reduce your screen time within the coming week.

    Long-Term

    Lastly, we have long-term goals that are meant to be completed over a stretched period.

    Whatever you want to achieve in a later stage of life is a long-term goal. An insurance plan, for example, is a long-term goal.

    Some long-term goals don’t have any time frame at all. They are goals that you want to accomplish at some point in your life. So, something like traveling the whole world is a lifelong goal with no specific time constraint at all.

    There’s one thing about long-term goals that isn’t great.

    They are the hardest to keep up with since you’re not seeing any huge achievements regularly. This may take a toll on your motivation. To tackle this problem, it is best to divide a long-term goal into various, short-term and daily objectives so that you’re always tracking the progress you’re making.

    Life-Based

    Moving forward, you can also start goal setting based on the results you want to achieve instead of the time period.

    Career

    Like most people, you will likely want to succeed and excel in your career. Anything that has to do with this intention, regardless of the time frame, is a career goal. These are usually measurable goals, such as receiving a promotion within two years, finding a job at a certain company within the next six months, etc.

    You can learn more about how to set successful career goals here.

    Personal

    The past few years have all been about emphasizing your personal health. So, when it comes to goals, how can we forget the ones that have to do with our personal gains?

    From health to finances to relationships, everything that brings you happiness and composure as a person is a personal goal. It’s important that these are realistic and attainable goals for your life.

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    Whether you want to get rid of your debt, quit smoking, start a side hustle, have children, or travel the world, all of these goals are personal and very important to have on your list.

    How to Set Goals

    The best way to guarantee the fulfillment of goals is to set them the right way.

    1. Use SMART Goals

    Every goal you define has to be SMART[3].

    SMART stands for:

    • Specific
    • Measurable
    • Attainable
    • Relevant
    • Time-Bound

    In summary, your specific goals should be very well defined. They shouldn’t be generic or broad, and every detail should be clarified as you’re goal setting. 

    If you want to start running, how often do you want to do it? How long will each session be? For how long will you continue this habit?

    There has to be a connection between your goals and beliefs or you’ll never be able to achieve the results you want. Most importantly, do not be unrealistic. You cannot learn to fly, and forcing yourself to try is only going to demotivate and stress you out.

    2. Prioritize Your Goals

    As you’re looking into how to write goals for the next month or year, it’s likely you’ll come up with more than one. In this case, it’s important to prioritize which are the most important or the ones that have the tightest deadline. This is going to be subjective, as only you know which goals will have the most impact on your life.

    3. Think of Those Around You

    As you’re working on goal setting, keep your loved ones in mind. You may have a partner, children, or employees that depend on you, and you should take them into consideration with your goals. For example, if you set a goal to travel to 10 different countries in the next two years, how will this affect your children?

    If you want to lose 30 pounds this year, is there something your partner can do to support you? S/he will need to be made aware of this before you set off on your weight loss journey.

    4. Take Action

    Setting goals is the first step, but in order to be successful, you have to follow this with action. If you set goals but never act on them, they become dreams. Create an action plan laying out the steps you need to take each day or week in order to achieve your big and small goals.

    You can also check out Lifehack’s free guide: The Dreamers’ Guide for Taking Action and Making Goals Happen. This helpful guide will push you to take action on your goals, so check it out today!

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    5. Don’t Forget the Bigger Picture

    Most people refer to the big picture as their vision. Whether it is the long-term result or the connection of the goal with your desire, keep it in mind to keep yourself from getting distracted.

    You can learn more about creating a vision for your life here.

    I also recommend you to watch this video to learn 7 strategies to set goals effectively:

    How to Reach Your Goals

    You can ensure your progress by following some foolproof tactics. The use of relevant helpful tools can also keep you on the right track.

    Tactics

    One rookie mistake that most people make is that they work on too many goals simultaneously. Create an action plan and focus on one thing at a time.

    Divide your goal into smaller, easily achievable tasks. Taking it one step at a time makes it much easier. However, do not break them down too much. For example, for long-term goals, you should go for weekly checkpoints instead of daily ones.

    Also, keep track of your progress. This will keep you motivated to work harder.

    Tools

    With so many categories of goals and so many aims, it is almost impossible to remember, let alone work, on all of them.

    Luckily, numerous goal tracker apps will help you keep track of your goals, as well as your plan to achieve every single one. Have at least one installed in your smartphone so that your plan is always within reach.

    The Bottom Line

    In conclusion, using a goal setting tips guide is not rocket science. All that it takes is strong will power along with all the knowledge that you’ve learned so far.

    Try out the tactics and goals setting tips mentioned above to be able to set successful goals so that you can achieve the life that you want!

    More Tips on Achieving Success

    Featured photo credit: Danielle MacInnes via unsplash.com

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    Reference

    [1] Smart Insights: The difference between marketing objectives and marketing goals?
    [2] Confluence: Goal Setting Theory
    [3] University of California: SMART Goals: A How-To Guide

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