Every year, millions set goals and only a fraction of those millions cross the finish line. Learning how to properly set goals will enable you to live your dream life.
If you’ve been having issues creating and staying with your goals, you’ve come to the right place.
Below you’ll find everything you need to know about creating, setting, and achieving any goal you have in mind. Together we’ll create a plan that will set you down the path of success.
If you’re ready to begin goal setting right, let’s get started.
Table of Contents
What Is Goal Setting?
Goal setting is when you have a desire in mind and then plan to achieve that task. You’re going to need to create a plan for any significant dream or vision you hope to accomplish. When you set goals the right way, you’re formulating a plan for success. You will have to get out of your comfort zone, but that’s how you become the best you.
To begin your plan for success, keep these steps in mind:
Choose small, easily achievable goals. Quitting coffee for one day a week; or waking up 30 minutes earlier than normal each day. Once you’ve built a habit of setting and achieving small goals, you’ll be ready to tackle bigger obstacles like a career change or getting into shape.
Find Your Life’s Purpose
Set a Specific Date
Set a specific date when you want to achieve your long-term goals. You don’t need to achieve your goals on an arbitrary day, but you must create meaningful deadlines so you feel obligated to work hard every day.
Why Is Goal Setting Important?
Effective goal setting creates unshakeable confidence that will propel you forward through life. You’ll start the snowball effect, and your short-term goals will lead to your long-term goals which lead you to success. When you plan for your future, you’ll be able to tangibly realize the fruits of your labor.
It’s hard to create goals when you don’t have a clear vision of what you want in mind. When you force yourself to set goals, you’re talking to your inner being and questioning what it is you truly want out of life. Living with purpose makes it easier to continue pushing forward every day.
Utilizing the proper goal-setting process gives you the tools you need to achieve your dreams and desires.
Check out Why Goal Setting Is Important to a Fulfilling Life for more proof of the incredible power of goal setting.
Give You Feedback
Once you start setting goals, you’ll be able to understand yourself better. Unless you’re living inside of your dream, it’s going to be difficult knowing if that’s where your true desires lie. When you’re setting goals and accomplishing them, you’re getting intimate feedback from your inner self.
You’ll start understanding what it is you truly want out of life. Until you start experiencing life, it won’t be so straightforward what your true dreams are.
Help You Avoid the ‘Shiny Object Syndrome’
Shiny object syndrome is getting distracted from one idea to the next. It can stifle your growth significantly. If you don’t have the proper mindset, it will be hard to see your goals through until the end.
Setting multiple goals is healthy, but you won’t be able to achieve any of them if you’re getting distracted from your initial focus.
Trying to achieve too many things at once will lead to confusion and burnout. Stick with what’s most important to you.
Why People Fail to Reach Their Goals
There are 3 main reasons why people fail to reach their goals. The good news is, whether you currently fall into one, two, or even all three categories, you can put the following solutions into action right now.
1. Not Picking the Right Goal
If you don’t choose the right goals you’ll end up becoming frustrated due to a lack of progress or lack the enthusiasm to stay motivated.
You’re picking the wrong type of goals if they are:
- Not in line with your life goals
- Aren’t motivating or inspiring.
- Too big and overwhelming.
Choose a goal that is possible to achieve. Having ambitious goals is a good thing, but wanting to become an astronaut is highly unlikely. Pick a goal that you could see yourself striving for every day that is realistic. You won’t have any trouble staying motivated when you’re inspired and your goals have a purpose.
2. Failed to Plan
It’s easy to get disappointed fast when we’ve all become addicted to instant gratification.
While we’re used to getting things at a push of a button, the reality is that long-term life goals are just that, long! You’ll need to plan every step accordingly so that you know which direction you’re headed in.
3. Not Taking Action Consistently
Your goals will remain goals if you fail to take the action required to achieve them.
People who don’t take action to achieve their goals might suffer from:
- Procrastination — failing to set a goal or continue the necessary work.
- Analysis paralysis — needing everything to be perfect before starting.
- Lack of commitment — just doing what’s easy and convenient; not tackling the hard stuff.
- Excuses — blaming external factors for lack of progress.
- Unable to handle failure — easily gives up if failure or mistakes are encountered.
- Results-oriented thinking — putting all the focus on the results rather than the process
Taking small actions every day will have a compounding effect. Going for a 30-minute walk in a single day might seem pointless, but going for a walk every day will lead to drastic changes in your appearance. If you’re having difficulty staying consistent, try to aim for a few performance goals that you can follow through on each day.
Banking small wins will give you the confidence to continue on your path of success.
All you need is to stop procrastinating and take your first step. The FREE Fast-Track Class – No More Procrastination can help you.
Do You Need A Lot Of Willpower To Achieve Your Goal?
Willpower isn’t a necessary element to achieve your goal and it’s a mistake that many people fall into. Your aim is not to dig deep and muster up the same willpower a mother needs to save her child from under a burning car. You’re looking for a combination of motivation, consistency, and willpower that will help you to set realistic goals.
