Goal Setting in 8 Easy Steps
Goal setting is simply making a plan in order to achieve the things that are important to you. You can set goals in any or all areas of your life. Common areas include finance, health, and self-improvement. And there are different types of goals: They can be short-term (1-12 months), medium-term (1-5 years), or long-term (3+ years).
Why is Goal Setting Important?
If you don’t think about what you want and plan the necessary steps to achieve it, there’s a good chance you’ll never have it. Goals help you focus and give you direction. They can show you clearly the next step you need to take. Setting goals helps you define where you want to go and gives you a better chance of getting there.
Steps to Goal Setting
1. Think about what you want
What would make your life better? What would make you happier and help you feel better about yourself?
2. Make a list
Write down your short-term, medium-term, and long-term goals.
3. Make your goals SMART
Refine your goals with the SMART goal system.
S … Specific – Your goals must be specific. Describe them in detail. You can’t reach a fuzzy goal, you need to know exactly what you are working towards.
M … Measurable – You should be able to break down your goals into steps so you can see your progress. What steps do you need to take to reach your goals?
A … Achievable – Make sure that your goals are achievable. They shouldn’t be too difficult, or too easy. But you should have to stretch your abilities a bit in order to reach them. If you want to become a millionaire next year and you have nothing now, that may not be a realistic goal. You don’t want to set yourself up for failure.
R … Relevant – Make sure that your goals are in line with your core values and aspirations. Do they fit in with the big picture of your life? Your goals must be something that matters to you.
T … Time-limited – You need to set a deadline to accomplish your goal. Deadlines create a sense of urgency, so you don’t dawdle or get distracted along the way. They help you focus on doing the most productive thing.
4. Write your goals down
Use positive words when setting your goals: Say ‘I will, I am…’ NOT ‘I’d like to, I want to…’
Sit down, close your eyes, and imagine that you have achieved your goal. How do you feel emotionally? Describe it using your senses: What sounds are associated with it? Tastes? Sights? Smells?
6. Find images
Find images to represent your goals, and put them where you will see them daily. They’ll remind you of your purpose and help you stay focused.
7. Make a plan
A goal with no plan is just a wish. Now that you’ve seen the big picture and identified your goal, what are the steps you will need to take to reach it? Plot the steps on a chart so you can tick them off as you accomplish them. This will allow you to see your progress.
–See our SMART Goal Setting Worksheet here
8. Stick with your plan
Work toward your goal every day, even if it’s just a small step. Regular small steps can take you far.
We’ve seen that goal setting is much more than just wishing for something. It is clearly defining your goals and making a plan to reach them.
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