Life without goals can feel aimless at times and it can feel as though life is just happening to you instead of regaining control.
You might be aware of your life’s desires, but you haven’t made the necessary moves to achieve them, or you’re uncertain about the methods to reach them.
This is why goal setting is key—it can help you to plan your life and gain control. Understanding goal-setting is the first step of the process – but what exactly is goal-setting, and how can you set goals effectively?
Keep reading to learn more about effective goal setting so you can set specific and challenging goals that are meaningful for your life.
What Is Goal Setting?
Everybody has a different approach to setting goals – your goals are unique to your personality, your vision, and your lifestyle.
However, the universal meaning of a goal is identifying what exactly you want and creating a plan to achieve it. You may set yourself a time limit, and create an action plan to encourage you to reach your goal.
Goal setting is the process where you create a successful strategy in line with your vision that you plan on making a reality by committing yourself to achieving the goal.
Setting goals, whether that be short-term, or long-term goals is key to success – whether it’s a financial goal, an academic goal, a personal life goal, or any other type of goal, you’re sure to benefit from setting and reaching them.
Why Is Goal Setting Important?
All successful people have set attainable goals to achieve what they want in life – it’s important to set goals.
Whether your goal is personal, such as weight loss or becoming fluent in a new language, or a professional goal, such as getting promoted or building your network, you’re certain to benefit from setting and ultimately reaching your goals.
Personal goal setting can improve your motivation as you have a reason to work towards what you want, which ultimately gives you more direction in life.
Having goals leads you to feeling fulfilled and accomplished and not only that, but they can help you grow as a person; the process of setting and reaching goals will give you a clearer understanding of yourself.
You will learn more about your strengths and weaknesses, as well as what obstacles may be in your way.
This can help you better shape your future and improve how you set and achieve goals in the future.
How Do I Effectively Set Goals?
To set goals effectively, you have to have an understanding of yourself and what you want in life. What exactly is goal-setting to you? Have you set goals for the future? What has gone wrong when setting goals in the past?
Read on to learn more about how you can set goals effectively, improving your chances of reaching them.
Consider What You Want To Achieve
First things first, consider what you want to achieve. Give yourself some time to consider if there’s anything you want to do, experience, create, or gain, and set your goals accordingly.
Try brainstorming; this involves writing down any ideas that come to your mind as fast as you can. Once you’ve come up with ideas, narrow the list down to the ones you want to achieve the most.
Ensure that your goal-setting theory is relevant to you – for example, if you are an active person who loves outdoor activities, do you want to learn how to cross-stitch?
If you are struggling to think of something that you want to achieve, picture yourself in old age. What will you be most proud of achieving? What skills do you wish you had learned? What do you regret the most?
This should help you identify what you want to achieve out of life, so now it is time to refine the goals and ensure they meet the SMART criteria.
Ensure Your Goals Are SMART
The smart criteria are the backbone of any quality goal – and if your goal is SMART, then you are much more likely to achieve it.
SMART goals are:
- Time Bound
Ensuring that your goal is specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound is a great way of refining it. First of all, ensure that your goal is specific and measurable. For example, instead of having the goal ‘I want to lose weight, ‘I want to lose 2 stone’’ would be specific and measurable.
Now, consider whether the goal is attainable and relevant. Sticking to the weight loss goal, is losing two stones attainable? You could make the goal more realistic by lowering the figure to 1 stone, or even 10 pounds.
The final condition of a SMART goal is ensuring that the goal is time-bound. Set a realistic deadline for you to reach your goal; this can be a powerful motivator.
Make Sure Your Goals Match Your Purpose
Your goals should be relevant and should work towards your purpose. Although setting and reaching random goals can be great for improving your motivation, you’ll benefit more from reaching goals that help your overall purpose.
For each goal idea, write a couple of sentences explaining why you want to achieve the goal and what you’ll gain from it. Will it help your overall life plan? Will it help you get where you want to go in life? If you have a firm understanding of why you’re setting the goal, it will be much easier to figure out how you’re going to achieve it.
Track Your Progress
Tracking your goals is sure to increase your chances of success. It can help you identify what is going wrong, so you’ll be able to change direction or make amendments if necessary.
Regularly tracking your progress also allows you to celebrate your success when you meet certain milestones, which can boost your motivation and encourage you to succeed.
Celebrate Your Achievements
Unlike a to-do list, you should celebrate every time you reach a goal, meet certain milestones, or overcome challenges along the way.
Celebrating your achievements is far more likely to keep you on the right track; you’ll be motivated, encouraged, and ready to succeed.
Your celebration will be unique to you. For example, if your goal is to save £10,000, it won’t do any harm to treat yourself to a nice meal. If you’re learning a new language, why not treat yourself to a holiday in that country once you’re fluent?
Mark is a multi-award winner in business networking and relationship building. He is passionate about coaching and mentoring business owners and professionals through 1-1 & group coaching, team performance workshops and group mastermind sessions.