Goal setting is the key to making progress in any aspect of your life, whether that be your career, your health, your social life, or your hobbies. Many of us set goals, but when it comes to actually achieving them, we don’t follow through. This is because we don’t set goals intelligently – instead, we just focus on a vague endgame and forget about all the steps we need to take to get there. In order to prevent this, try following these goal setting strategies.
- Decide what is truly important to you. Many of us set goals that don’t actually mean that much to us in the long run. This makes it very difficult to actually achieve them, because we aren’t actually sure why we want to put in the work. For example, many people decide every new year that they want to lose weight, just because they believe that they should. However, if it isn’t important to you, you won’t actually make the necessary effort to get it done.
- Make your goals detailed. A vague goal like ‘improve my career’ or ‘build better relationships’ is only going to intimidate you, and doesn’t have any easy leads to help you take those important first steps. Instead, sit down and figure out very specifically what it is you want to do. A great specific goal would be “spend time with my sister at least once a week’ or ‘take on more responsibility at work’. These are things that you can actually do right now, instead of vague ideas that you have about your future.
- Write down a list of small, actionable things you can do to make your goal more achievable. For example, if you are trying to lose ten pounds, you might write down, “take the stairs every day”, “bring healthy lunches to work”, and “go to the gym three times a week”. Having a list like this can be extremely helpful when you are feeling down on yourself and your goals, because you can look at it and choose something to work on right away.
- Set a general timeline for your goals. You don’t need to take this too seriously, because sometimes life will cause you to deviate from the plan, but it will help you stay on track and keep you from getting completely distracted. Decide when you are going to hit certain milestones as well as when you want to hit your overall goal.
- If you’re having a hard time, try working with others to help make your goals come to life. Talk with a friend or family member that you trust about what you are trying to achieve, and see if they would be willing to help you work towards these goals by reminding you and pushing you to do things that will benefit you, or even working with you on a goal of their own. Since humans are meant to be social, this type of pressure is often one of the most effective ways to get people to achieve their goals.