Setting goals can be one of the best things you can do while on your journey to success. They provide you with focus and direction to ensure you are going to prosper, no matter what gets in your way. By setting goals, you know the exact direction your life is going in and you know whether you are making progress towards your ideal outcome.
Unfortunately, a lot of goals get set and not many are actually accomplished. One of the key ways to ensure you accomplish your goal is to know how to set them. You might be aware that you are at point A now and you know you want to get to point B, but do you have reasonable steps in place to get there?
1. The Goal Needs To Be Important To You
This is the main reason why it is so important to set your own goals, instead of letting someone else do it for you. They need to be really important to you to spark the motivating required to reach them.
If they seem irrelevant to you, it's unlikely you will ever get round to reaching it... I don't blame you either! Time is money...Why would you waste time reaching a goal that seems unimportant?
By setting goals that light up a spark inside of you, you're going to be reaching them quicker and quicker. If you set unimportant goals, you might not reach them and this will feel de-motivated (even if you didn't care too much for the goal anyway!). This lack of motivation might have a knock on effect to your other goals since it could cause you to lose focus.
2. Make An Actionable Plan
Instead of just considering this huge, daunting goal, consider how you will get there. Write down smaller, 'mini' goals on the way there so you know you are making progress and heading in the right direction. It will also help you to stay more motivated.
I like to set long, medium and short term goals. My ultimate goal is the long term goal, the others are stepping stones to keep me on track on my journey there. I tend to be more flexible with those as new opportunities arise.
3. Set A Deadline
Without having a deadline, you won't feel any kind of urgency. Having some kind of urgency will increase you drive and determination and stop you forgetting about your goal.
Is this your 5 year goal? Maybe it's your monthly goal? Get clear on when you are planning on accomplishing that goal and make sure you are staying on track by using your mini goals.
4. Celebrate The Small Successes
Now we have a long term goal and a short term stepping stones, we need to keep that motivation as high as possible. It is completely normal for motivation to drop from time to time - everyone experiences this!
By celebrating the small successes, we will feel more motivated to reach the next success and know that we are making progress so it's just a matter of time before that larger goal is within reach. It could be as simple as treating yourself to a glass of wine midweek because you deserve it for making such great progress (who would say no to a chardonnay?!).
5. Prepare For Obstacles & Be Flexible
Life is not always as straight forward as most of us would like... That would make it boring though, right?! The chances are that you will hit a few bumps in the road on your journey to achieving this goal.
Be prepared for this. When you set the goal, consider the challenges you might face. This is going to be specific to you and your goal but some more general challenges could include you getting sick and needing time off, an unexpected bill or you accidentally made a mistake (everyone does!).
Now consider what you will do when these challenges occur. It's important to be flexible with your goals. Instead of getting frustrated because you have fallen way too far off schedule because of some stupid winter cold, accept the fact it is out of your control and adapt to this new change. Evaluate your goals and set new deadlines if you need to. This is a much better approach than letting frustration and anger diminish your motivation to reach the end goal.
Would you give up your long term goal because of a month's delay? Then you would never reach it! Surely it's better to just reach it a month later than give up altogether?!
Keep in mind that even though goals are incredibly helpful, the journey can be just as valuable (if not more valuable) than the outcome. You might be over the moon about getting your first client for your business, but the lessons you learnt on the way there will stay with you and help you forever.