Effective Goal-Setting Step-by-Step
Most of us have a vague idea of what we’d like to accomplish, but few have true, concrete goals. A goal is analogous to a target. Without a goal, you’re just drifting along hoping for things to improve. With a goal, you have a definite direction and purpose.
Though we’ve all been told how important targets are, few of us have ever been given specific directions regarding how to formulate an effective goal. I actually just started writing clear goals a couple of years ago. There’s no wrong place to start, so grab your pen and paper because with these suggestions, you will be on your way.
The best part? I am also working on mine, so we can keep each-other accountable. Make sure to follow me on Instagram, for ideas, suggestions and follow up.
Give your goal these characteristics and you’ll be on your way to success:
Specific. Acquiring a new car isn’t specific. Acquiring a 2019, black 7 seat Tesla Model X with Carbon Fiber Décor and Ventilated Seats is specific.
- Be as specific as you need to be, but not more. If your goal is to meet the man of your dreams, does he really have to be over 6 feet tall and have a dimple in his chin? It’s important to have a clear target, but too much specificity limits your options. Stick to the important characteristics.
Time-bound. Without a timeline, you might find yourself waiting for a long time because you’ll be unlikely to ever get started. Having an endpoint date creates focus and urgency.
An effective endpoint date is no more than 12 weeks into the future. If your goal will take longer than that, break it into smaller goals. Anything beyond 12 weeks will cause your focus to wane. It’s far too easy to procrastinate with goals set too far in the future.
Possible. If you don’t believe you can achieve your goal, you won’t pursue it. What would be the point? Start with a goal small enough that you believe it can be done within the timeframe you’ve set.
Do you have the necessary resources and time to reach your goal before the deadline?
Measurable. If you can’t measure it, how will you know if you’ve achieved it? How will you know if you’re making progress? Goals that deal with money or bodyweight, for example, are easy to quantify. A goal to take a trip to Hawaii is also easy to measure, because you either did it or you didn’t.
Goals that deal with less quantifiable characteristics, such as money, can be a little more challenging. You might have to develop your own measuring scale. Ensure your goal can be measured before you get started.
Reviewed regularly. One of the most effective ways to prioritize your goals is to review them at least daily. With so many thoughts and ideas flying around in your head, a daily review of your goals will help them to rise above the noise. Take a few minutes each day to review your goals at least once.
Take enough time to re-write, read, and visualize your goals.
After you’ve created your goal, make a list of actions that will lead to attaining your goal. Too many of us spend too much time in our head to be successful.
Things only change when new actions are taking place. Start at the end and work your way back to the present. What step could you take today toward reaching your goal?
Need help? You can do this with your partner, spouse or friend and hold each-other accountable. It’s a great way to follow up and stay focus on creating the life you want and attaining all those things that enhance your happiness.
Hope this helps! Make sure to share your thoughts in the comments below!