Ready to start creating the life you dream? Goal setting can be your best friend. Learn how to smartly set goals that you will actually achieve and move towards them!
I’m a list-maker by nature. Ever since I can remember I make lists. But I love paper and pencil lists because I love the feeling of striking off each task of my list. That feeling has no equal, am I weird?
If you are a list-maker like me, you might have noticed that when you create a list of all the things you have to do in a day and week, it’s kind of creating goals. You are listing things you need to get done or achieve.
Effective Goal Setting Tips: How to set goals and achieve them.
Goal setting is kind of a new concept to me. I mean I’ve always heard about how important goals are and I’ve always had goals myself.
I’ve always had that big thing I wanted to achieve, either in life or in my career. But never actually gave it a real thought about having a plan to achieve those goals.
Even though I have achieved some of my important goals in life, I always felt like I was missing something. Something that was making it hard for me to achieve all my goals.
After reading many blog posts about goal settings (especially from Abby at Just a Girl and her Blog), I understood that what I was missing was having an actual plan.
You know, it is true what they say: “A goal without a plan is just a dream”. We can (and we should) dream big but if we don’t set a path and a clear plan for them, they will always be that: a dream.
We need to set goals in life. Trace a path and set action steps. Work towards them to make progress rather than just sitting around hoping our dreams will magically come true.
To be honest, when you are not used to setting goals, action steps and planning ahead, it’s hard at first.
It’s hard to know exactly how to set an achievable goal and then organize the steps to make it happen. I’m barely getting the hang of it myself.
I’ve been working on my goals for almost 2 years now and I have had to tweak my goals and action steps quite often. Why?
Because as you go, you realize that some of the goals or how you set them are not actually achievable. So I had to sit and analyze them.
Why Goals Fail.
Ever wonder why some people achieve their goals and you feel like you keep on NOT achieving yours?
Girl…I get it… I SO get it. It can be so darn frustrating to see people around you that seem to have their sh… together, to have life figured out, and to have things handed to them. Been there, done that!
The main problem with most goals is that there’s no way to measure them. They are too broad or hard to figure out how to act on them.
That’s when I started to understand why experts say that goals must be S.M.A.R.T. which stands for: Specific, Measurable, Actionable, Realistic and Timely.
S.M.A.R.T Goal Setting
Smart goals are the 5 keys to creating goals that we can actually achieve.
Choosing specific goals that are realistic, trackable, and have clear deadlines will help increase your chances of success.
So let’s break this acronym down to understand each of them and be able to set goals that we will be able to achieve.
The word itself says it, right? Each goal you set should be as specific as you can. It’s not enough to say: I’ll make lots of money this year. That statement is way too board and how do you know if you achieved it or not? how much is a lot of money?
So the right goal should be: I’ll make $10.000 of savings this year. So you know exactly how much your goal is and a possible timeframe to achieve it.
Specific goals allow you to keep track of your progress while broad or vague goals will keep you stuck and frustrated.
You need to be able to see the progress as you work towards your goal. In the example, we set $10.000. This makes it easy to know what you have saved and how much you still need to achieve your goal.
Your goal needs to allow you to set an action plan and steps to achieve it. Here is where your actual plan comes into play. How will you achieve it? What needs to be done to achieve that goal.
Following the above example, let’s say that to save $10.000 this year (depending on what month you are in). You would need to save $XX each month to sum that amount. To make it easier, let’s say it’s January so we need to save $834 each month until December to save $10.000.
Realistic and Relevant:
It’s in human nature that if there’s nothing in it for us, the energy to pursue something doesn’t last long.
So, in order for us to stay motivated and on track, our goals should be relevant to us, it needs a deep why and something meaningful to gain when we achieve it.
But it also requires it to be realistic and achievable.
We need to be reasonable when we set our goals so we are not chasing ghosts. We’ll get frustrated and drop everything through the window.
We should know our limitations and strengths so let’s set some strong real and clear goals.
For example, if you set: I’ll make $1.000.000 this year, you would be setting a very long shot goal. Almost praying for the lottery to fall in your hands.
How much you would need to make each month? Is that actually achievable right now?
A better idea would be, start by setting that you want $10.000 savings this year, since it’s more likely that you achieve it because it can easily be broken down to less than $1000 a month.
Last but not least…
The most effective goals are always time-bound. If you don’t set a due date, you will never actually work towards it. Every goal needs deadlines by which you should achieve it.
A timeline creates a sense of urgency, which in turn motivates you to stay on schedule and finish your goal.
Each action step also needs due dates so you get organized and know what to do and when on your path towards your goal.
Keeping the previous example, you should not just say “this year” but also when is that end. For example” I’ll make $10.000 savings this year by December 31st. Know you know exactly what you are going to do, how you are going to make it happen, and when you should have done it.
