How to Set Goals and Realize them

How many times have you made goals for a New Year, only to find yourself broken and disappointed a few weeks later? A study by the University of Scranton found that only 8 percent of people keep their resolutions. The key to setting goals that you’ll actually stick to is to choose goals that are motivating to you, and to break them into manageable steps.

3 years ago, I made a list of goals that included making a GPA of 5.0 for the academic session, writing a book, growing in my career and personal life, and attaining a certain level of financial stability. I had no idea how I was going to achieve those goals, but I wrote them down anyway.

Looking back, I realize most of the goals I wrote down were somewhat simple but vague. Most of them were short-term and did not require much effort. In fact, most of them were things I would have to do anyway. However, although I achieved many of those goals, I did not achieve all of them. I did not become a millionaire, I did not write a book (well, except essays, articles and an academic publication!), and though I grew in my career but I did not attain the level I wanted.

That year, I realized my failure at achieving some of those goals was because I did not put enough effort into setting and achieving them. Ever since then, I have taken the time to observe and research what I did wrong and what really works.

So, are you thinking of getting a promotion at work? Do you want to become a highly successful podcast host? Or do you wish to achieve a certain level of financial security? The possibilities are endless. But before you begin, it is essential to set some goals for yourself. It is so easy to get lost in the day-to-day hustle and bustle of modern life and lose sight of what you are hoping to achieve. The thought of setting up a plan to achieve your dreams can be daunting—but you don’t have to do it alone and unguided! Below, you will find 5 helpful tips on how to set and reach your goals.

1 UNDERSTAND WHAT A GOAL IS AND IS NOT – Most often, people confuse goals with resolutions or dreams. Like dreams, goals can be set for any and all areas of life – health, finances, academics etcetera. However, a goal is different from a dream because it is specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and time-bound (SMART). For instance, the desire to be a billionaire is only but a dream; but the desire to have $1 billion in your savings account at he end of 2021 is a goal. Why? It is because it is specific and has all the five attributes of a goal. Deb Knobelman, a Neuroscientist and C-Suite business executive who writes about the intersection of mindset, productivity, entrepreneurship and how to reach goals wrote in his article; “For something to truly be a goal, you need to know when you get there. When you reach it.”

2 REFLECT ON WHAT YOU REALLY WANT – A personal reflection is a necessity to set achievable goals. Create the time to ponder on what you want out of life and what your life’s purposes are. Decide and define those goals clearly. It s always recommended to streamline your goals in tune with your life’s purposes, for that way it becomes easier to accomplish. Moreover, spending time doing what you love increases the quality of your life and brings you closer to unrelated goals.

3 WRITE DOWN YOUR GOALS – So, you have decided on the goals you want to achieve this year; but you also need to write them down. Writing down your goals give you the push and clarity that you need to work on those goals. It keeps you motivated committed. It helps you stay on track even when you want to deviate in the face of adversities.

4 BREAK DOWN YOUR GOALS – As simple as it sounds, breaking down your goals is one way to ensure attainment. When you break down your goals into small parts, you create the conditions that allow for progress to be made daily. An unbroken goal is like a lofty dream that may not eventually be achieved. In its lofty form, it may be so easy to procrastinate or give up on them entirely.

Take for instance, someone who wants to build a house. Do you wait till you have all the money before you start building? The answer is NO! You may never build if you do this. A block of cement laid each day is sure to get you to achieve your goal of owning your home than if you were to keep waiting till you have all the money saved up. Similarly, if you are targeting to attain a level of financial stability by having a particular amount within a set time frame, then it is more achievable it you break down this sum into an amount you can save each day. Whatever your goals are, there are always ways you can break them down into steps you can take daily.

5 CREATE A VISION BOARD OF YOUR GOALS – The human mind is a powerful tool that one can wield to attain his goals. One way that you can maximize the human mind to attain your goal is by making a vision board. In simple terms, a visionboard is a visual representation of your goals. It is a collation of postcards, quotes, images of places you want to visit, goals you want to reach or gentle reminders of your life’s purpose. It is usually displayed at a prominent place, where one can see it daily. More than anything, a visionboard keeps you accountable to yourself and inspires you to attain those goals.

6 GET AN ACCOUNTABILITY PARTNER – A wise man once said that a mentor is like a shining light on the dark path to success. The same holds true for a good and committed accountability partner. They challenge you to stick to your plans and achieve more; while at the same time providing resourceful insights to your goals. The road to success is a lonely journey; thus, it is easier and faster to get to your destination if you have someone that is as much committed to seeing to the fulfillment of your goals as you are. Reach out to someone you trust and respect; someone you hold in high esteem and ask him/her to be your accountability partner.

7 REVIEW EVERY QUARTER – As students, we were thought the importance of reviewing our academic works and going through the feedbacks from our professors. Sometimes, we are even encouraged by those professors to rewrite those academic works with the feedback received in mind. This is also applicable to goal-setting. You have a better chance at achieving your goals each year when you periodically pause to review and reevaluate those goals. If possible, get a second opinion on the processes you have followed in trying to achieve them. Reviewing your goals allows you to grow and adapt those goals; and/or adapt to those challenges that have hindered you from achieving them. By tracking how far you gone in working towards your goal, you inevitably position yourself for further success.

8 KEEP PUSHING – It is so easy to give up on your goals a few weeks after you made them when you realize you haven’t made any headway yet or that all your efforts so far have proven abortive. The truth is that success may not always come at your first try. However, success will definitely come if you keep trying. So, whenever you fail, get up by all means, dust yourself and keep moving!

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