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How to Set Goals and Achieve Them
We’re almost four full months into the New Year. Like most people, you’re probably looking back at your New Year’s Resolutions and wondering what went wrong. What most of us are really wondering is how to set goals and achieve them.
You had good intentions. You thought you had a clear vision and strong motivation. Yet something fell apart along the way that derailed your progress and stopped all momentum.
Setting goals is one of the hardest things we can do in life. But it’s also one of the most important things we do in life.
Without goals, we will just wander around in life aimlessly, without any sense of direction or purpose.
This is perhaps best summarized in Lewis Carroll’s beloved novel Alice in Wonderland, where the main character Alice is on a journey and encounters a talking Cheshire cat:
She asks the cat: “Which road should I take?”
The cat responded: “Where do you want to go?”
Alice then answered: “I don’t know.”
To which the cat responded: “Then it doesn’t matter.”
When we don’t have goals, any road we take is fine, because there is no ultimate destination.
But while we all know the importance of goals, the actual process of setting and achieving them is a whole other matter.
In this article, we take a look at 3 steps to properly set goals that you can actually achieve.
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Easy-to-Follow Tips On How to Set Goals and Achieve Them
Wondering where to start to improve your goal setting? Follow these three important steps:
Set Clear and Specific Goals
Many of us fail to achieve our goals, not because we aren’t motivated or dedicated enough, but because we haven’t set them clearly in the first place.
By clear goals, we’re talking about TANGIBLE goals. Goals that are so well-defined, you can clearly envision working on them and reaching that ultimate destination.
How do you set clear goals, though?
There are several models and systems of goal-setting in the world today, perhaps none more famous than the “SMART” goal model.
“SMART” stands for:
Specific (i.e. using real numbers, metrics, and deadlines)
Measurable (i.e. ensuring the goal is trackable)
Attainable (i.e. goal is challenging but possible)
Realistic (i.e. being honest with yourself and what you are really capable of)
Time-bound (i.e. a clear deadline)
By incorporating a goal-setting framework, such as the “SMART” model, you can ensure that you are setting clear and tangible goals upfront, without having to work so hard for many months, and then ultimately realize that your goal wasn’t specific or realistic enough.
For example, if one of your New Year’s Resolutions was to lose weight, ask yourself if you can be more specific. Does that mean shedding 5, 10, or 15 pounds, and if so, by when?
When we set clear and specific goals upfront we increase our chances of actually achieving them.
But having a clear framework for our goals is not enough. We also have to understand the motivation behind them.
Understand the Motivation Behind Your Goals
To continue with the previous example, why is losing 10 pounds important to you?
If we never know the underlying reasons behind the actions we take, the actions we take will start to break down because there is no supporting meaning behind them.
For example, if you’re trying to lose the weight to make others look at you more favorably, do you have the right self-image of yourself? Could having more confidence about your current body or weight be the real goal you are after?
It goes without saying, but motivation is HUGE.
While we think motivation comes from outside of us—through friends, coaches, role models, or motivational speakers—motivation actually lives within.
We are the ultimate deciders of whether or not we actually want to do something, and it is up to us to determine how motivated we are to actually do it.
As the old adage goes, “You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make it drink.”
Similarly, others can try to motivate or encourage us, but if we don’t have the proper motivation ourselves, we won’t go very far.
So, when setting your goals, make sure you understand and align yourself completely with the motivation behind them. Make sure that what’s driving you ultimately makes sense for you.
If the underlying motivation isn’t strong enough, then no matter how badly you THINK you want something, you actually do not REALLY want it.
Work With A Professional Life Coach To Keep You Focused and Accountable
Last, but not least, don’t try to do it all on your own.
We often keep our goals to ourselves and operate in an echo chamber of thoughts without any sort of external feedback or support.
But goals are rarely meant to be accomplished alone. “It takes a village,” as they say.
No matter how small or big your goal might be, there will always be a group of people there to assist you.
The Universe works in such a way that we will all get the help we need, if we ask and look for it.
And one of the biggest forms of help we can receive is someone to help us stay focused and be accountable.
Oftentimes, we feel our friends or family are the best ones to support us in this role, but they are too close to us to be objective and often slip into “advice-giving” mode rather than “creative space-holding” mode.
A professional life coach, however, offers the same level of care, support, and attention without the personal bias. He or she is there to help you stay focused throughout the entire journey, and will keep you accountable every week during your sessions.
They’ll not only support the goals you have in mind, but also help you clarify the underlying motivation behind them and uncover resources and tools that can help you on your path.
Ultimately, setting goals that we can actually achieve is not an easy task.
But when we invest the time and energy to do things the right way—in other words, come up with clear and specific goals, understand the underlying motivation, and work with a professional life coach—we set ourselves up for the greatest chance of success.
About the Author
Life Purpose Coach
My name is Najim and I am a life purpose coach, writer, and speaker helping young professionals live a more fulfilling life by discovering and pursuing their purpose. After nearly a decade in the corporate world, serving in various management and leadership roles, I experienced firsthand the emotional pain of feeling burnt out, unfulfilled, and out of alignment with my true self and potential.
Today, I coach young professionals from all career paths and walks of life to become more self-aware, trust their intuition, and get out of their comfort zone so that they can transition out of their unfulfilled state and into the life or career they always wanted! If this sounds like you and you want to find real and lasting fulfillment in your life, please feel free to reach out and let’s have a chat!
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This article was originally posted on Najim Mostamand’s personal website Add to Favorites