The goals you set can have a major impact on your life. You may not realize it, but goals actually play a huge role in how successful and happy you become.
Setting goals to work towards sounds like a pretty straightforward task. However, as you may already know, following them and achieving them can prove to be surprisingly difficult.
With this post, I want to give you some ideas for how to set goals that you can actually achieve, rather than large lofty goals that you may eventually give up on.
“If you want to be happy, set a goal that commands your thoughts, liberates your energy and inspires your hopes.”Andrew Carnegie
5 Reasons Why It’s Important to Set Goals for Yourself
When you set goals, you’re setting yourself up to live a more intentional life. You have a plan that leads you closer to success with each mini-goal that you complete with it.
Here are a few ways that goal-driven decision-making influences your journey to your dream life.
Helps you to live with intention
Goals are a great way to help you to live with intention. Why is this important? Because living with intention helps you to become more proactive.
When you don’t set goals, you’ll typically find you lead a more reactive lifestyle. That is, you will spend your time reacting to the situations you’re placed in, and the events which occur, rather than controlling them.
So, if you’re looking to take control of your life and better focus on the things you want, setting goals is crucial.
“In absence of clearly defined goals, we become strangely loyal to performing daily acts of trivia.“Unknown
Keeps you accountable
Setting goals can also make you more accountable. Have you ever noticed at the start of January, gyms get full up pretty quickly? Then, once the end of January comes, they tend to empty out again. This is because the motivation you initially have to achieve your goals does fade pretty quickly.
When you’re determined to meet your goals and provided you set small, measurable goals, it really does help to keep you accountable. You’ll teach the mind to become more focused and to keep going even when that initial motivation has died down. This is a great skill to develop and it all starts with goal setting!
Helps you to become more successful
All successful people have one thing in common – goal setting. Talk to anyone who has achieved what they want in life and you’ll quickly see it’s all about creating and sticking to your goals.
After all, how can you possibly achieve success if you don’t know what you’re aiming towards? Once you’ve got goals, you’ll be able to measure your progress and make adjustments if required to ensure you meet them.
Increases the chances of fulfilling your dreams
You’re not going to be able to fulfill your dreams if you don’t know what steps you need to take to get there. Setting goals helps you to see your future more clearly.
It also ensures you have the most control over how your life turns out. Rather than letting life decide what it is you’ll achieve, you’re making the decision over how it will be.
This can be incredibly empowering and help you to fulfill your dreams much quicker than you would without any goals.
“In all things that you do, consider the end.”Solon
Boosts your motivation
Did you know that goals can be a great way to foster your motivation? While staying motivated to achieve their goals is something many people struggle with, this is usually down to the fact that they’ve set the goals too big.
When you break down your goals into smaller, more achievable steps, it actually helps to keep you motivated throughout. Every time you tick off a goal that you’ve set, it increases your motivation to aim towards the next one and so on.
Improving your motivation can help you in all areas of your life. So, if you’re looking to improve your motivation, focusing on proper goal setting can really help.
6 Tips for Setting Attainable Goals
Hopefully, by now, you’re convinced that you need to set some goals! However, if you want to maximize your chances of actually sticking with and achieving those goals, you need to take a look at your approach to goal setting.
Following through with your goals, especially lengthy ones, may be tough if you aren’t able to experience results as quickly as you’d like.
There are a lot of mistakes you can make with goal setting that can unintentionally sabotage your chances of success. Use the 6 tactics below to approach goal setting to create goals that you’ll actually achieve.
Break up your overall goal into smaller goals
One of the key mistakes you can make when setting goals is making them too big or too challenging. While your goals should still push you to grow, they shouldn’t be so far out of reach that you’ll lose interest or motivation before you can complete them.
One way to make this easier is to break this goal down into smaller, more easily achievable goals. That way you’ll be able to start checking off progress towards your end goal more quickly and regularly, which increases your chances of actually seeing your goal through to the end.
“A goal without a plan is just a wish.”Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
Create measurable goals
Have a basic expectation for how you’ll feel or what tangible, physical result is available once you reach each mini-goal and your end goal. This is something that makes you really feel like you’ve made progress as you work to achieve your end goal.
If your goal doesn’t end with a clear feeling or physical evidence, try using a checklist or journal to write down the progress and outcome you’re experiencing as you go. This will create a way for you to see the results of your goal.
Set hyper-specific goals
Make your goals as specific as possible. The vaguer they are, the less likely you are to feel like you’re making progress, which means you’ll probably feel less motivated to continue.
It’s also pretty difficult to stay focused on a vague goal. Your mind needs to know exactly what steps need to be taken.
Take your overall goal – let’s use losing weight for an example – and break it down into more specific, smaller goals, such as eating certain meals or exercising for a set number of days each week.
Make a commitment to your goals
Whatever goals you choose to work towards, you’re going to need to make a commitment to stick to them. Do everything you can to achieve each goal that you set.
Start by writing your goals down first, then come up with an action plan to achieve them. Remember to make your goals small and specific for the best chances of success!
It’s also important to realize that you’re not going to see overnight success. Committing to your goals is a long-term process that needs continuous work.
This is why having smaller goals that you can achieve in shorter periods of time is so helpful.
“Dreams don’t work unless you do.”Unknown
Make your goals public
If you’re worried you won’t have the willpower to stick to your goals, it can help to announce them to friends or family for added accountability. Knowing that your friends and family are expecting you to progress with your goals can help to give you that push to continue on.
Online groups on places like Facebook, Reddit, or other public forums may also promote a sense of accountability, but the more personally connected you are to people, the more motivation you’ll feel. It’s much easier to slack or not care about the thoughts and opinions of strangers.
Give yourself a deadline
It’s all well and good to set your goals, but if you don’t have a specific deadline in mind, it’s going to be more difficult to achieve them. This is because if you give yourself free rein to just work on your goals whenever it’s more than likely you won’t actually work on them at all.
It’s easier to put them off and think “I’ll start on them tomorrow”, then before you know it months have passed and you’re no closer to your goals.
So give yourself a deadline for each goal you create. Make sure it’s a realistic timeframe that actually works for you and your lifestyle (or the one you want to achieve).
Ready to set your goals?
By approaching goal setting in the right way, you can easily improve your chances of actually achieving your dreams. The above 6 ways are a good place to start if you want to ensure your chances of completing your goals successfully.
Here they are again for good measure:
- Break a big goal into smaller goals
- Set goals you can measure
- Get specific
- Commit to your goals
- Announce your goals
- Set deadlines
The most important thing to remember is that small steps nurture greater goal completion, which makes you feel like you’re actually making progress no matter how far down the line your overall goal is.