A classic example of overexerting willpower is college students studying for finals. In the final week leading to it, students muster up all of their willpower to study and find that everything immediately collapses. Students will eat anything that they can find, pick up smoking to destress, and many are fine with sitting in their sweatpants all day.
Seeing as willpower isn’t all it’s cracked up to be, what you need is a solid system that keeps you focused and motivated throughout a challenging process. Here are some things to consider:
Delve Into Choice Architecture
The idea behind this is that choice architecture is stronger than sheer willpower. If you are trying to eat healthily, the first thing to do is deal with cravings. This means clearing out your fridge and cupboards of anything that will take you away from that goal. Replace junk food with healthier options. Buy more fruit instead of candy and chocolate. Buy more vegetables rather than popcorn or crackers.
Build the Essentials For Success
This allows you to find the motivation you need to push yourself forward. This can be done in various ways like delving into your past or trying new hobbies.
Be open to changes. Willpower is still an essential piece, but it’s not the only thing that you need to find success. Consider that you might not know everything. It will make it easier when you have a setback and need to reflect on what went wrong.
Incorporate Methods To Boost Willpower And Other Aspects
. Knowing what you’ve accomplished will give you evidence that you’ve been successful in the past. When you start doubting yourself, take a look at the progress you’ve made.
Get Tough. Your determination to overcome tough spots in life is vital when it comes to setting goals. You’ll hit roadblocks and your willpower is what will get you through hard times.
Forgive yourself and learn from mistakes. Being able to forgive yourself will allow you to move forward quicker. When you aren’t hindering your own progress by feeling sorry for yourself, you’ll be able to accomplish your goals much easier.
Your Ultimate Solution for Goal Setting
In this section, you’ll learn the steps of achieving and succeeding when goal setting.
Set SMARTER Goals
1. Understand What You Truly Want to Achieve
Aim to understand what types of goals you’d like to achieve.
To do this, you can use the 5 Whys framework to dig deep into your desires. The purpose of this framework is to be asking yourself the question “why?” five times. Every single time you ask why you’re getting to the source of why you started goal setting in the first place.
Let’s say your initial want is to ‘make more money.’
Can you now see the clear difference between the initial want and the true purpose at the end? In this example, you thought you wanted more money; but in reality, what you truly want is for your family to be happy. While making more money and getting a big house could do that, how you treat your family and the time you spend with them are key elements too.
2. Set a SMART Goal
Set SMART goals and start accomplishing significant personal goals.
- Specific – What is the direction and meaning of the goal I’m pursuing?
Example: I want to lose 50 pounds.
- Measurable – Will the goal be able to be measured?
Example: Every week I will weigh in and measure my progress.
- Attainable – Is the goal realistic?
Example: I have spare time and money to devote to losing weight.
- Relevant – Does the goal align with my inner self?
Example: Yes, I want to look good during the summer.
- Time-Bound – When will the goal need to be met?
Example: I have a year to lose 50 pounds.
The above is a great example of SMART goal setting that will get you started on creating a successful plan. You want to have every step written down before you start your life-changing mission. Being efficient when planning your goals will make it easier to accomplish them.
Ultimately a SMARTER goal is something that has an added incentive to do it. To get further details on setting SMARTER goals, download The Dreamers’ Guide to Reaching Your Goal below to help you get there.
2. Plan Your Goal
Start with Milestones
Goal setting starts to have a real impact when you see your hard-earned work turn into results. Setting milestones will help you to achieve your goals. To create a milestone it has to meet the following criteria:
- It’s challenging
- It can be completed within the span of a month
- It’s concrete
— Break down your plan into milestones. These will be bite-sized steps that once completed you can check off on your way to completing your long-term goal.
Create a backup plan in case any milestones fail — You should have a back-up plan in case life gets in the way.
You might find the following quick example helpful:
Let’s say that your goal is to get a new job. You could map out this goal using a plan such as this one:
- Decide what kind of job you’re looking for
- Scope out potential employers
- Start submitting applications
- Continue applying every day
- First interview
- Put in your 2 weeks
- Celebrate your new job!
When you have a plan like this, you’ll quickly be able to start ticking off items from your list, which will encourage you and motivate you to keep going until the finish line.
If you want to achieve your goals you need to focus on taking the right actions. Your actions should have:
- Intention – Why you are doing something.
- Value – The benefits that this task is bringing you.
- Cost – What you have to give up or invest to achieve that value.
Have A Reward System
is going to make it easier to achieve your goals. When you’re seeing the results you want and getting to celebrate them, it’ll be easier to continue creating bigger and more impactful goals.
- Every time you complete a milestone, reward yourself
- Ensure that the rewards are proportionate to the milestone. IE: If you applied for a job that doesn’t mean you should buy yourself an expensive suit.
