What can I say about goal setting? We have all been there with work-related goal setting when it comes to our performance reviews. That dreaded process of setting goals to discuss with your manager for the next year, most of which are just words to fill the page and complete the task. Every year, asking yourself how are my SMART goals defined this time?
I’m not talking about that kind of goal!
I’m talking about the ones you actually want to set for yourself and want to accomplish! The goal or goals can be related to your job, to your family, to your health, to anything. Personally, I want to focus on some of the health changes that I have been having, as well as balancing my regular job and my business here.
Now all of these plans sound great, but what does it all actually mean? How do we take it from theory into practice for real life? With these goal setting tips!
Let’s take the example of “I want to clean out my closet”. If yours looks anything like mine, that is a daunting goal — to the point where I’m unlikely to even start. I mean, what are the Christmas bows doing next to my jeans that don’t fit? Seriously!
Let’s look at SMART goals defined!
* Specific * Measurable * Achievable * Relevant * Time-bound
S — I want to clean out my closet so that I can see my clothing more easily.
M — I want to eliminate 20 items from my stuff that I no longer need or use.
A — I will need to gather my supplies and set aside the time to get it done.
R — This will help streamline my morning and get me out the door faster.
T — I want to accomplish this within the next 30 days.
It also helps to envision the final result. Right now, you’re on Island A and you want to be on Island B.
Island A is the state of your closet right now. Shoes that you bought 10 years ago that you haven’t worn in 8 years; a bridesmaid’s dress you wore once in a wedding you can barely remember; and let’s not forget those Christmas bows. How did they get in there anyway?
Island B is the land of color coordinated coat hangers and perfectly aligned pairs of shoes and a shelf display of handbags. (Okay, maybe that’s an exaggeration). But Island B could realistically be the clothing you wear regularly hanging up nicely and no more digging through those bridesmaids’ dresses to find the sweater you need for work this morning.
When you imagine living on Island B, what does it look like? What does it feel like? Are your mornings a little easier? Do you have a better idea what to add to your wardrobe when you go shopping? Can you breathe just a little easier when you walk into that closet?
Once you’ve defined your SMART goals, you can keep that image to motivate you to get the goal accomplished!
While the closet goal is a relatively simple one, some goals are more involved and can have more steps or tasks. If you are ready to achieve all your goals, big or small, check out this amazing goal planner made just for you and all the things you want to accomplish!
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the meaning of SMART goals?
The general meaning of SMART goals is to set realistic goals that can be defined, measured, and accomplished. When goals are too vague, they tend to get lost. But when you outline the terms of the goal, it becomes more real and more achievable.
What are the 5 parts of SMART?
How do you write a SMART goal?
Smart – The who, what, when, where, why, and which of the goal you are setting.
Measurable – What type of metrics will you use to measure your progress and your completion?
Achievable – How will you accomplish your goal? Will you need a new skill? Will you need help?
Relevant – How does this individual goal line up with your overall ideas and objectives?
Time-bound – Set a realistic time limit. If it’s a large goal, make sure to break it down into milestones.
What are some SMART goal examples?
S – I want to earn a promotion at work.
M – I will seek new projects and certifications.
A – My boss already mentioned a possibility.
R – I want to keep my career moving upward.
T – I will complete the project and the certification and apply within 4 months.
S – I want to lose 25 pounds.
M – I’ll track of my food, exercise, and weight.
A – I am in good health to start this regimen.
R – I want to have more energy for activities.
T – I have already RSVP-ed for my class reunion in 6 months.
Hmmm… Goal setting for next year… I am not actually a resolutions type of person (I know, I know). I think it can be intimidating and can end up being counterproductive when you break the resolution. Instead, I like to set goals for myself. If I have an off day for one of my goals, nothing is “broken” like a resolution. Instead, I can simply try again the next day. I think it makes me feel like my motion forward is working towards something instead of away from something.
It helps to narrow down the focus when you first start thinking about your goals for the next year. The easiest place to start is to look at the different parts of your life.
Back in May, we spent quite some time looking at financial goals. Have you been thinking about your financial goals for next year?
Maybe you want to work on reducing debt or building your savings account. Are there student loans that need to be paid off? Are your spending habits getting out of hand? Now is the time to set your financial goals! And it doesn’t have to be a big one — pay off one small credit card balance; save $5 a week; send the credit card company an extra $20 a month.
Earlier this year, my mom moved from Fort Collins, Colorado to the Texas hill country. And I am so excited to have her close by. She’s only a three-hour drive now instead of a three-hour flight! I’ve made a point to go visit one weekend a month since she got back to Texas. (Of course, in February with the polar vortex, the weekend turned into eleven days but that’s another story.)
