How To Set Goals You Will Actually Achieve
Why are goals important?
Goals set a clear path that everyone understands. Without defined goals, you won't have a clear picture of what you want to achieve, who can help you or when you can achieve it by. You might have the best idea on the planet, but if you don't turn it into a goal and define all the required steps, it will still only be an idea.
I have included some templates at the bottom of the page to help you plan your goals much faster.
Goal setting basics
In the purest form, a goal is a statement of intent. I intend to do the following. The better the statement, the more chances of you starting and completing it.
Bad goal statement example:
"I want to make money". A pointless goal. It is too broad with no predefined outcome. It is just a statement you make while having some more cake.
A better goal statement example:
"I want to make X amount of money by a predefined date". This goal statement has a predefined outcome against a set date in the future. You have a much higher chance of achieving it if what you want to achieve is realistic.
So how do you set a goal that you will achieve?
Like everything in life, the critical ingredient is the amount of effort you put in. After all, if you aren't willing to put in some effort in setting a goal how are you possibly going to achieve it? The effort often involves learning new skills where needed, including others and above all being consistent in the execution.
You start with the goal summary or outline.
I want to achieve the following by this date. You don't have to go into minor details here, what you want is to every time you read the statement to see the outcome in your mind.
"I want to lose 10kg of fat by the end of August."
"I want to buy a new Mercedes SLC 180 AMG roadster in silver with black interior in the next six months."
"I want to move to a three bedroom semi detached house in Finchley near Akiva school before the next intake."
Once you have the statement done the real work starts, we are now going into the details. This part can take from a few days to a few weeks to complete depending on the complexity of your goal.
Why do you want to achieve this goal?
How will it make your life better?
How will it make others lives better?
If you don't have a reason for wanting to achieve a goal why are you wasting your time? Doing something because your spouse/mother/friend wants you is not a reason! You need to do this because it is what you genuinely want to do.
When do you want to achieve your goal?
Not setting a proper deadline is one of the biggest reasons why goals never get achieved. Make sure the timeline is achievable not just a date you fancy. Look around, see who else has achieved a goal similar to yours and how long it took them. If we look at the weight loss example; it is realistic to lose a half a kilogram (pound) a week and keep it off. If you want to lose five kilograms, it will take roughly ten weeks.
When can you work on it?
Just as important as the deadline. You have to allocate time to this goal. You may be juggling various other goals at the same time, and if you don't allocate time slots when to work on this, it will fall behind or not even get done. As you go through your goal needs, you will often have to revisit this step. Can you only allocate an hour a day on the goal? How will this affect your overall deadline?
Weight loss example:
Every Monday, Wednesday and Friday morning: four-kilometre run.
Tuesday and Thursday at 6.15am: Yoga
Saturday: Outdoor activities with the little ones.
Every meal: NWSS (No wheat, sugar or starch)
Who can help you with this goal?
For more complex goals you often need to get a team together with specific skills and talents. Don't try and do it all yourself. Focus on the parts you understand and get a team member or members to do the parts you don't understand.
Get a goal buddy so you can compare notes and tips. Having others involved even just for support and encouragement will make your goal easier to achieve.
Do you need a mentor or teacher to guide you through the goal?
Learning from others will make it so much easier. They have done it and made the mistakes, so you don't have to.
Do you need someone to hold you accountable?
I often do. Having a partner/friend/colleague/parent push you helps you through those times when you are just feeling lazy or overwhelmed.
What do I need to do to achieve this goal?
What steps and tasks need to be completed to achieve this goal?
What are the measurable objectives?
Break it down into little pieces with clearly defined milestones. Go in too as much detail as possible.
What options are available to me?
Don't just go with option A. Look at various options that will bring you to your desired outcome.
What new skills do I need to learn to achieve this goal?
The day you stop learning, is the day you might as well lie down and let them cover you with dirt. Game over. You lose. It doesn't matter what your goal is you need to learn new skills or refresh your current skillset. Often you only need to know enough about a skillset so that you can communicate and set objectives for the person or team that has to do the task for you.
Optional. Do you need to be at a specific location to complete this goal?
Goal outlines are the easiest way to plan a goal. You can either download an Excel version or click on the G Sheets version and save to your drive.
Let me know your thoughts and what methods you use to achieve goals.