Many of us set goals every year, but not many of us actually achieve them. That’s why it is so important to learn how to set goals the right way.
Setting and achieving goals is what gets you where you want to be in life. Goals provide a roadmap for creating the life you desire.
They also help you improve upon areas of your life where you’d like to see growth or change.
With each new day, month, season, or year comes a new opportunity to focus on what matters and live life with purpose.
Don’t let another year go by without learning how to set goals that are actionable and attainable.
How to set goals the right way
Below is an easy six-step process that will show you how to set goals that you can readily achieve.
I’m going to walk you through each step, so you can see just how easy it is to set reachable goals once you have the right instruction.
1 // Look at the big picture
If you’re going to set goals, you need to connect them to the big picture. Otherwise, what purpose do they serve?
Sometimes the big picture is what we have the most trouble with when trying to set goals and live life with purpose.
Break it down and look at the following life categories to determine where you need to start:
- Personal growth
Evaluate where you are in each of these areas and where you might need to make some improvements.
2 // Choose your ONE goal
If you are new to goal setting or have had trouble achieving your goals in the past, I advise you to start with ONE goal.
Focus all of your extra time and attention on your one goal until you feel comfortable with the process.
Once you begin to see progress toward achieving your one goal, you can decide if you have the capacity to work on another goal at the same time.
I used to set way too many goals at once. This quickly leads to burnout and frustration.
There are likely a number of things you want to accomplish in the coming year.
Don’t be afraid to choose just one thing to focus on. The rest can wait.
Depending on how big your goal is, it might take you 3 months, 6 months, or one year to complete.
After you achieve the first goal you set, you can move on to another goal.
3 // Make it a SMART goal
When writing out your goal, be sure to make it a SMART goal. This acronym stands for specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound.
- SPECIFIC – your goal needs to be clear and not vague
- MEASURABLE – there has to be a precise way to measure whether or not you’ve met the goal
- ATTAINABLE – your goal should be realistic for you to achieve based on the season of life you are in
- RELEVANT – set a goal that relates to an area of your life that needs improvement and lines up with your priorities
- TIME-BOUND – give yourself a concrete deadline, so you have something to work toward
Example of a bad goal: Get healthy
Example of a SMART goal: Participate in a 5K run 3 months from now
The second goal meets all of the criteria of a SMART goal. It is specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound.
4 // Determine your “WHY”
This step is almost as crucial as setting the goal itself.
A goal is just another item to add to your to-do list unless you connect it to what matters.
Setting a SMART goal is good because it requires you to choose a goal that is relevant.
I want you to take it one step further and dig deep to uncover your “WHY.”
Goals don’t work unless you do, and knowing your “why” will keep you motivated to push forward even when you don’t feel like it.
Trust me, there will definitely be days when you don’t feel like it.
The reason you set your goal needs to be compelling enough to keep you from giving up.
Once you determine your one goal, ask yourself why you set this goal.
Then ask yourself again and again until you uncover the true reason behind your desire to accomplish this goal.
Keep going until you get to the root of your “why,” then write it down.
Reference this whenever you feel discouraged to remind yourself why you are working so hard to achieve your goal.
5 // Develop a plan of action
It’s important to break your goals down into actionable steps that you can schedule out.
Get as specific as possible when breaking your goals down. Don’t be afraid to have too many steps.
You want to make this easy on yourself, so you have no excuse to quit.
SMART goal: Participate in a 5K run 3 months from now
- Research 5K runs taking place in my area 3 months from now
- Sign up and pay the entrance fee
- Schedule the date in my calendar
- Download a training app on for my phone
- Decide which days of the week I will train
- Add training dates to my calendar
Once you see your goal broken down in this way, it seems much more manageable.
Pick a date and time to assign each of your tasks and add them to your schedule.
You will not always feel like doing what is on your calendar.
Honor yourself by committing to show up for yourself the way you would show up for someone else.
6 // Evaluate your progress
When you first get started, I recommend a weekly check-in to determine how you are progressing on your goals.
If you let too much time go by without checking in, you will get too far off track.
Ask yourself the following:
- What progress have I made?
- What tasks are remaining?
- What worked well for me this week?
- What didn’t work?
- What is my plan moving forward?
You might also find it useful to sit down monthly or quarterly to make adjustments to your goals or set new ones.
The key is to take the time to address any problems that come up and remind yourself how far you’ve come.
Now, it’s your turn
You may not have achieved your goals in the past, but you can do it. You just need the right tools and the right system to follow.
If you are ready to discover the secret to achieving your goals, check out my Goal Getter workbook.
It’s your definitive guide to setting and achieving goals. It will teach you how to set meaningful goals, create an action plan, and maintain focus.
I created for you because I care about you and I want to see you get results.
If you want to learn how to set goals the right way in 2020, this workbook will help you do just that.