Goal setting can be an important way to keep yourself focused on what is important to you. Those who set goals for themselves achieve more meaningful success in their personal and professional lives, and have a clear vision of the life they want to live. However, it can be difficult or even impossible, to keep a goal on track without proper planning.
Using a proper goal setting framework, writing your goals down, and continually adjusting your goals, will allow you to accomplish more and keep yourself from failing.
Create Your Goals
Studies show that hastily made goals (like New Year’s resolutions for example) fail approximately 80% of the time. This may lead to discouraging you from setting goals in the future.
Think of it like this: If a goal is your destination, then having a SMART goal is your roadmap to getting there.
Write It Down
Try using a template to see if your goals meet the SMART framework:
“I want to achieve [specific goal], before [specific date]. This goal is important to me because [describe how this goal is relevant to your life plan]. I will use [measurable scale] to track my progress.”
Dr. Gail Mathews, a psychology professor at Dominican University of California, completed a study on goal setting. She found that 70% of the participants who sent weekly updates to a friend on their progress reported successful goal achievement. Writing your goals down will train your brain to keep your goals top of mind.
You will notice that “achievable” is missing from the template above. You may have to do some research to determine if what you’re asking of yourself is achievable. For example, if your goal is to lose weight, losing 15 pounds in three days is probably not going to be realistic. Losing 15 pounds in three months might be a better starting goal.
Reassess Your Goals Early and Often
Reviewing your goals often will allow you to determine if they are still attainable, and if they still make sense for your life plan. Look at your goals and ask, “Does achieving this goal still bring me closer to the best version of myself?” If not, consider altering your plan. If you fail to achieve a goal, ask yourself why you failed. Did you give yourself enough time?
As you achieve milestones related to your goals, continue to set new ones. As successful businessman Harvey Mackay said, “A great accomplishment shouldn’t be the end of the road, just the starting point for the next leap forward.”
Summing it Up
Accomplishing your goals should ultimately lead you towards your vision of the best version of yourself. If you have had problems in the past achieving your goals, using the SMART framework may be your answer. Keep your goals top of mind by writing them down, and don’t forget to reassess your goals to ensure they still make sense for you. Don’t be afraid to fail, and remember to continually set new goals as you accomplish the original ones that you set for yourself.