In this post we’ll be setting our own attainable goals with action steps to make them a reality.
I typically try to set smaller goals for each month that lead to larger goals to accomplish over the year. I’ve found that I’m incredibly great and writing (and re-writing) out my goals, but I struggle with putting them into action. In this post, we cover the basics of setting goals you can actually achieve, and not ones that forever sit around on a piece of paper, only bound to be tossed into the trash at any given moment.
None-the-less, pull out a piece of paper or notebook (or download the printable at the bottom of the page) and follow along as you go through this post, and let’s get goal setting.
When you set goals for yourself, it’s important that they motivate you, and, quite frankly, scare you a little bit (but in a good way). When goals motivate you, it means they are important to you, and when they’re important to you, you’re more likely to follow through with them. If the goals are something that you’re not generally interested in, you won’t put in the work that you need to in order to accomplish them.
You want to set goals that are high priority for you and things you feel like you “must” do. It’s also pertinent to know why you want a goal, and why it means so much to you.
2. SET S.M.A.R.T. GOALS
You’ve probably heard of S.M.A.R.T. goals before, but this is the basis of achievable goal setting. Keep these five things in mind for each of your goals:
Your goals must be clear and defined. If your goals are too vague, they’re harder to achieve because they lack a sense of sufficient direction. You want to be as clear as possible with what you want so that you’re able to decifer each step you’re going to have to take to get there.
You want each of your goals to be as measurable as possible. Something unclear such as “to lose weight” can be defined by many things. How will you know when your actual goal has been met? Establish a timeline. For example: “I want to lose 5 pounds in the next 30 days”. That’s a goal that’s specific AND measurable.
Each goal you set should be achievable and you need to believe that you can achieve it. If you secretly don’t believe you will be able to achieve your goal, then you won’t try as hard to get there. Though the goal needs to be attainable, it also can’t be too easy either. Goals should be challenging enough that you have to work hard to get there, but not too challenging where you’re doubting whether you’ll ever reach it. Find the happy medium. You want your goals to scare you (but in a good way).
All of your goals should be relevant to your life and aligned with the direction you’re headed. I recommend starting with a big, overarching goal, and then creating little “mini” goals along the way to achieving that big goal.
You want to have time constraints with each goal. They should have a start date and an end date. You should set a timeline with a deadline and then find a way to celebrate once you’ve achieved it.
3. WRITE THEM DOWN
Physically writing down goals and putting them on paper makes them much more real. They’re no longer in your head and therefore a lot more tangible. When writing down your goals, use positive words and language like “I will…” rather than “I might…” or “I would like to…”.
4. TURN THEM INTO ACTION
This is the hardest part. Goals without plans are just wishes. You can’t act on all of your goals at once, so we will need to put a few stepping stones into place and break each large goal into several smaller ones. Go through each goal in your list, one at a time and decide what the action steps are to get you to that goal. Write out each individual step, and cross them out as you complete them.''A goal without a plan is just a wish'' Click To Tweet
5. BE ACCOUNTABLE
To reach a goal, you have to stick with it and hold yourself accountable. Typically, reaching a goal doesn’t just take one try – usually, you have to work at it a little bit to make it happen, amirite? It’s an ongoing process.
Sometimes it helps to have other people (friends, family, coworkers) to hold you accountable. I post my goals on social media, where there are people I don’t even know holding me accountable.
It also helps to put your goals list in physical places where you can see it daily to hold yourself accountable to achieving them.
Make sure you’re goals are constantly motivating you and you don’t get burned out. Baby steps!
6. DON’T GIVE UP!
Whatever you do, just don’t give up.
I created a worksheet for you to use to establish your goals and devise a plan towards achieving them.
It’s important to be as specific as possible when filling out each section of the worksheet. Try to avoid using vague phrases such as “my goal is to lose weight” or “to spend less”, and use more specific phrasing such as including dates and numbers in your descriptions. Vague goals are easy to “achieve” because there is not a true measure of what you actually want to achieve. What defines “lost weight”? Instead, using phrases like “I will lose x amount pounds in x amount of days by x date-in-time” is more specific, and easier to know when it is achieved. You have the goal, what to achieve, and the deadline.
I recommend sitting in a quiet space, uninterrupted. Turn off your phone, the TV, even your music, and sit in a quiet room where you can truly narrow down and specify your goals and what you truly want to achieve.
To download and edit your own Goal Setting Worksheets, click here or the image below.
Print them and write on them directly, or edit them online in Adobe Acrobat.
I am also thinking about putting together an in-depth goal setting course, let me know if that would be something you would be interested in!
What goal setting techniques do you have?