Goals, we all have them. Especially now towards the end of the year. In the midst of all the holiday excitement and frenzy, you’re starting to think about all the things that you wanted to accomplish this past year and didn’t. Then, you sit down and write down all your goals and New Year’s resolutions for the year ahead, determined to meet them all this time. But it’s important to remember, you can want to accomplish something until you’re blue in the face, but that doesn’t mean it will happen. Goals and dreams will stay just that if you’re not intentional about actually reaching them. If you’re ready to turn those goals and dreams into facts and accomplishments, keep reading.
The Importance of Having Goals
First things first, you need to understand what a goal is and why it is so important in the first place. Goals shouldn’t be confused with resolutions although they’re somewhat related. To keep things simple, think of resolutions as the wishes or decisions you make for yourself and think of goals as the steps you take to make your wishes or decisions become a reality.
Goals give you a sense of direction and purpose. They serve as your north star when life can get complicated. It’s a desired result that you’re intentional about achieving. Key word here is INTENTIONAL. This is a word that I’ve been using a lot lately because it reflects effort. Effort is going to be necessary in order to reach your goals, there’s no way around it.
In addition to making sure you’re intentional about achieving your goal, you need to be clear about your process. I’ll get into this a little later in the post because this is one of the steps towards setting and achieving your goals. But far too many people (I once was guilty of this too) focus too much on the desired end result and completely ignore the process or steps that need to be taken to get there.
7 Steps to Setting Goals and Achieving Them This Year
Step 1: Prepare Yourself by Getting Real About The Big Picture
Before you dive into creating this great list of goals, you need to prepare. How do you prepare? Get clear on your WHY and visualize the big picture. Why do you want to reach these goals in the first place and what does achieving these goals mean for you? Here’s a list of questions you should answer prior to listing your goals:
– What is it that you truly want?
– Why do you want this?
– What type of person do you want to be?
– What does your future best self look like?
– How does your future best self live?
– How does your future best self feel about themselves and life each day?
– What is the perfect day?
– Describe what happens during your perfect day.
– Identify what does your perfect day feels like.
Step 2: Identify Your Goals & Write Them Down
Now that you’ve prepared yourself, it’s time to set your goals with your future best self in mind. These goals will serve as your roadmap to help you get there. I recommend writing them down so that you can refer to them periodically or if you feel side tracked.
Why not hang your goals somewhere you can see easily? Give a whiteboard a try!
Step 3: Make Sure Your Goals Serve a Purpose & are SMART
Again, your goals should help you get to the big picture. In order to do that, you should set goals that are SMART. For example, you may want your business to make more money next year but that is very vague. A SMART goal would be, achieve a 25% increase in profit by the end of Q4 (December 31). See below for a breakdown of what makes a goals SMART.
Specific – The more specific and focused the better.
Measurable – It is important to set goals that you can track and measure, that way you can assess your progress and make changes when necessary.
Actionable – Your goals should be something that you can actually put into action and not mere wishes that require someone else to do the work.
Realistic – Make sure they are realistic and not completely impossible to reach.
Timely – You should be able to achieve within a set period of time (a week/ month/ quarter/ year)
Step 4: Assess Your Goals & Break Into Smaller Actionable Goals
One thing is for sure, if you hit the ground running with all your goals in mind and all the things you have to do, you’re either going to burn yourself out or give up. Trust me, it’s much easier to make a meaningful change when you start small and act with intention.
Remember, in life we’re running a marathon, not a sprint race. So instead of tackling these huge goals all at once, why not break it down into smaller more manageable pieces? Try to see which smaller pieces intersect and relate with one another then connect the dots if you can. What goal will make achieving the next goal easier and more achievable?
Step 5: Develop a Plan of Action
As I said earlier, in order to reach your goals, they need to be backed with some action on your part. Taking your goals and the smaller sub goals into account, you have to get clear on what needs to be done and give yourself a sense of direction to help you navigate. How will you actually achieve your goals? Most importantly, what steps need to be taken to get there? Knowing the answer to these questions and creating a plan is extremely important if you want to meet them.
Check out these journals to help you write out your plan!
Step 6: Put Your Plan into Action
Once you have your plan of action, and the steps you need to take, now comes the fund part… taking action! What can you do today, tomorrow, next week, and next month to help move you forward towards your goals? Incorporate the steps you created in Step 5 into your routines and daily habits.
Looking for a new planner? I’m loving these…
Step 7: Track Your Progress
Every so often, you should revisit your goals and check your progress. Seeing how far you’ve come from where you started will encourage you to keep going. During this audit it is important to be honest with yourself. Start with asking these questions:
- What worked really well and what didn’t?
- Are you on track or did you fall behind?
- What obstacles are you facing?
- What did you accomplish?
Trust me, you’ve got this! But it rests on you. Are you ready to live the life of your dreams? You have the power my friend! Before you go, here are a few bonus tips to keep in mind:
1. Try keeping your goals to at least 3-5. This way you don’t feel overwhelmed. Focus on what is a priority for right now.
2. It helps to break them down into categories (see below for some examples)
3. It’s also very important to celebrate the wins big and small!
4. Remember: Progress is much more important than perfection!