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Last Updated on January 25, 2021

How to Be Determined and Achieve Your Goals

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How to Be Determined and Achieve Your Goals

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 September 27, 2021

8 Reasons Why Goal Setting Is Important to a Fulfilling Life

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8 Reasons Why Goal Setting Is Important to a Fulfilling Life

The importance of effective goal setting cannot be overstated on our personal journeys towards success. This is why there are countless articles out there on how to set your own SMART goals and even why it’s a skill commonly taught to a small degree in classrooms.

Learning the importance of goal setting and the benefits of sticking to those goals can be the defining factor determining whether we truly embrace the importance of goal setting. The more willing we are to embrace this method, the more likely we become to reach our personal definitions of personal and professional success.

Thus, this article is going to walk you through some of the benefits you’ll see from learning to set goals for yourself and answer the question — why is goal setting important?

1. Goals Guide and Align Our Focus

It’s hard to get to where you want to be in life if you don’t know what you’re aiming for. Some people believe avoiding goals means living a more care-free life. How many times have you heard the phrase “If I have no expectations, then I can’t be disappointed”?

But is that really what our lives have come to? Living just to avoid disappointment? It doesn’t seem like an overly optimistic view in my opinion. And since you’re reading this article, I’m willing to bet that you agree with me.

Without goals, we lack a degree of direction and focus. Sure you may be able to avoid disappointment, but just avoiding disappointment doesn’t mean you are necessarily happy.

Without goals, we will pointlessly waste our time, energy, and efforts. Listen to anybody who is the top of their field and they’ll tell you something like this,

“Yes talent is important, but often your success depends much more on what you decide to do with that talent.”

And what you will do with your talent largely depends on your focus.

Your goals give you direction. Your goals give you something to shoot for. This direction and target you create in your mind will help you to progress towards your main life goals rather than simply wander around aimlessly. These goals will help you align your actions and behaviors as you continue moving forward.

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So, why is goal setting important? Because it gives you direction, alignment, and purpose!

2. Goals Help You Avoid ‘Shiny Object Syndrome’

Basically, shiny object syndrome is always being in pursuit of the next big thing, constantly switching your goals based on what you feel is most fun and interesting at the given moment, but never actually giving yourself time to accomplish any of those goals.

You don’t get anywhere because you continually change the direction you are heading in. This is one of the consequences that may result if you decide to live a life without goals.

Your goals can sometimes help you to create mental barriers, or blinders, that help you to remain focused on what you think is important and avoid the things that are second priority. When you outline goals for yourself, you are better able to avoid things that distract you from achieving and accomplishing those goals.

Setting goals helps you to step around the other shiny objects because you’ve taken the time to make some mental notes that remind you what it is that you want from your life. Your goals act as subconscious deterrents to anything less than your main priorities. This is what helps you to reach your personal definition of success.

So, why is goal setting important? Because not only do goals tell you what you want from life, but they also help you realize what you need to give up and avoid to achieve that.

3. Goals Turn Our Largest Goals into Manageable Steps

A lot of us have big hopes and dreams. It’s one of the things that make our lives exciting!

But a lot of us never take the time to figure out how we can effectively get from point A to point B. So, sadly, we never fully achieve those goals. We look at our dreams and convince ourselves that only a select few people ever achieve them, so we write ourselves off as people not meant to reach that level of success. Looking at the end product of a goal can be intimidating, daunting, and discourage us from even pursuing them.

Thankfully, goal setting helps us break large intimidating goals into smaller ones. These small steps and more achievable goals will help us to build momentum and will encourage us to keep working towards the next phase of our goal. The form the foundation from which we can begin building the life that we truly hope to have for ourselves, our families, and may even for our communities depending on how big your goals are!

Whenever I get talking about this aspect of goal setting, I can’t help but think about the mountain climbing analogy, and that the easiest way to climb a mountain is simply step by step.

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So, why is goal setting important? Goal setting gives you a list of manageable steps that you can take in order to take your life from where it is now to where you want it to go both effectively and efficiently.

4. Goals Encourage You to Take Action

This builds on the last benefit of goal setting. Not only does effective goal setting help you break down your larger goals into smaller, more manageable ones, but it also encourages you to actually begin taking action on those goals. After all, a plan is completely worthless if you aren’t willing to invest the effort required to execute it.

Setting your goals and putting your plan in place motivates you to begin taking action towards achieving them. These goals give you something to plan and work towards. Essentially, they help propel you forward.

What I like to do is write out and place my goals somewhere that I’ll regularly see them. This constantly serves as a reminder of my top priorities. It allows me to focus on taking small progressive actions towards achieving these goals daily.