Of course, truth be told, setting numeric goals is a lot easier. There are other types of goals that need a little more thought but it’s definitely always possible.
But before moving on, let me say and clarify that success and achieving goals don’t happen overnight. This is part of a personal growth process that requires your willingness to keep trying, take risks, overcome the fear of failure, and don’t give up easily.
Goal setting should become a habit. Something you do every day, month, and year.
Long-term Vs Short-term Goals
We definitely should allow ourselves to dream big. We should write down those big dreams without judgment or limitations. Then we can turn them into goals by breaking them down into actionable steps at different levels.
For example, you can have a goal that might take a whole year to achieve (long-term goals that would be your big picture). That goal could be divided into monthly action steps. Each action step could be broken down into weekly action steps and then daily baby steps.
Smaller goals might take less time to achieve and I call them short-term goals. These goals should also be divided into action steps for months or weeks and days.
To be totally honest with you, I still struggle to set and accomplish long-term goals. Somehow it seems harder for me to come up with realistic ideas and stick with the plan for goals that take 12 months or more. I’m still studying my steps and where I might be failing so I can tweak my strategy and finally come through.
As for the short-medium-term goals, I’m in control. Whenever I set a goal that can be achieved in the coming months, I usually achieve them. So I’m slowly trying to make longer goals to detect when and where I get off my track.
Why goal setting is important
Goal setting has been an incredible journey for me and a great help in both: my personal life and my business. There’s no easy magical trick, every goal takes time and effort but having a plan makes it all so much easier and doable.
In my opinion, setting goals gives you a clear path and track to follow every day towards the life you want to create and the person you want to become.
Goals give you a clear vision, direction, and a sense of purpose. if you know what you want from your life, then it will be easier to focus on it, to stay consistent with it, and to work at it every single day.
On the contrary, not having any goals lead to indecision, lack of focus, boredom, and not having something specific to strive for can lead to a feeling that one is living a dulled, less meaningful version of our life.
This is mainly because specifically-written goals can provide us with a sense of existential structure, purpose, and meaning.
Soul Searching and Level 10 Life
After much work on my goals, I came to a realization. It was a life-changing realization. When it comes to setting goals, it’s so important to actually know yourself on a deeper level…DEEPER level.
Knowing what moves you, what heats up your heart, what ignites your spark, what INSPIRES YOU, will be the starting point that will lead you to create and live your dream life, a life that you LOVE and are excited to live.
Because in order to set achievable goals you need to understand, pinpoint and accept your strengths and limitations. That way you don’t set goals that you are never going to work on because the process is not in your inner nature.
Your goals need to be aligned with who you truly are and what you truly want in life. It’s like making a life audit so to speak.
Probably, many people would disagree with me on this but in my experience, this is very true. If I set goals in an area that I’m not passionate about, that I’m limited or I deeply dislike some of the steps I have to follow, I’m very likely to fail and never achieve those goals.
Level 10 Life
Doing some research about soul searching, I came across a tool called Level 10 Life which I found to be absolutely amazing and fascinating.
It’s about defining 10 main categories in your life and setting 10 levels of satisfaction for each. This requires you to be very honest with yourself.
You need to place yourself at the level (from 1 to 10) you think you are for each category. In other words, how satisfied you are in that aspect of your life.
Having that laid out, you can actually see what areas of your life need more work to improve it. It gives you a clearer idea of the goals you should be focusing more on setting and achieving.
It actually helps you understand that if you set goals that require those areas where you are the lowest right now, you might not achieve them. So maybe you need to work on improving those areas before jumping on higher goals.
I’ll put it this way: I have a house that is built on some foundation pillars. But then I want to improve the house by creating a second floor. But is some of those foundations are weak or cracked, you might not be able to build or even worse, the building could fall apart. That’s more or less how your level 10 works.
If you set goals that require aspects in your life that you are currently weak, your goals might never be accomplished.
My own Goal Setting Planner
After understanding all this and working on my own goals, I decided to create a deeper goal-setting planner. One that goes deep inside us first, and then takes us to set goals and then keeping track of each. I called it “The Meaningful Life Goal Setting Planner”.
The meaningful Life Goal Setting Planner has been my favorite tool ever since I created it along with my Blogging planner.
Why I have 2 Planners?
Because even though both planners manage goals, they work differently. My goal setting planner is crafted for anyone who loves to give life a meaning and a purpose.
Anyone who enjoys soul searching, dreaming big and finding areas to improve and grow, and anyone who loves writing down goals and work towards them.
My blogging planner is focused solely on my business and I absolutely love it and need it.
If you like my Goal Setting Planner, you can snag my free sample clicking on the button below.
Or if you are ready for the full experience you can buy the FULL Meaningful Life Goal Setting Planner right here!
