Whether you’re looking to implement big change in your life, or just looking to make small steps towards being a better version of yourself, setting goals is paramount. However, there’s a difference between setting achievable goals and giving yourself unattainable targets. Ambition is an enviable trait – and ensuring your hard work leads to accomplishments is the reason behind goal setting. So, how do you create achievable goals for yourself, and ensure you see them through to their conclusion?
Set targets to reach your goal
It doesn’t make a difference whether you’re chasing one or numerous goals – getting started will always be the most difficult part. It can be a daunting proposition, looking at the goals you’ve written down and wondering how you’re going to achieve them. For this reason, it’s recommended that you split your goals into further micro-goals, or targets. This way, you can start small and build on those early successes. Once you get started, you’ll soon find that the psychological benefit of completing each of these smaller targets toward your goals drives further determination.
Create detailed and specific targets to meet your goals
It’s important to clearly understand what you need to do. The more information you can include, the easier it will be to follow. A specific target gives you more focus. One commonly used example of this is if you’re planning to save money. Rather than ‘save £2,000’, incorporate more detail to keep your eyes on the goal: ‘save £2,000 for home renovations’. Then set the specific targets: ‘save £600 for new hardwood flooring, £1000 for new kitchen units, and £400 for re-painting the whole house’. The added detail and smaller target totals make it more achievable, whilst keeping you focused on why you’re saving.
Give yourself a timeframe
Further adding to the emphasis on detail, giving your goals a specific timeframe is an important factor in motivation and accomplishing targets. They also encourage action. Take, for example, a ‘flash sale’ email from your favourite brand, telling you that you can get an unmissable offer if you buy within the next 24 hours. The likelihood is that most of us have been persuaded by this before, and this is because the time-bound offer triggers a psychological reaction. Setting yourself timeframes for your goals works in a similar way. If you know you’ve only got a certain amount of days to achieve, you’ll be spurred on to put in the work. If your target is open-ended, it can easily fall to the bottom of the pile.
Put them down on paper
Having your targets written down provides you with something to refer back to. If you’re lacking in motivation, look back at your goals and remember why you set them in the first place. Seeing them in black and white makes the goals feel real, and helps to keep you focused one step at a time. Keeping them at the front of your mind allows you to focus on the bigger picture.
Lost sight of your goal and missed your targets? Don’t beat yourself up, or let it slip back further. Remind yourself of your next targets and review/ amend them if they feel too unrealistic. Focus on achieving the targets one at a time with your eye on the end goal you’ve set yourself and get back on track. Without these constant reminders it’s easy to let goals slip, which is a definite no-no. Start with a simple list, then edit and grow as required.
Make your goals realistic
Arguably the most important aspect of setting yourself goals: make them realistic. If your goal isn’t attainable, why set it in the first place? It’s a slippery slope when you become over-ambitious. Confidence is crucial, there’s no doubting that, but if you aim too high you risk knocking this confidence and subsequently giving up. Simply put, it can do more harm than good. Start off small and, once you have more experience, you can aim bigger and better. Many people set end-goals and put too much focus on getting there. It’s easy to forget that the journey is where you learn and develop. Whether it’s professionally or as a person, never take your journey for granted. Celebrate each target reached!
Measure Your Progress
This is an obvious one, but it’s easy to forget if you’ve got multiple goals to track at once. Measuring your progress is important for many reasons. It helps keep you motivated – if you’ve lost weight for example, you’re more likely to feel confident on your progress and continue to work hard. If you’ve not hit targets, you know you need to put in more work in order to achieve your goal within the set timeframe. There are hundreds of tracking templates for almost anything, all you have to do is a quick Google search. Keep track of how you’re performing, and adjust your plan to make sure you accomplish what you need to.
There’s nobody else you can blame for your failures (or your successes) other than yourself. You’re responsible for whether your goals are accomplished or not. Others may be responsible for minor setbacks, but your overall success is down to you. Hold yourself accountable and work hard to achieve your goals!
*Disclosure: This is a collaborative post.