What are your family goals? Do you want to make it to more of your child’s soccer games? Do you want to reconnect with the cousin that lives across the country? Do you want to cheer on your nephew’s new football team?
For the most part, family goals involve one thing — spending more time with them. Whoever “them” is to you!
I thoroughly enjoyed my book club at the public library before the pandemic, but it shut down in March of last year and has yet to resume. (I also loved the monthly Monday night of coloring!) But as much as I miss the activity of reading (or coloring), I greatly miss the social part as well.
We recently visited the Dallas Arboretum with friends, and it was so much fun to walk and talk and laugh. Zoom was a great way to stay in touch when necessary, but I think we’ve all missed the human connection. It just isn’t the same over the computer screen.
Do you have social goals for next year? Join a new group? Set up monthly dinner dates with your friends? Try a new skill through a continuing education class?
Decluttering is always a goal for me. I don’t know how it happens, but I will take a bundle of items to Goodwill and then *poof* something happens and my tee shirts have reproduced in my closet. And let’s be honest, that really gets out of control at the holiday time.
What would you like to declutter from your house? Are the personal care products out of control in your bathroom? Is your inbox full of emails you have no intention of ever reading? (My sweet friend Myra, I’m looking at you and your 18,000 unread emails — no exaggeration). Or are the general piles of stuff just getting to you?
There are studies that show clutter can increase levels of the stress hormone cortisol. Being disorganized can also make it harder to maintain your focus.
Health and Self-Care
About a month ago, a blood test at my doctor’s office confirmed something that I already suspected, that there are some changes going on in my physical health. So personally, my primary health goal for next year is to learn more about this and some alternatives to the standard treatments that I am not able to use.
On a related note, I think my self-care goals will include trying to get back into yoga and trying to tame the frizz in my hair!
Health and self-care have taken such a winding road in the last couple of years. They’ve taken a beating with all the ups and downs and emotional strain; but they’ve also become quitter the spotlight topics for many people.
So what do you want to focus on for your health and self-care? Exercise more regularly? Eat more fruits and vegetables? Get haircuts at the “recommended” six-week intervals? Ultimately, make sure that your health and self-care goals make you feel like the best you that you can be. It is essential for meeting any other goals you will set!
How to set realistic goals
Goal setting is essential for anyone who wants to build their dream life. Having clear goals helps you stay focused and motivated, track your progress, and measure success.
It’s also a great way to develop the self-discipline and consistency needed to make positive changes in your life.
When you set meaningful goals, they become easier to achieve because you have something tangible to work towards that will help you break bad habits or create new good habits. In addition, with goal setting, small successes add up over time, leading to big results in your transformation.
Setting goals is an important part of personal and professional growth, but it’s important to set realistic goals that are achievable and sustainable. Unrealistic goals inevitably lead to disappointment and a lack of motivation, while realistic goals provide a sense of accomplishment and direction.
Knowing when a goal is realistic is all about setting sensible expectations for yourself. Start by defining the goal, breaking it into achievable steps, and assessing how much time and effort each step will take.
Here are several strategies for setting realistic goals – leading to success and fulfillment.
Know Your Values
Before you set any goals, it’s important to identify your values and priorities. What is most essential to you in your personal and professional life? Aligning your goals with your values ensures that your goals are meaningful and fulfilling.
Identify Any Roadblocks
When you set goals that are within reach, it’s more likely that you will succeed in achieving them. Always consider any external factors that may impact reaching your goal, such as finances or resources. Knowing this information will ensure that your goals are balanced and within reach.
Make Specific and Measurable Goals
Rather than setting vague goals like, “I want to be successful,” set specific and measurable goals that you can track your progress towards. For example, “I want to increase my income by 25% within the next year by finding a higher paying job or starting a side business.” Specific and measurable goals provide a clear direction and allow you to track your progress.
Make Sure Your Goals Are Attainable
It’s important to set goals that are challenging but also attainable. A goal that is too difficult or unrealistic is demotivating and leads to frustration. Consider your current resources and skills when setting goals, and make sure they are practical given your current circumstances.
Make Sure Your Goals Are Time Bound
Give yourself a timeline for achieving your goals. A timeline creates a sense of urgency and provides a deadline for reaching your goals. Having said that, make sure you give yourself enough time to achieve your goals rather than setting unrealistic deadlines that may lead to unnecessary stress.