Schedule The Tasks
But despite all the planning done, remember that plans can still fall short. Planning around Planner’s fallacy means ensuring that you have a back-up plan in mind and are open to the idea of reviewing and making adjustments to your milestones or plans should you fail. One other consideration to consider is to download The Foolproof Guide to Reaching Goal This Year below. In it, we share more plans to consider to reach your goals.
Don’t Get Stuck in Planning Fallacy!
Plans don’t always go according to plan. Don’t get stuck trying to force your plan, go with the flow.
The issue is that when you put together a plan, you can become stubborn when your plan changes. Here is how you can avoid it:
- Don’t immediately doubt yourself
You’re better off making two big assumptions: we have some inability to plan properly, and we’re blind to it.
- Pay attention to your track record
Overconfidence is one of the roadblocks you can face when planning. When you have hard data about what you’re capable of accomplishing, you won’t plan for something that you can’t achieve.
- Deal with uncertainty
- Worse-case planning: As the saying goes “plan for the worst” this is all about determining the worst possible scenario and figuring out how to overcome it.
- Flexible-planning: Instead of focusing on the result, you’re putting more focus on the actions that get you to the results.
3. Act on Your Goal
The third step is to follow through on your goal setting. With a plan, it should be pretty clear cut, but consider the following things to make acting on your goals much easier:
Start Small And Schedule
There are all kinds of tools and methods to help you schedule tasks. Just be sure that they align with the milestones you’ve planned.
Here’re some options for you:
Review Progress Consistently
Make it a weekly activity to review your progress. If you’ve made a small step towards your goal, celebrate it through your reward system. If you didn’t, consider what you need to do to make sure you’re staying on track.
Create An Environment That Helps Your Goal
If you’re in an environment that hinders your success, you have to think of ways to change your environment. Things like cleaning your desk, letting more natural light in, being around different people could be what you need to get your mind into focus.
Imagine this scenario:
You have a goal to lose 20lb of weight in the next 6 months.
If you tried to get fit without a road map, then you’d probably fail to achieve your aim.
However, by getting your environment right, such as by only stocking healthy food in your home, you’ll give yourself the best chance of success.
Add to that making yourself accountable — perhaps by getting your partner on board with your goal — and you’ll start to find the motivation you need.
If you keep reviewing your progress and reward yourself every time you hit one of your incremental targets, then you’ll have everything you need to help you reach your weight loss goal.
But this is only the tip of the iceberg for consistency. You can run into other problems with consistency such as:
- Your dreams aren’t your own – You might be taking on your social circle’s dreams or your parents. When this happens, it’s going to be hard to stay consistent.
- You may feel overwhelmed with your dream – Chasing a dream is a huge undertaking because it can be mentally taxing. Trying to become a famous singer can lead to disappointment due to it being unrealistic. On the flip side, having a goal to create music every week is going to drive you in the same direction but without the unneeded stress of becoming famous.
- You have a cluttered mind and no organization – Organization of your mind and your space is key to thriving. If you’re easily distracted or suffer from an unclear mind, take a few moments to take deep breaths throughout the day or meditate to center yourself.
- You’re lacking a why – Why do you want to pursue this goal? Why be consistent with this habit? Knowing the answers to those questions is critical to be consistent. Not only that, but you need to have a great reason (or more) to keep at it.
Practice, Practice, Practice
While the SMARTER goal system can be a great way to set goals, this is only the start of your story.
It’s here where deliberate practice can shine.
Before deliberate practice, you have naive practice and purposeful practice.
Naive practice is where most people are at and it satisfies the following conditions:
- You treat your goal like a hobby where it’s something you do once in a while.
- When you practice, the scale of the challenge is low. You raise the bar in small increments or you continue to perform the same thing. For example, you may be playing the same song on an instrument or writing the same form of article.
For purposeful practice you have to:
- Tailor your goal to something more specific. For example, instead of practicing the same song constantly, add a layer of challenge to it. Say you’ll play the song multiple times in a row without making a single mistake.
- Develop a strategy to help you achieve your objective.
- Have a clear and concise reason to push yourself.
To be someone who deliberately practices, you have to:
- Satisfy the previous conditions of purposeful practice
- Ensure the practice you’re doing is in a performance-based field. I.e. The field that you’re practicing has a clear distinction between those who are experts and those who are novices.
- Have a system or mentor to guide you
For further ideas to make things happen, grab the Make It Happen handbook to condition your mind for action.
4. Stick With Your Set Goals
Create a Solid Accountability System
An accountability system is a solid way to ensure you are committed to working towards your set goals. It’s an extra incentive to be performing your best. Examples of additional accountability are things like giving people or yourself updates on your progress, recognizing progress, and celebrating.
Find an Accountability Partner
Having an accountability partner provides an extra incentive as the ideal partner will encourage you to stay motivated and focus on your set goals.
You can also add another layer of challenge by involving money. Paying a trusted friend at the end of the week if you don’t hit your goal is a great incentive to perform.
Setting goals and making them happen are the keys that unlock the doors to health, wealth, and happiness.
If you want to succeed in goal setting, be sure to follow the tips listed in this guide and start taking action today!