Achieve Your Life Goals Wisely with These Goal Setting Tips
Overview Paragraph: To accomplish something, you first need to have a plan in mind, and that means setting goals and meeting objectives. These tips and strategies will help you define your goals and take steps toward achieving them. As you examine and refine your goals and measure your progress, you'll become a better person and a happier one. There's nothing more rewarding than seeing the future you envision for your life come true before your eyes.
If you really want to achieve something, you're going to have to take concrete steps to get there. That means visualizing what you want to accomplish and determining exactly what it will take to achieve your goals. It also means setting deadlines and creating milestones along the way. As you visualize your goals and accomplish them with realistic and measurable steps, these tips will help.
Define Your Goals
Goal setting could be described as making a plan, then creating the circumstances that will allow it to work. It's basically imagining a detailed vision of what you want your future to look like and creating actionable steps to make that vision come true. This will involve setting long term goals to improve your happiness, quality of life and sense of achievement. You'll also include short-term goals along the way to serve as milestones that tell you you're on the right track.
As you work to define your goals, you'll want to write down all of your ideas. It's impossible to remember every part of your plan, and making a detailed record of your goals and how you're going to achieve them will help you stay focused. It also provides a way to measure how far you've come and where you're going.
If you ever feel confused or wonder if you're following the plan as you originally intended, it will help to go back and look over what you decided in the beginning. Also, the act of writing something down makes it seem more real and gives you motivation to keep moving forward. Invest in a goal planner and keep it nearby – you won't regret it.
Examine Your Goals
Creating a plan for your life and defining the goals you want to achieve involves a lot of self-reflection. Why do you want to achieve these goals? Is your motivation to please others, or is it to be the best you can be for your own estimation of who you are? Make sure you're defining your life according to the values that matter to you. Be clear about why you want to get where you're going and how it will benefit your life.
It's best to be realistic and set goals that you know are achievable. For example, you might decide that a fitness goal is to hit the gym three times a week, rather than losing 10 pounds a month. As long as you're fulfilling the steps you've set for yourself, you're moving forward and you'll start to see results.
Decide whether your goals work together well. For instance, a goal of finding a life partner and starting a family won't mesh with making it into top management within a year. That's why you have short-term and long-term goals. While you're figuring out where you want to be ten years from now, you can also take realistic short-term steps to achieve the kind of future you're trying to create.
Formulate Your Goals
First, look at your goals according to where they fit into your life. This includes defining professional or career aspirations separately from personal goals like spiritual and physical ones. Generally, career and financial goals tend to fit well in a five or ten-year plan while personal achievement goals are more suited to short-term planning. However, there are elements of both in every goal you set.
When you first start writing down your goals, remember that this is just a rough draft. Write as many goals as you can come up with, and include specifics when possible. After you create the big picture of what you want to achieve, you can refine this into your top several goals and make sure they fit together well.
In order to make realistic goals and achieve them, you'll have to make room in your life for them. Your goal planner will help with this. Make sure that you keep a record of important dates on your calendar because these dates will act as landmarks for how far you've come and how much you still need to achieve. They'll also be a record of how much time you're actually giving to making your goals into realities.
What is the goal, how do you want to accomplish it, and how long will that take? These are the questions to ask yourself when goal setting. Part of figuring out how to get there it is setting concrete milestones that show the progress you're making. Break each goal down into steps to be accomplished in a logical order. This is where it helps to coordinate your goals and figure out which ones complement each other.
You'll use your time to best effect by working on more than one goal at a time. For example, if you have the goal of walking more and the goal of being more sociable, you can walk in your own neighborhood and take a few minutes to stop and chat with the neighbors. That gives you a chance to get to know them better at the same time that you're getting some exercise.
Decide on a timeline for each goal and include markers in your planner that give you a sense of how much you've accomplished in a particular amount of time. Trips, special events, birthdays and holidays are all milestones that give you the opportunity to look back and see how much you've accomplished.
Life is all about learning, and as you take this journey you'll learn the best ways to use positive energy to reach your goals. Make to-do lists as a regular way to reach short-term goals. Just make sure that they're things you can reasonably accomplish in a short amount of time, and don't make the lists too long.
In order to achieve what you want in life, you also have to learn to take good care of yourself. Arrange your life so that you get enough sleep at night, regular exercise that you enjoy, and access to healthy food. Time for yourself, quietly reading, playing video games or just watching the sun set with a beer in your hand, is a necessity.
