i've never been much of a goal-setter. in my mind, the best way to reach my goals was through random chance and osmosis, rather than any sort of deliberate action. but after years of trying this approach—and failing—i finally realized that it's vital to set goals if you want to succeed.
have a concrete goal.
make sure it's specific (e.g., "I want to lose 20 pounds") rather than general (e.g., "I want to be healthier"). and make sure you can measure your progress toward that goal (e.g., by taking measurements and photos).
also, make sure it's achievable and realistic for you--if not, lower the bar until it feels achievable enough that failure isn't an option! that way, when things get tough in the future, you'll have something to fall back on. and finally: make sure it's timely--don't set yourself up for failure by setting goals too far into the future; they'll just become more abstract as time passes by.
break down your goals into smaller steps.
if you're trying to lose weight, for example, it's best to break down that goal into something more manageable like: "i will eat two servings of vegetables every day" or "i will walk 10 minutes on the treadmill each morning before work." this way you can easily make sure that you're making progress towards your larger goal at every step along the way--and make sure that those steps are measurable (e.g., i lost two pounds this week).
set a deadline.
setting a deadline is one of the most important things you can do to make sure your goals are achievable. a goal without a deadline is just a wish, and it's easy to forget about wishes when they're not constantly on your mind.
setting a date will help keep your goals top-of-mind because it gives them an endpoint, which makes them feel more real than if they had no timeline attached at all. the closer we get to our deadlines, the more motivated we become--and this motivation can have a big impact on whether or not we achieve our goals!
clearly define what success looks like to you.
it's important to define success in terms of your own goals. don't compare yourself to other people's goals, and don't worry about what they think of you. instead, be specific about what exactly you want to achieve and why it matters to you.
don't worry about how long it will take you to achieve your goal--just focus on making a plan, for now, that includes small steps that are easily achievable within a reasonable amount of time (e.g., "i will read one book per month" rather than "i'm going to write five novels by July 1st").
plan for setbacks and how will you handle them?
if you're anything like me, when you start something new, it can be hard to know what to expect. you might have a vague idea of what success looks like, but there are no guarantees that things will go smoothly.
this is why it's important to plan for setbacks. setbacks are inevitable--they happen all the time and they happen because we're human beings who make mistakes and get distracted by other things in life (like work or family). the key question isn't whether or not these setbacks will occur; instead, ask yourself how will i handle them if they do?
a good way to think about this is through the lens of goal-setting: what would happen if i failed at reaching my goals? would this mean that i failed overall? or would it simply mean that one step along the way didn't go according to plan? how would failing affect me personally--and could those feelings help me learn from my experience so that next time around i can reach my ultimate destination even faster than before!
you can make goals that stick without fail!
the key to making your goals stick is to set realistic and achievable ones. this means both being specific about what you want, as well as breaking down the steps needed to get there into manageable chunks. you should also have a deadline in mind for each step so that your progress is visible and measurable along the way.
finally, define success in terms of outcomes rather than results: what would it mean for this goal to be successful? what will success look like? for example: "i'll know my business is successful when i have 100 new clients by july 1st."
we hope that these tips will help you set goals that you can stick with. remember, it's important to have a concrete goal and make sure it's specific, measurable, achievable, and broken down into smaller steps. you should also set a deadline for each step along the way towards success--and plan for setbacks along the way (because they will happen). if all else fails, remember: failure is just another opportunity to learn something new!
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