Goal setting is a powerful process that allows you to formulate a plan for achieving everything you want out of your life.
Following the 10 steps outlined below will enable you to focus your energy, and avoid wasting valuable time and resources in areas that are not in alignment with your goals.
According to Harvard University, those people who write down their goals have an 80% greater chance of achieving their goals than those that don’t. Most truly successful people also keep their to do lists manageable and focus on no more than three main goals at any given time. They prioritize!
Here are some steps that will help you take writing your goals to the next level!
- Be specific about what you want.
The more specific you are about what you want to achieve, the more likely it is that you will achieve it. By knowing exactly what you want the outcome to be and why you want it (ie: how you will benefit from it), it is easier it is to stay on track and not get distracted.
Example: A general goal would be: “I want to write a book.” A specific goal would be: “I am going to write 5 pages a day.”
- Make sure the goal that you set is measurable.
Another easy way to stay motivated and on track is to make sure that you have measurable criteria built in, such as target dates, amounts, and action steps. Measurable criteria is anything that can be checked off that can give you an idea of your progress. So, don’t be afraid of taking some baby steps along the way, as long as you are moving in the right direction.
In the previous example, writing 5 pages a day would be a measurable criteria.
- Make sure your goal is realistic and attainable.
Your goals should be doable and should also be something that you truly believe that you can achieve and that you have the ability, training or skill to accomplish. Examine your goals carefully and make sure that you have the required qualifications, resources, and skills. If not, then you may need to set a more attainable, lesser goal that can set you up to attain the bigger goal somewhere down the road.
Perhaps you need to take a course on how to put together a clean eating meal plan or how to plot a novel. Learning the necessary skills could very well be part of your overall big picture goal, so enroll and learn the skills that will take you to the next step.
- Your goal should excite you.
Whatever excites and thrills you also inspires and motivates you. When you begin with goals that are fueled by your passion, you are already half-way there as your chance of success increases exponentially.
- Make your goal timely.
Setting a definitive time frame for the completion of your goals makes them seem more real to you, and helps keep you on track. Knowing there is a deadline creates an increased sense of urgency to take action, that might not be there otherwise.
Instead of saying “someday” set a definitive time frame, such as, “I am going to complete the first draft by August 1, 2017 by writing 10 pages a day, five days a week.”
- Write it down.
Writing your goals down keeps helps to cement them in your mind and provides visual confirmation of your commitment to obtaining your dreams. A wonderful way to keep your desires and goals top-of-mind is to keep a goal journal and track your progress daily or weekly.
- Break it down.
If your goal seems daunting or too big to handle right off the bat, then break it down into several smaller, more manageable goals and take them one step at a time.
Using our novel example, it might be daunting to think about producing a full manuscript, so work backward and think about all the steps that are required to get to the end result. For instance: your initial breakdown might look something like this:
- Final Draft
- Second Draft
- First or Rough Draft
- Plot Outline or Story Skeleton
- 5-page synopsis
- Deep Character Analysis
- 1-page synopsis
- Character Sketches
- 1-paragraph synopsis
- Create Premise
- Determine genre
In the above example, you can see that the first goal, the step at the bottom of the list, would be to determine the genre of your new novel. Once that is complete, then you would proceed up the outline to the next step of creating a premise, and so on. You may even find that as you move through it, you will find additional goals to add that will help keep your goal of writing a novel manageable and keep you on track.
- Take actionable steps.
For each individual goal, make a list (ie: an action plan) of the steps that you need to take to begin moving forward, then begin taking whatever action is indicated, and applying all of these other steps as well.
For example, if you are new to fitness and want to tone up, but have no idea what type of exercise plan you are interested in, you might need to follow the process from #7, which might include researching different types of exercises and their various benefits, as well as learning what if any type of equipment is required, and what fitness level is best suited to that specific type of exercise. And all of that before you do your first squat or crunch! They are still necessary steps in the process.
- Be open to change and willing to go with the flow.
After you begin taking action towards your goal, you may experience a few unexpected obstacles and snags. Don’t get discouraged, life happens. Simply take a moment to reevaluate your action plan and make any necessary changes so that you can continue moving forward. It might be necessary to go through the above steps again and make adjustments, but don’t let unplanned occurrences and obstacles stall your momentum.
- Reward your success.
Set up some type of benefit system and reward yourself for successfully reaching certain milestones along the way to your goals. Plan a trip, or buy yourself something special, or treat yourself to a night out on the on the town. Rewards help to acknowledge your hard work and provide additional incentives to keep on track.
So now you have a good idea of how to set goals and the steps to follow so that you have the greatest chance of achieving your desired results. Which of these steps do you already do, and which were something new to consider?