Reaching your life goals, and even the milestones along the way, involves personal growth on your part. Take a look at others who are staying on track and working toward their goals to see what you can learn from them. Start your day with some quiet time to visualize your goals and the accomplishments you've made so far. Be thankful for what you've already achieved.
Refine Your Goals
Achieving your goals is an ongoing process, and they won't be immutable. The task of refining your goals involves deciding which ones are the most vital and whether they mesh with your other goals. You may have to do some shifting around to make sure that the high-priority goals get the attention they need. Using your time well and wisely will help you give attention to the goals that matter the most.
One way to prioritize your goals is to work on having 'SMART' goals. This acronym stands for:
- Specific – a clear and well-defined objective
- Measurable – milestones that will show progress
- Attainable – a realistic goal that takes into account your resources
- Relevant – a goal that fits in with the overall plan for your life
- Time-based – an objective that has a starting and ending point
The SMART system of examining your goals will help you determine how well they mesh with each other and whether they're logically achievable. Once you've laid out your goals, use your energy to make sure that you're meeting them. Don't waste time on things that don't give you pleasure or help you move forward in life. Think hard about how you spend your time and which parts of your life can be cut down to make room for what's important to you.
Enlist the Help of Others
Don't be reluctant to share your journey with supportive friends and family. Let them know about the goals you're striving to reach. Life's a lot easier when you have encouragement for your successes and understanding when you don't quite get there. This also adds a dimension of accountability to others, and that gives you even more motivation to make it.
Spend time with friends that are also trying to improve themselves so that you can support each other. This is an opportunity for all of you to bounce ideas off each other and get some help in clarifying goals. You'll also be able to learn from each other's mistakes and successes.
Measure Your Goals
Having a written record of your goals is one of the most useful tools for measuring them. A planner/journal helps you track where you're at in the process. For goals with specific progress markers, it's a great feeling to cross off accomplishments. Reading your goal tracker is also a reminder of how to achieve your goals as you go along.
For example, if one of your goals is to spend less money eating out, make sure that you keep track of how many times you do it and how much it costs. Seeing the amount of money you've saved each month might encourage you to eat at home even more often. Keeping track of the success you've achieved is the fuel that fires your continued motivation to keep going.
As you read and write in your journal/planner, make notes about the good things you've accomplished. When you feel proud of yourself, write it down so you'll remember. This positive encouragement will still be there when your goals are off the rails and life's not as rewarding. Going back and seeing the progress you've made and the good things you accomplished is an uplifting exercise to help you get through those times.
When you achieve a goal, even completing a to-do list, it's time for a reward. It doesn't have to cost a lot or be a big thing. Give yourself an hour of surfing the net for pure pleasure, buy a double-shot caramel latte, or get that wallet you've been needing. Along with paying attention to the good things about yourself, you need to give yourself a pat on the back for your accomplishments.
As much as achieving goals is important to you, the focus should be on how far you've come more than the end result. The journey toward getting to where you want to be is the most vital part of goal-setting because that's living your life. Rewards are important because it's not healthy or productive to always deprive yourself in expectation of future accomplishments.
So, go ahead and buy the golf clubs when you get the promotion you've been waiting for. Take your date out to a fancy restaurant and a play, and don't forget to enjoy it yourself. Every time you reach a milestone toward your eventual goal, it's time to celebrate your progress.
Reevaluate Your Goals
Nothing is static in life, and that includes your goals. Over time, you might need to tweak some of them and abandon others altogether, and that's okay. Living life is a dynamic process, and nothing stays the same forever. Having a plan makes the desired outcome much more likely, but it has to be a flexible plan that evolves along with you.
Start by examining the goals and desires you initially came up with. Are your aspirations in life still basically the same or have they shifted? Importantly, evaluate whether the things you've achieved so far have made you happy. Look over your notes and track what worked for you and what didn't.
Once you've done this, you're ready to begin again with your new set of objectives and goals. They may be substantially the same as before, or they may have evolved along with the rest of your life. In the meantime, you've made progress toward your vision of the future.
Goals Lead to a Better Life
The life that is examined is far more likely to be one that makes you happy. Everyone has an idea of what they want to achieve, but sometimes they don't have a clear picture of how to get there. Remember that, even if you don't achieve the goals you initially set, you've still been living a life that's mindful of what's important to you. Chances are, you're doing much better overall than you would have been without any kind of plan.
One of the constants of life is change, and we need to be able to deal with that change in the most positive way possible. Being always aware of where we're at and where we're headed is an important way to steer our lives in the right direction. Just remember that "when a man has no goals or direction, then life chooses the direction for him." (Sanford Ashley, primermagazine.com)