Think about a goal you’ve set for yourself. Maybe your goal was to lose some weight and start exercising. Perhaps you wanted a better job or a better attitude about life. Now, consider whether your goal was achieved. For many of us, there is a mix of objectives that we’ve set for ourselves. Some we’ve achieved, while others have fallen by the wayside. This is not arbitrary. Goals that are met often have many of the same characteristics. Here are 8 things to consider when setting your goals that will put you on the path of success:
1. Is your goal measurable?
A goal of losing weight or getting a college education is different than a goal of losing 15 pounds by December 1 or enrolling in business courses in the fall at your local college. The difference is that the goal becomes measurable. You can easily calculate how much weight you need to lose each week to reach your goal. You can research what steps you need to take to make sure your application is accepted so that you can enroll for fall courses. Putting yourself on a schedule and measuring your progress keeps you on track.
2. Why do you want to reach your goal?
Consider why achieving goals is important to you. Your reason for pursuing something should be personal to you. If you decide to run a marathon because a magazine article said it was a good idea, you’re going to be less invested in the process than if it’s something you want to do to personally challenge yourself. This is true of anything you decide to do.
3. Keep it simple
Let’s say you decide you want to lose 20 pounds. All at once you decide to slash your calories, cut out sugar, exercise for three hours per day, not eat after 6:00 at night, and begin an advanced yoga class. Any of these things can be considered a great goal to achieve. Piling them on yourself all at once may be daunting and may mean that you give up on all of them. Simplify by setting smaller goals and achieving them one at a time.
4. Set a goal that you can experience with your senses
Deciding to do something like being more money-wise is a great goal, but what does it actually mean in terms of tangibility? Outline this goal in terms of what your senses will experience. You want to see bigger numbers in your bank account. You want to run a 10k because you want to feel stronger, harder muscles in your legs.
5. Talk about your goal
Sharing our goals automatically makes us accountable. Tell your family and friends about what you’ve decided to do. You can bet the next time you see them, they’ll ask about it and about how you’re doing reaching it. The thought of that accountability is enough to keep many on track!
6. Write it down
This can help in a number of ways. First, when we are in a goal-setting mind set, it’s often because we’re especially motivated or inspired to change. It’s easy to forget that state of mind later on. This gives you record of how you felt and can help you get back to that motivated place. It’s also a great way to track your progress. How far did you run today compared to two weeks ago? Are you on track to keep your weight loss goal? Have you managed to stay on budget? If not, what can you change?
7. Break it down
Regardless of what you are trying to accomplish, breaking the goal down into steps is crucial. Managing goals by dividing them into manageable chunks can be the deciding factor in whether you achieve goals or not. Make a list of everything that you’ll need to do or change in order to bring your goal to fruition. Then break down each of these items into steps.
8. Allow yourself to make mistakes
Any successful goal was reached through a process of things that worked and things that didn’t. Allow yourself to falter without completely letting go of your goal.
Now go get it! Make your dreams a reality.