Personal Development

How to Set a Goal That Leads to Success

Have you set a goal in the past that, although you really wanted, you didn’t reach? Do you want to try for your goal again, but aren’t sure how to set it in a way that almost guarantees you achieve it?

We all have goals: things we want to do that we believe will make us a better person. Whether your goal is to lose weight, quit smoking or stop procrastinating, there are certain steps you can take to increase the likelihood that you’ll reach it. They are:

Write It Down

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Writing your goal down offers a couple of benefits. First, it forces you to be clear on what it is you want to do. Second, it motivates you to take action. You can think about it all day long, but once you write it down, you almost have to do something about it.

Some people look at it like a contract with themselves. They even write it up as such and sign and date it. While this isn’t necessary, if you think it will help you take it more seriously, then go for it.

The point is, if you write it down then you are committing to it. You are taking something that is a thought and turning it into a reality the minute you reduce it to black and white. If you want to increase your chances of success, write it down.

Be Specific

Know exactly what it is you’re going after – intended result. For instance, it’s not enough to say you want to lose weight. That’s too vague and can mean too many things.

The best way to know what specific result you are seeking is to practice a little visualization exercise. Imagine yourself as if you’ve already achieved your goal. In other words, what is the future you’d like to see?

Once you have that vision clearly in mind, ask yourself this question: how is the future me different than the current me? Does she have higher self-esteem? Is she more comfortable setting boundaries? Can she wear a different style of clothing without worrying about whether her tummy looks big or if her upper arms jiggle too much?

Come up with the answer to those questions and that is your ‘why’. That’s what this goal means to you. It’s knowing what you’re seeking that will continue to drive you forward on days that you struggle, and there will be days.

Set a Deadline

Make your goal time-sensitive. Set a deadline. If you don’t, you’ll never push yourself to meet it. You’ll allow yourself to procrastinate.

It’s like your to-do list. You can write ten things you want to do on it, but if you don’t set a deadline for any of the items, you’ll just commit to doing them the next day, then the next, then the next. Before you know it, you’ve got a huge list that is so overwhelming you don’t know where to begin.

The result? You don’t do any of them. You wad the list up and throw it away. You don’t want to do that with your goal, so set a deadline.

Make It Reasonable

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This is so important, yet often overlooked, when setting a goal. Everyone wants to transform themselves in three days or less. While it’s great to shoot for the stars, if you overshoot, you end up feeling frustrated and disappointed. Both of these emotions can lead to you just giving up altogether, which isn’t good.

Any time you embark on a journey of change, you have to realize that it’s going to take time. You’ll have times where you do really well and times where you do not-so-good so don’t cut yourself short by trying to get there too quickly.

Break It Down Into Manageable Pieces

Once you have your final goal which is specific and reasonable, and you have your deadline set, now you need to take it one step further. Break it down into manageable pieces.

By doing this, you take something that can feel completely overwhelming and turn it into something that feels very doable. For instance, if your goal is to lose fifty pounds in the next year, you may start to panic. Fifty pounds? Yikes!

However, if you break it down monthly, you’ll see that you need to lose a little over four pounds a month to meet your goal. Four pounds sounds easier to achieve than fifty, right?

Once you have smaller increments, start with the first one and list two or three things you can do to achieve the goal you’ve set. Then, go to the second increment and list two or three things you can do to meet your goal for that piece, and so on.

Create changes in a way you can manage. You don’t have to change everything overnight, nor should you. The slower you take it, the greater the likelihood is that you’ll not only achieve your goal, but make it last for a lifetime.

Setting a goal is easy. Setting one that you’ll reach takes thought, time and effort. Follow these guidelines and your dream will soon become reality.

About the author

Christina DeBusk

Changing careers mid-life from law enforcement to writing, Christina spends her days helping others enrich their businesses and personal lives one word at a time.

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