We’re all guilty of setting new year’s resolutions that we don’t keep or forget about by February 1st. Many times our goals aren’t achieved because we didn’t set ourselves up for proper success.
Goals are not just words we put out into the universe, we have to be intentional and specific about what we are trying to achieve. There’s a ton of different kinds of goals we can set, too, it’s not a one-size-fits-all type of process. For example, you can set goals for your career, relationships, finances, personal development, or even your spirituality.
Read on for 7 steps to setting goals you can ACTUALLY achieve this month, in 6 months, or this year!
1. Think about the results you want to see
Before you set a goal, take a closer look at what you’re trying to achieve and ask yourself the following questions:
Is this goal something you truly want?
Is it important enough to pour hours of time and effort into it?
If you’re not willing to put in the time, it may not be worth pursuing.
If you sit down and create a long list of goals to pursue all at once, you may struggle to try to achieve even just one of them. Instead, use the questions above to determine which goals matter the most to you right now, and then focus on those few.
2. Create SMART goals
So now that you have a few things you really want to accomplish, let's make sure your goals are SMART.
SMART goals are:
The "S" in SMART is the most important part of the puzzle. Make your goal specific so you can clearly track your progress and know whether you're meeting your goal or need to make adjustments along the way.
For example, many people set goals to lose weight, but they don’t always decide how much weight they want to lose and when they want to lose the weight by (a specific date). A specific goal would be “I want to lose 25 pounds by the Fourth of July.” Being specific doesn't make goal-setting harder, it actually works in your favor!
3. Write your goals down
This sounds kind of obvious. But you'd be surprised how many people don't write down their goals.
When you write down your goals, they become real and concrete. It's no longer an idea of what you want to achieve, it's visible and honest.
By keeping the written goal in a place where you see it every day, it stays top of mind. The daily reminder should be positive reinforcement that you CAN DO THIS!
4. Create an action plan
Goals don't get accomplished out of thin air. There are always several steps that need to be taken to get your result. It doesn't matter how many steps there are, but you must create a plan with the steps that map out how you will get to your goal.
Remember, setting and achieving goals should be fun and exciting! Create a map of all of your steps in the style of a treasure map or a flowchart. Use your favorite colors or materials to map out your process. Create a physical copy and even make a digital copy that you can save to your devices.
5. Create a timeline
As part of your action plan that we just discussed, use a timeline maker to help visualize roles, tasks, milestones, and deadlines to achieve your goal.
Once you’ve set dates, try really hard to stick to them as closely as possible. A timeline attached to the steps in your process creates a sense of urgency, which in turn motivates you to stay on schedule and finish your goal. Heck yeah!
If you're looking to keep a digital log of your action plan and timeline, here are some great free tools you can try:
Google Calendar - I don't think I have to explain this tool! :)
Google Keep - With Google Keep, you can create, share, and collaborate with people on notes and lists. Keep synchronizes across all your devices, so your notes and lists go with you, wherever you are.
Trello - Trello is a collaboration tool that organizes your projects into boards. In one glance, Trello tells you what's being worked on, who's working on what, and where something is in a process.
Asana - Asana is an online team collaboration tool that specializes in workflow management. It’s a flexible and elegant tool that you can bend to your will for tasks and workflow management. Asana project management's new timeline view feature makes it easier to manage dependencies.
Lucidchart - Lucidchart is a web-based proprietary platform that allows users to collaborate on drawing, revising, and sharing charts and diagrams.
Gloomaps.com - GlooMaps, a simple and fast online site mapping tool. Create and build a visual sitemap, add content and share with others. Planning made easy!
6. Take action
Time to move and groove!
Now that you’ve planned everything out, it’s time to crush your goal(s). You didn’t go through all that work just to forget about your goal(s). Every step that you take should lead to another until you accomplish your goal(s).
7. Re-evaluate and assess your progress
You need to keep your motivation strong to complete your goal. I know this is much easier said than done, but it really does take inner-strength (which is inside all of us).
Think about having an accountability partner or creating a weekly check-in for yourself to see where you are on your action plan and timeline for completion. Once you see how close the finish line is, you’ll feel more motivated to push through to the end. If you're a little behind schedule, make some tweaks and keep swimming!
So that's that! Remember you can set goals of all kinds. Not all goals have to be about personal progress. You can set goals with your family, your partner, your friends, co-workers, etc.
So then you can walk up to your best friend like CeeCee did to Jess and say,
"Nailed it!" -->