Turning Dreams Into Reality: Setting Goals

 

 

6 tips for acheiving goals and objectives.

 

Feeling stuck in a rut? Ever wonder why saving money, improving relationships or losing weight is so hard? Achieving real change is possible, but it rarely happens on a whim. Setting goals is the best way to get the most out of life, to get the most from limited resources, and to insure the best use of time. Yet many goals are poorly planned or executed. How can you be certain your goals are working for you and not against you? The key is to first define the change you seek and then set concrete, achievable steps to get there. Here’s how…

 

A beautiful house.

What does achieving your goals look like to you?

Are you ready to make better goals—goals designed to succeed? Try these 6 tips:

 

(1) Write it down and post it. When I write down a goal on paper the odds of achieving it skyrocket. And when I post my written goal in a prominent place it’s there to grab my attention every time I walk past. I also like to sign my name under my goal. My signature is my bond. Signing off is the way I commit to meeting my goals.

 

 

(2) Share it with a friend. The more committed I am to my goal the greater the chance I’ll make it happen sooner rather than later. I’ve discovered that sharing my goals with a close friend or significant other is just as important as writing it down. When I share it I’m claiming it’s important that others see me achieve it.

 

Getting unstuck is possible.

Goals can help change everything.

(3) Be specific. Ambiguity is the surest path to failure. To meet goals it’s critical to make them specific. For example, say I have a financial goal. It will do me little good to say something like “I plan to save money.” How will I know I’ve saved enough? When do the savings accumulate? Where’s the money coming from? To make sure a goal is achievable there needs to be a clear cut path to a successful outcome. Thus, instead of the goal above, I might say, “I plan to save $60 from my salary every month in a savings account in order to end up with a $720 balance by the end of the year. I might even take it a step further: “I will set up my checking account to automatically transfer $60 into savings at the beginning of every month—the day I get my paycheck. This goal then becomes an automatic path to victory.

 

(4) Don’t make too many goals at once. There’s an old principle called K.I.S.S. It stands for Keep It Simple Stupid. This is good advice when it comes to goals. I try not to set myself up with too many things to do at one time. My time is limited as are my resources. To make sure I don’t get waylaid by competing interests it’s much better to set no more than 2 or 3 goals at a time. This means it’s important to prioritize goals so I do the things that matter most to me and do them first. It doesn’t hurt to make a list of all the things I want to accomplish, but once I do I don’t want to get bogged down in it by making everything a goal. The best idea is to take the most important items, break those down, achieve them and then move on.

 

Keep It Simple Stupid.

Try the KISS principle as you go to make goals.

5) Make goals achievable. The surest way for me to fail is create a goal I can’t possibly achieve in the first place. If I plan to lose 30 pounds by the end of the month, I better have some certainty I can lose that much within the given time frame. If I haven’t done a lot of dieting, a better course might be to start with some basic research on weight loss. Then when I learn what it means to lose all that weight, I can set an achievable goal. For example, say I learn I should only eat 2500 calories at my activity level to lose a pound every few days. That makes it impossible to reach 30 pounds in a month. Thus, I’m better off having a goal that matches my capabilities. My goal could look something like, “I plan to lose 1 to 2 pounds a week for ten weeks (i.e. 10 to 20 pounds) and will adjust my calories after ten weeks to maintain my new weight.”

 

These ducks are having a party. They achieved their goal.

There are many ways to celebrate. Find something that works for you.

6) Celebrate every win. How do you recognize success? What’s your reward for meeting a goal? Goal-making works over the long haul when we take time out to recognize and reward all the effort we expend. Otherwise, we’re just doing chores. When I make a goal and then fail to recognize the moment I’ve achieved it, I’ve missed out on an important personal victory. The best goals are worth celebrating when you achieve them. This implies they should specify the conditions for celebrating a win. For example, if I plan to lose 10 pounds in ten weeks, I could decide up front that meeting my goal earns me a shopping trip for a new pair of jeans. Some people might also do well to have a consequence for failure. In this case, if I fail to meet my target weight, I could donate the same money I’d spend on jeans to my least favorite charity. If you decide to make a “bet” like this, it may be even more effective to have a friend hold onto the money so you can’t back out. One word of caution: Before betting against yourself, remember to set a goal that’s achievable.

 

Goals are a great way for overcoming problems or tackling tasks or situations you tend to put off. Whenever you feel stuck why not try to figure out what’s bothering you and then write up a goal—one that maps the road to success.

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