Goal setting is one of the most powerful things you can do to be successful.
Setting goals gives you a long term direction in life and acts as short-term motivation. They allow you to grow as a person and make the most use of your time. Goals force you to get stuff done and I would be lost without them.
What I’ve realized over the past few months is that successful people set and achieve goals over the long term, and unsuccessful people don’t.
People often set goals at the beginning of the year but never end up working towards them because they either don’t know how, or they don’t set SMART goals.
I’m going to share with you my way of setting goals the right way and how they’ve helped me.
How To Come Up With Smart Goals
What are SMART goals?
Smart goals are goals which are the following:
- Have a timeframe
The goals you set for yourself need to follow these criteria. Otherwise, you’ll lose interest and never attempt to achieve them. The reason most people don’t achieve their goals is that they set goals that don’t follow at least 1 of these criteria.
Your goals need to be very specific. They need to have concrete numbers and deadlines.
Just like in business, you won’t be successful if your business is too broad. For example, if you have an online store selling sports equipment you wouldn’t sell garden tools, right?
Here’s an example of a bad goal: “I want to make more money”.
Is your goal achieved if you make $10 more than last month?
Instead, your goal should look something like this: “I will make $1000 more next month than I did this month”.
See how this is way more specific than the first one?
Next, your goals need to be attainable. This means that they are realistic and you have a high probability of achieving them.
If I made $50,000 last year and I set a goal to make $1,000,000 this year is that realistic? No.
Make sure that your goals are attainable so that you can stay motivated and constantly moving forward.
Measurable goals are when you can actually see your progress and results.
Going back to the “more money” example, how can you measure something that doesn’t have an actual number?
You need to be able to measure your progress each month, so make sure your goals have measurable units.
Goals must be relevant to what you’re currently working towards.
How could you ever be motivated to achieve a goal that in unrelated to anything you’re doing.
When setting relevant goals you would want to pick ones that move you in the direction you want to go. All your goals should position you to grow and move towards your ultimate end goal.
Have A Timeframe
Another important thing is to make sure your goals have a deadline.
What’s the point in having goals with no end date?
This is what the majority of people do and this is why they end up failing. You will never stay motivated. You will tell yourself, “I’ll get to it tomorrow, or next week, or next month”.
This goes on and on until the goal disappears.
This is why you NEED to have a deadline and it works even better if you publicly state them.
At the beginning of each year, I’ll lay out everything that I want to accomplish over the next 12 months. All these goals must meet the previous criteria and I publicly state them. I then break these goals down into quarters. At the beginning of each quarter, I set my 3-month goals, which are all relevant to my yearly goals.
I’m constantly coming up with new goals throughout the year and this is completely fine. Each month I review and reflect and see how my progress is coming. You can see my goal report here.
Goal Setting Process
My goal setting process has 2 parts. Long term and short term. My long term goals are 5-10 years from now. It’s what I’m ultimately working towards. My short term goals are usually under 1 year. They are smaller versions of my ultimate end goal. If my long term goal is to make $1,000,000 per year, my short term will start with $50,000 and slowly work up. By setting achievable goals it keeps me motivated to stay course and work towards the big one.
I set goals for every aspect of my life. I want to make sure I’m growing and developing all skills which will help me become a better person. I set goals based on:
I then come up with a list of goals that I want to achieve based on these 5 categories and put a timeframe beside each. Then I’ll pick the ones I want to achieve over the next 12 months, then I’ll break it down into quarters.
Each quarter I like to review and reflect on my goals. Here’s what I like to find out:
- What worked?
- What didn’t?
- What did I learn?
- Looking forward.
Just remember that you want to set big long term goals and then break it down into yearly and quarterly goals. Slowly chip away and achieve the small goals to stay motivated.
How To Accomplish Your Goals
The number 1 thing that you MUST do is to actually know and understand your goals.
You should have written them down and publicly stated them or told a close friend.
You should be able to quickly explain your goals to people at any time.
Know your goals inside and out.
Now, you’ll want to reflect on your progress over time. I do this every 2 months to make sure I’m still going in the right direction, and make any necessary adjustments.
Here are 4 to-do’s to accomplish your goals
- Set Smart Goals
Make sure your goals follow the criteria of being “SMART”. Your goals must be specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and timely. If your goals aren’t smart then it will be very hard to accomplish them.
2. Break Goals Down
Goals are not achieved by going from 0-1,000,000. They are achieved over the long term. The way to stay motivated and constantly moving in the right direction is to break these goals down into shorter time periods. Once your goals are broken down you can easily see what you need to do to get to your end goal.
3. Set Reflection Periods
It is very important to reflect on your progress and make sure you’re still heading in the right direction. You need to look back and see what’s not working and what needs to be done to move forward. I like to do this at the beginning of each quarter.
4. Hold Yourself Accountable
How many times have you told yourself that you’ll do something but never end up doing it? My guess would be a lot. This happens to the majority of people who set goals. They never actually end up making progress or don’t stick with it. You must hold yourself accountable in some way. You can give money to a friend of yours and tell them to not give it back if you don’t achieve the goal. I like to publicly state my goals because the embarrassment of failing is far more painful.
One program I really enjoyed is called The 100 Day Challenge. It’s an online program that teaches you how to achieve your goal in record time. I really enjoyed this course because it gives you 100 days to achieve your goal. This keeps you motivated and holds you accountable, which is a must for actually coming through and getting stuff done.