This ensures that I don’t fall into the trap of setting a goal, beginning to work towards it for a while, but then having my motivation fade resulting in me falling off track. This is exactly what many people see happen when it comes to their “New Year’s Resolutions.”

If you want to learn about how to take action towards achieving your goal, here’s how: How To Take Action Towards Your Goals Right Now

So, why is goal setting important? Because goal setting actually motivates you to stop thinking about your goals and actually get out there and achieve them!

5. Goal Setting Helps You Continually Improve

This is something that a lot of personal development and self-improvement writers talk about, continual improvement. For those of you who are not aware of the term, continual improvement is exactly what it sounds like — taking small steps towards improvement as frequently as you can to develop into the person you want to become.

What’s the point in improving a little bit each day if you’re not improving in the areas that you want to improve in after all?

The goals that you define for yourself will inevitably shape you into the person who you want to become. They’ll shape your character. Your goals can help you measure your progress as you strive for this type of development.

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Essentially, having goals helps you determine where you started, where you are now, and how much further you need to go. In this manner, your goal setting can serve as milestones and benchmarks that help you determine how well you’re progressing towards your most important goals!

So, why is goal setting important? Goal setting helps you make improvements each day that will slowly transition you into the person you want to become.

6. Goal Setting Keeps You Accountable

Not only does setting goals help you measure your progress, but it also is a means through which you can keep yourself accountable. Too many goals fail because they lack this crucial aspect of outlining accountability.

For example, if I have the goal to do 50 push-ups, that’s great. Most people would support that goal. However, this goal lacks accountability. When do I want to accomplish this goal by and what steps do I take to get there? These are important questions that the original goal leaves unanswered.

A much more descriptive and specific goal could be to do 50 push-ups within the next 3 months by starting at 5 push-ups, and then adding 5 each week. This goal outlines the deadline as well as the steps I’m going to take to achieve it. This plan will keep me accountable because if I fail to retain my progression schedule, I will know that I’m not going to achieve the goal on time.

Additionally, it can serve as a marker helping to signify when something is impeding my progress that I may not have initially accounted for. This tells me that I need to re-evaluate what I’m doing and figure out what adjustments I can make to facilitate my success.

So, why is goal setting important? Setting goals is key to keeping ourselves accountable and on-track towards accomplishing our goals according to the schedules and deadlines we set for ourselves.

7. Goals Make You Feel Good

Trust me, the progress you feel as you set and achieve goals can become super motivating and super addicting (in a good way)! The dopamine release you get from achieving your goals is like a little reward for our brains that continually motivates us to try and hit that next goal!

Having some clearly defined goals will help you to feel better about yourself and your life in general, especially when you stick to those goals, actively work towards achieving them, and end up accomplishing and surpassing your initial expectations. I’m not the oldest book on the shelf myself, but I can attest that there are not many feelings quite like the one you experience when you truly get on a roll!

Additionally, our goals give us an endpoint to shoot for. Rather than progress for progress’s sake, you can actually see where you’re heading! That’s so much more rewarding. Think about a long car trip as a kid. You ask “if you’re there yet?” ever 20 minutes. It seems like the drive drags on forever.

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If you don’t know where you’re going, you risk the journey becoming tedious. It doesn’t tend to be much fun wandering around aimlessly. Goals make us feel good about where we’re directing ourselves.

So, why is goal setting important? Because setting goals and accomplishing them plain and simply make us feel better about ourselves and our lives!

8. Goals Help You Live Your Best Life

I’ve talked a lot in this article about how goal setting helps us progress towards our top priorities and live the way we truly want to live. So I think it’s fit to end the article with this goal because, in the end, I feel it’s the most important one.

Setting your goals and clearly defining what they mean to you will help you live a life that is tailored to your beliefs and values. Your life will become directed towards the things that you most want to achieve.

Life is a tricky game and only in very rare circumstances are things handed to us on a silver platter. Often it takes a great degree of work, planning, and effortful execution of both.

There is no point clinging on to things in your life if they don’t bring you happiness or help you accomplish something that, in some way, aligns with your goals.

Simply put, setting goals helps us live a life that allows us to pursue the challenges and rewards that we truly want to achieve.

So, why is goal setting important? Because our time is always limited, and setting clearly defined goals can help ensure that you make the most of your life and live to the fullest! Find out more here: How to Use SMART Goal to Become Highly Successful in Life

Final Thoughts

These are just a few of the benefits of goal setting that outline why it truly is so important. If you take a moment or two, I bet that you can even think of a few more benefits yourself that you could add to this list.

If I could leave you with something, it would be this:

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Goal setting has the potential to take us to some amazing places in life because we all have talent and ambitions. To achieve your biggest dreams, you need to be willing to sit down and create a life design uniquely tailored to you that will help you achieve them!

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Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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