We’ve all heard that we need to set realistic goals to achieve the success we want. But, there’s a lot more to goal setting than just picking something we want to accomplish and moving forward. While that’s important, it’s critical to ensure that you’re setting the right goals at the right time so that you can truly be successful. Think about these questions when setting your goals:
Are You Setting Specific and Realistic Goals?
It takes a little research to ensure that a goal is realistic. If you’re not sure your goal is actually achievable, then you may need to give it a little more thought and do some more probing. Once you’ve set your goal, write it down, making sure it’s detailed and specific. You should be able to take the goal and work backward to create a step-by-step plan for success.
Are You Learning from Failure?
Often, instead of learning from failure, people give up. But the truth is, if you don’t fail sometimes, you’re not going to learn much, and it’s likely your goals are too easy.
Once you set up your schedule to reach a goal, you’ll probably notice that you’ve forgotten some steps to get to the end successfully. Don’t give up! Figure out what you missed, and learn from that mistake. It’s not even really a failure – just change the schedule and move forward.
You might find that in practice you have to rewrite all your goals and your schedule, but this is perfectly acceptable. It just takes a little practice to learn what you need and how to get there.
Do Your Goals Represent What YOU Want – Not What Someone Else Wants?
Many times we set goals based on what someone else wants or expects from us. It’s okay to do things because of someone else, but it’s just as important to make goals for our own dreams.
Make Your Goals SMART
When writing your goals, follow the principles of SMART goal setting:
- Specific: Does your goal indicate clearly what you must do?
- Measurable: Does your goal include a measurable standard so that you’ll know when it’s completed?
- Attainable: Are you confident that you can accomplish your goal?
- Realistic: Is your goal realistic?
- Time-based: Have you set a time frame for the completion of your goal?
Are You Checking in Often to Stay on Track?
Schedules are vital to successfully reach any goal. Your To-Do list pales in comparison to a well laid-out calendar of tasks and activities. That calendar will not only get you from point “A” to point “B,” but it will also help you determine where you’ve fallen off-track or what you’ve missed.
Check your calendar each morning and evening to see whether you’re sticking to your schedule and, if not, where you’re veering off-course. Do you notice a pattern? This can be helpful for making revisions to your schedule and help you be more realistic about sticking to your plan.
Are Your Goals Focused Positively?
When writing a goal, it’s important to write it in positive language. Write your goal and then study it to see if you can change the words to be more motivating. For instance, a common goal to “lose weight” may seem positive at first glance, but it might also suggest deprivation. (You know, like no more chocolate, or only bland foods.) So maybe you could try framing that goal as “improving my BMI by 10 points” or “improving my cholesterol by 10 percent.” Remember, goals must be specific and measurable.
Do You Have Too Many Goals Set at One Time?
Setting goals is important, but setting too many is counter-productive. We all have so many aspects to our life – from business to personal and points in between – that it’s very easy to get overwhelmed. Pick one personal goal and one other type and focus just on those two. When you reach those, you can add more. You don’t need to do everything today. Remember the tortoise and the hare? Slow and steady wins the race!
Do You Remind Yourself of the Goals?
Writing down your goals is crucial if you actually want to achieve them. In fact, many people start to give up their good habits because they forget their goals. Making your goals visible will help motivate and remind you to act according to your dreams.
Have You Made Your Goals a Habit?
I don’t believe that motivation is the most important factor for achieving your goals. I think the key is to plan out your behaviors. In other words, put specifics on your schedule. When and where will you act? Using the example above, don’t just write “eat healthy.” Write out EXACTLY what you will eat at each meal. And, if you plan to set up a schedule to review each night, don’t write “plan my schedule each night” write “At 9:00 p.m. every night, I’ll plan out the schedule for the next day and put it on my desk.”
Setting the right goals for yourself takes time and reflection. Give a lot of thought to WHY you’re making the goal and what reaching it will look like. If you really want to achieve those goals, make a plan for success!
Download out our cheat sheet to help you set realistic goals. Comment below to let us know if this was helpful and how you stay on track.