Effective Goal Setting tips:
So, let’s look atthese helpful tips for effective goal setting.
1. Do your inner self-analysis.
Map your dream life, define and set how you see your life:
- Set your values
- Dreams and aspirations
- Body, mind, and soul
- Things I want to learn
- Fun, recreation and vacations
- Business and career
- The impact you want to have in the world.
With this in mind, allow yourself to dream big. Don’t limit yourself, don’t judge yourself, just brain dump all your dreams in a paper.
Create your Level 10 Life. It’s super simple to make. You can make bars or circles. I love circles.
Make one large circle and then 10 more circles one smaller inside of the other (this would be your progress bar). Then divide it into 10 pieces like a cake (this would be your categories or life aspect).
Using different colors fill each aspect to the point you think you are. Make a stronger mark or stroke at the line of your level so you know where you started when you reach level 10.
Once you have that, make a quick analysis of why you are that satisfied or unsatisfied in that aspect.
This will point you to the right goals you need to set to reach level 10 and be able to set your big goals.
2. Write your goals down.
The first thing you need is giving you a few minutes to dream big. Fly away and let your heart speak, don’t censor yourself, just dream for a little bit.
Write them down and when you are done look at them and using what you learn so far choose a 3 to for important to you that you think could be turned into S.M.A.R.T goals.
My suggestion is, setting no more than 3-4 big goals so it’s more controllable. Setting way too many goals might lead to overwhelm and frustration.
Remember that is super important to set them S.M.A.R.T. As specific as possible. You need to be able to measure your progress. Actionable so you can break them down into action steps. Make them realistic, something that you know you can achieve. And finally, timely so you know exactly when you should be achieving it by and every single action step as well.
3. Break them down.
Each goal should be divided into easy, simple, and manageable action steps, pieces that when done consistently, will slowly but surely form the bigger picture.
Your big yearly goals can be divided into 3-4 action steps. Then each action step can be divided into monthly smaller goals. Those can also be divided into action steps spread through weekly actions and then daily objectives or baby steps.
Smaller actions, tasks or pieces are more easily accomplished and sets you in the motivational mindset you need to keep going.
4. Hold yourself accountable
Consider sharing your goals with someone important to you, posting your goals on social media, sharing them with an accountability partner, or even (if you can) hiring a coach to help guide and support you throughout your process.
This, in most cases, creates the urge to stay on track, a feeling of commitment. You can even set consequences for cases when you don’t achieve certain action steps.
5. Keep track, tweak and improve each action step.
Keeping track of your progress is key. It’s like your staircase. Your big goal is up there and each tread is your action step.
Every time you go up a tread or are not able to, you need to take a look at what you’ve done, how far you have come, what happened. Decide if you need to tweak a little or make a pivot.
As much as we want to achieve our goals and how much we are committed to them, we can’t control everything and we don’t always know what the future holds.
This is super important to understand. Along with committing in a realistic way to our plans and working as hard as we can to achieve our goals, we also have to be willing to be flexible and recognize when it’s time to make a pivot many times in order to let go of our “good” plans to make room for something even better.
One thing is for sure, never change the big goals if you believe in them. But be willing to always change the strategy, adjust the action steps so you can achieve your goal.
Don’t be scared to fail, don’t feel like you HAVE to win this or achieve it at all costs.
It’s ok to fail and be ok with that.
Step back for a minute, analyze your steps, define what could be done differently, adjust your path and go again!
6. Reward yourself.
It’s a reality that we need 2 things to achieve goals: determination and motivation. In order to keep the motivation alive, you need to reward yourself for your accomplishments.
Having a reward system is beneficial in at least two aspects: first, you recognize that you did a good job in the past and second, you set yourself up to accomplish more since you know you’ll be getting a reward afterward in the future.
7. Commit to learning.
This might not be the usual advice but in lots of cases, accomplishing goals requires learning new things, honing new skills and apply new strategies.
Times changes and everything with it so we need to be open to learn new things in order to accomplish our goals. No matter how much we know about something, there’s always room to improve and get better, and finding ways to do that is a big part of achieving our goals.
8. Develop habits
I have mentioned before that habits are one of the most important parts of any organization system. Setting goals is pretty much organizing the steps and processes to achieve them.
Unless your goals and actions are in line and unless you execute, review, and improve on a regular basis, your goals will remain unaccomplished.
For this reason, setting and accomplishing goals require implementing systems and habits that work for you, instead of against you.
If you’ve made it this far to the end of this post, congratulations! That was a whole lot of information! But hopefully, this system of planning will be helpful to someone other than just me, and we can all work on being more productive together!
Feel free to snag your Free Goal Setting Planner Sample by clicking on the button below or if you are ready for the Full Experience you can Buy The Meaningful Life Goal Setting Planner right here!
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Til' next time...