Break Big Goals Down into Smaller Baby Steps
Large, long-term goals can seem daunting. To make your goals more manageable, break them down into smaller steps or tasks that you can work on consistently. This can help you progress towards your goals and feel accomplished.
Setting realistic goals is an important strategy for your personal and professional growth. To ensure your goals are realistic, identify your values and set specific and measurable goals that are attainable, with a sensible timeline that allows you to live a complete and mostly balanced life. And remember to be patient with yourself. Take time to celebrate your progress every step of the way. After all, that period when you’re doing the stuff to reach your goals is actually your life.
Your no-nonsense guide to setting and achieving your goals
Do you know how important setting goals are to achieving success at anything? Do you set goals? Are they effective? Do you have written goals? If you answered no these questions, you aren’t alone. Research has shown that 90 percent of people don’t have written goals.
Think of it like this. You go to the supermarket without a list. You roam the aisles, grabbing whatever catches your eyes. When you get home, you realize you’ve forgotten half the things you need. So now you have to make another trip to the store. Not only have you wasted time, but money as well, on things you don’t need. Having goals without writing them down is like shopping without a list.
The one thing all successful people, whether they are an athlete, a business owner or someone who has lost weight and kept it off, have in common is that they set goals for themselves.
Many people work hard but don’t seem to get anywhere. They feel as if they’re adrift, floating from one day to the next.
A key reason for this is because they haven’t taken the time to think about what they want in life and they don’t set any formal goals. It’s kind of like starting out on trip without any idea of where you are going. It’s probably not a good idea.
Goal setting is powerful. It puts you in the process of thinking of your ideal future and what motivates you to work toward that vision. Goals are your roadmap to your future.
Creating this goals roadmap is the process which helps you choose what you want in life, where you want to go and who you want to be. When you know precisely what you want to achieve, you know where you need to focus your efforts to achieve the end result.
Having goals will help you quickly spot when you are going in the wrong direction or the distractions that lead you astray.
So how do you set goals that you can achieve and how can you avoid failure? That’s where this guide can help.
Welcome to the No-Nonsense Guide to Setting and Achieving Goals report. This guide is designed to take you from floating through life to setting and achieving goals in a simple to understand, easy to implement format. Get ready – this guide will move you to set goals for change.
What you’re about to learn in this guide:
Why you need goals
Why goals fail
How to successfully set goals
Tips from the experts
How to follow through
Before we get to the heart of goal setting, we should look at more reasons why you need goals to succeed in everything you do.
Why You Need Goals
“Without goals, and plans to reach them, you are like a ship that has set sail with no destination.”– Fitzhugh Dodson
Almost all successful achievements begin with setting a goal. It’s the step that motivates you to take the first step toward what you want.
You probably know people who have a passive approach in life. They don’t set any goals. They just go through their life, day-by-day, doing the same thing from year to year. They don’t set a goal to achieve anything and that is exactly what they achieve.
The following list gives you 5 more reasons you need goals in life.
To move you in a focused direction
Turn big dreams into small steps
Hold you accountable
Goals help us believe in ourselves
Give you a picture of what you really want
Finally, goals are necessary if you want to succeed at anything. They act as a map to guide you to what you truly desire and hope to achieve in your life. You use goals to reach personal, spiritual and professional success so you are living life to the fullest.
Why Goals Fail
Now that you know why you need goals, setting the right ones and meeting them can be somewhat of a problem. More often than not we fail to meet some of the goals we set for ourselves. There are several major reasons for this.
Vague goals that lead to setting the wrong priorities
Listening to the wrong people
Our own selfish acts keep us from achieving our goals
Negative thoughts and fears
Lack higher purpose
Working on too many things at once
Not having a plan
Not responsible and lack of commitment to the goal
Bad habits derail you
There are many reasons we seem to fail at goals. One of the biggest, of course, is the failure to set goals in the first place. Even an informal goal is better than none at all. Lack of action and following through on your goals often comes from fear. Recognizing your fear and committing to working through it will go a long way in reaching your goals.
Successfully Setting Goals
As you can see, failing at our goals is often a lot easier than achieving them. You might be asking yourself why bother setting goals if you are going to fail. You can successfully achieve your goals if you take a few steps to set up the right kinds of goals.
Those who succeed at reaching their goals all do certain things in common.
Believe in your goals
Visualize yourself having achieved the goal
Write your goals down
Commit to them
Create “SMART” goals
Specific- the goal must identify exactly what you want to accomplish in a very specific way
Measurable- the goal needs to have a measurable end result
Actionable- your goal should start with an action
Realistic- a good goal will stretch you out of your comfort zone but not be unrealistic
Time- the goal needs to have a specific date for completion
Plan of action
Review your written goals frequently
Goal-setting is not just helpful, it’s necessary to succeed in what makes you happy. Those who make consistent progress towards their goals are often happier and have more satisfied lives than those who drift through life. Successful goal setting is the guide that gets them to the end of their goal.
