How to set goals in 7 steps
To say 2020 was an interesting year is an understatement. Let’s all start off 2021 focusing on what matters most, family, health, happiness and goal setting. Goal setting can not only improve your mood, but inspire you to reach your maximum potential. Below are a few suggestions to reach your goals.
If goals are so important, why do we fail to achieve them? Because we don’t plan the steps to get there.
A goal setting process forces you to think about the journey (in other words, how you’re going to complete your tasks) instead of just the end destination. Take a look at the steps below to get started.
1. Think about the results you want to see
Before you set a goal, take a closer look at what you’re trying to achieve and ask yourself the following questions:
- Is this goal something you truly want?
- Is it important enough to pour hours of time and effort into it?
If you’re not willing to put in the time, it may not be worth pursuing.
If you create a long list of goals to pursue all at the same time, you may have a difficult time achieving any of them. Instead, use the questions above to determine which goals matter the most to you right now, and then focus on those few.
2. Create SMART goals
Once you’ve zeroed in on what you actually want, ensure your goal meets the SMART criteria:
The most important part of SMART goal setting is to make your goal specific so you can clearly track your progress and know whether you met the goal. The more specific you can be with your goal, the higher the chance you’ll complete it.
For example, many people set goals to lose weight, but they don’t always decide how much weight they want to lose and when they want to accomplish this goal. A specific goal would be “I want to lose 25 pounds by the Fourth of July.” This goal provides an exact amount of weight to lose and an end date to do it by.
3. Write your goals down
When you write your goals down, they become real and tangible instead of a vague idea that resides only in your mind. Once you’ve written your goals down, keep them somewhere visible––put personal goals up on your mirror or near your computer screen, put team goals up on the walls next to everyone’s desks, and include company goals in internal presentations.
This tactic reminds you to keep working on your goals daily. As you’re writing down your goals, use a positive tone so you stay excited about completing them.
4. Create an action plan
Many people decide on a goal but never create an action plan to determine how exactly they will meet that goal. Your action plan should include the overall goal you’re trying to meet and all the steps you need to take to get there.
Don’t be afraid to get creative with your action plan. Go back to your elementary school days, and get creative. Write out your goal using crayons, markers, or colored pencils, for example. According to Forbes, creating an action plan this way activates a different part of your brain and cements the goals in your mind.
For something more professional, use Lucidchart to create an organized, visual action plan.
5. Create a timeline
As part of your action plan, use a timeline maker to help visualize roles, tasks, milestones, and deadlines to achieve your goal. Once you’ve set those dates, try to stick to them as closely as possible. A timeline creates a sense of urgency, which in turn motivates you to stay on schedule and finish your goal.
6. Take action
Now that you’ve planned everything out, it’s time to take action. You didn’t go through all that work just to forget about your goal. Every step that you take should lead to another until you finish your goal.
7. Re-evaluate and assess your progress
You need to keep your motivation strong to complete your goal. Consider scheduling a weekly evaluation, which could include measuring your progress and checking your schedule. Once you see how close the finish line is, you’ll feel more motivated to push through to the end. If you’re a little behind schedule, make necessary adjustments and keep going.
Start setting goals
The process of setting goals makes you succeed faster and more efficiently. It can fuel your ambition and help you achieve tangible results. A goal setting process will help you determine how to set goals that are specific, timely, and realistic.