Setting goals guides your vision of the future you want to create for yourself. Learning how to set goals the right way will give you the best chance of achieving your goals and making progress on the things that are most important to you in business and life.
We set goals for the things that matter to us. Therefore, goal setting is essential if you want to achieve the outcomes that are most important to you. Goal setting should be purposeful and intentional as goals are often the first step towards creating real change and transformation.
When you set goals you give yourself a clear destination you want to reach. Therefore, setting goals provides the framework to help you achieve your overarching future vision.
Let’s start with a definition. I define goal setting as the process of identifying something important you want to accomplish in the future and establishing measurable objectives and deadlines to those goals.
To set goals you actually want to achieve it’s important to set goals that you are excited about, and feel positive about achieving. When you word your goals positively, you are more motivated to achieve your goals, because you an imagine the difference achieving your goal will make in your life.
Learning how to set goals can save you days of wasted time. But, setting goals is just the first step. To be accountable for your goals, find an accountability partner, or coach, to work on achieving your goals together.
Take action on your goals and keep you goals visible. The pursuit of your goals can bring up various obstacles, so reminding yourself of your goals every day is crucial if you want to achieve your goals.
Let’s get started. In this article, I’ll lay out a proven process on how to set goals to ensure you achieve them. You’ll learn the importance of measurements and deadlines in setting goals, why you need exciting goals to make progress and the steps you can undertake to achieve your goals.
Read also: My ultimate guide to goal setting
How to set your goals
Learn how to set goals with this x step goal setting process.
1. Set specific goals
When setting goals your goal must be clear and well defined. It’s essential to make your goals specific, not generic. When setting goals, decide on the exact destination you want to reach and understand the difference achieving your goals will make.
Be very specific about your goals, with measurements and deadline, so you can measure your progress. Think clearly about the end result you want to achieve and understand exactly why you want to achieve the goal.
One of the best ways to set a goal is to picture yourself in the future having achieved the goal. This will make the goal feel more exciting and motivating.
Read also: SMART Goals: How to achieve your goals
2. Set measurable goals
When setting goals your goal should have specific measurements attached to it. Without specific measurements you have no destination and can’t track your progress. If you want to achieve your goals it’s important to set goals that are measurable.
Also, make sure that it’s possible to achieve the goals you set. If your goals are impossible to achieve you may give up on your goals after a few days.
When you set goals, make sure your measurable goals are a number or an event. Having measurable goals gives you clarity on whether you have achieved your goals or you haven’t.
Having measurable goals allows you to track your progress against a specific result. Making progress on your measurable goals builds motivation and momentum,
Measurable goals ensure you prioritise your time, energy and focus towards achieving your goals.
Read more on setting measurable goals.
3. Set goals with a deadline
When goal setting it is essential to set an end date for your goals. When you set goals with a deadline you know exactly when you want to achieve the goal by.
Without a deadline, your goals have no destination or direction. A goal without a deadline lacks purpose, motivation or commitment to achieving your goal.
If you want to achieve your goals, set a clear deadline for reaching them.
Read more about setting short-term goals.
4. Write your goals down
When you set goals, it’s important to write your goals down. Goal setters who write down their goals are more likely to achieve them.
Writing down your goals forces you to clarify exactly what you want to accomplish. The process of writing down your goals plays a crucial role in motivating you to complete the tasks necessary for goal achievement.
When you set goals in written form there is a powerful connection with your brain about how important your goals are. Your brain starts looking for ways to help you move forward on achieving your goals.
Read more on the importance of writing down your goals.
5. Break your goals down
When you set your goals it’s important to think about the action steps you need to take. Breaking down your goals into actionable steps ensures you think clearly about your goals and the steps you need to take to move forward.
The simplest way to break down your goals is to imagine you’ve achieved your future goals and to lay out the action steps you need to take to make that goal achievement a reality.
Breaking down your goals provides a monthly, weekly and daily plan and path to follow. This gives you daily direction on your goals.
It becomes easier to work on your goal if you know exactly what to do. Breaking down your goals gives you clarity on the first step to take. When you break down your goals, and schedule time to work on them, it’s gives you greater focus and increases productivity.
6. Create an action plan
We all have goals but some people accomplish them and others don’t. Making an action plan is the best way to achieve your goals. When you are clear on your goals, you can lay out a simple action plan to move you forward on those goals.
Knowing the steps you need to take to achieve your goals ensures you don’t get overwhelmed or distracted by your goals.
To set goals using an action plan work backwards to set monthly, weekly and daily outcomes that move you closer towards your goals. Schedule your most important tasks each day.
Determine what needs to happen each week to reach your goals. Then decide what actions you need to take every day to reach your goals. Finally, put your actions into a schedule so you know exactly what to do each day.
Read also: The importance of short-term goals
7. Take action on your goals
Learning how to set goals is the first step. If you want to achieve your goals, you must take daily action on your goals. By prioritising your goals you are clear on the things that really matter most to you.
When your goals are uninspiring it becomes difficult to take action. If your goals are exciting and motivating you will want to take action on your goals and make progress every day,
Exciting goals are motivating and inspiring. When setting goals, make sure you actually want to take action on achieving your goals. If you don’t, pick another goal.
To set goals properly ensure your goals are measurable and have a deadline attached to them. In this guide I’ve shared the 7 steps of effective goal setting, which will help you learn how to set goals the right way.
Always decide on goals that you’re motivated and excited to achieve. If you don’t you won’t take action on making real progress towards goals achievement.
Now I’d love to hear form you.
What’s your best goal setting tip?
How do you set goals you want to achieve?
Let me know in the comments.
About the Author
Mark Pettit is a time management coach based in Colchester, Essex, UK. He is the Founder of time management coaching company Lucemi Consulting. Mark provides time management coaching and accountability coaching to entrepreneurs and business owners in Essex, Suffolk and across the UK.
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