Tips from the Experts
It’s one thing to tell you that you need to create concrete goals. I mean, who am I to tell you they work? I searched out some experts who have used goals to make a success of themselves.
Here are some of their tips on setting and achieving goals.
“Focus and concentration are the keys to success. Focus means that you know exactly what it is that you want to accomplish and concentration requires that you dedicate yourself to doing only those things that move you toward your goal.” Brian Tracy is a top sales trainer and personal success authority.
“Set ‘bumper goals’ – so that if you finish Benchmark A, B or C – you STILL have a win and can stop or celebrate! This gave me a ‘game’ mentality and I was actually curious to see which goal I would hit first! Maybe I’m a geek, but it made my task more fun!” Carrie Wilkerson, The Barefoot Executive is a best-selling author, international speaker, award-winning podcaster, and radio guest.
“Even though you have a goal in mind that you will work tirelessly for, remember that you are human and that everyone needs a rest. You know that statement that says to adjust your oxygen mask before helping others? That is absolutely true—get your oxygen before you can give to those around you.” Mally Roncal is a makeup artist and founder and president of Mally Beauty.
“Never feel you’ve reached your goals. Don’t ever give up on your dreams, and work toward making them a reality.” José Eber is a celebrity hairstylist.
“I block out several hours every week on my calendar for ‘creative time.’ I turn off my phone and spend time writing and researching. I think it’s really important to do these weekly sessions because they provide clarity about my brand and where I want it to go; this practice can help with any goal.” Emily Morse is a sex therapist, relationship advisor, and author.
“Goals such as ‘eat more healthfully,’ ‘exercise more,’ or ‘get more fun out of life’ are vague. Make it clear to yourself what you’re expecting from yourself. Goals such as ‘bring my lunch to work every day,’ ‘take a 20-minute walk after work,’ or ‘make a lunch date with a friend every Friday’ are easy to measure.” Gretchen Rubin is the best-selling author of The Happiness Project.
“Some goals must be BIG to make you stretch and grow to your full potential. Some goals must be long-range to keep you on track and greatly reduce the possibility of short-range frustrations. Some goals must be small and daily to keep you disciplined. Some goals must be ongoing. Some goals (i.e., weight loss, sales success, education, etc.) may require analysis and consultation to determine where you are before you can set the goals. Most goals should be specific.” Zig Ziglar was a long time motivational speaker.
“A key thing with goals that I learned from Facebook is to only have one goal for a specific period of time. It helps with saying no to other distractions you will face during the year.” Noah Kagan is the founder of AppSumo, a company that connects businesses with great products that will help them succeed & writes the OkDork blog.
“Using my list of priorities as a guide, I focus on one step at a time. New ideas may be considered, but if they could get priorities out of order, they have to wait their turn. I generally jot those ideas in a project file, and then return focus to the task at hand.” Kathryn Aragon, is an award-winning copywriter, content marketer, consultant and product creator. She is also the editor of The Daily Egg, Crazy Egg’s conversion optimization blog.
Following Through to the End
Listen. You know it’s a great idea to create and write down your goals, but if you don’t follow through with them they won’t do you any good. It takes more than wishful thinking to follow through on your dreams. Learning a new skill or getting more education or motivating yourself to change the way you eat takes specific steps.
Once you know how to create strong goals and how to make a plan to follow through on each one, you’ve learned a skill that will help you succeed the rest of your life.
Differentiate between short and long-term goals
Have an accountability partner
Visualize your goals every step of the way
Break down your goals into smaller steps
Reward yourself when you reach a milestone
In everything that matters, it’s important to follow through. You wouldn’t ask someone on a date and then not show up would you? Follow through is important and can be achieved by having someone to help motivate you, breaking down your goals into small manageable steps and remembering why you are after the goal to begin with.
In the end, successfully setting goals can help you find and follow what really matters to you. Take the time to really think about what you want out of your life, your business, your health. Then write out the goals you want to achieve in the short-term and in the long-term. Make them just out of your comfort zone to help you stay motivated.
Get others who are committed to helping you succeed on board. Ask them to be your accountability partners.
Break the goals down into smaller steps.
Finally, be aware of the reasons we often fail at reaching our goals. Make sure you really want what you’re reaching for and you have a definite reason why you are pursuing it.