Do you have a vision for where you want to be in the next five years? Do you know how you’ll get there? Unfortunately, people often sail through life and then look around them one day and wonder what happened to their goals.
Success in life requires setting clear goals and working towards them. Goals provide direction and help you focus. Setting smart, achievable goals not only helps move in the right direction, but it also provides a benchmark for evaluating your progress.
I truly believe that we are the greatest obstacles to achieving our biggest dreams. We don’t believe in ourselves, and we quit when things get challenging. But if we set smart goals that keep us moving in the right direction every day, we can build the life we want and become who we want to be.
Try these tips for setting smart, achievable goals, and start moving towards the life you deserve.
1. Make It Personal
Your goals have to be important to you in order for them to truly motivate you. If you’re not actually interested in the outcome — for example, if you set a goal in order to please someone else — you won’t be motivated to accomplish them.
What are you passionate about? Too often, we set our own passions aside to do what we think we “should.” But I believe you are more likely to be successful if you follow your passion and do what you love.
When you think about your goals, pay attention to how they make you feel physically. In her book, Steering by Starlight, Martha Beck describes this as “shackles on” or “shackles off” reactions. If you imagine living out your goal, but it makes you feel tense, sick to your stomach, or as if you’re physically caving in on yourself, this is a “shackles on” reaction. Your goal is ultimately making you feel trapped.
In comparison, a goal that truly motivates you will make you feel light, open, and free. When you think about these goals, you may find yourself standing up straighter and opening your chest. Your body is telling you something. Listen to it.
2. Set SMART Goals
SMART goals have five key characteristics. They are:
For example, a goal such as “I am successful” is not a SMART goal. What does success mean to you? How will you know when you have achieved it? How will you measure it?
A SMART goal may be something like, “I am self-employed by [date] and I earn $6,000 per month, working 30 hours per week so that I have plenty of time for myself and my family.” You will know when you have achieved this goal because you have set very clear benchmarks for your income and the parameters of your work life.
Writing your goals down programs them into your brain. You may even want to write down your top 10 goals daily. This keeps them at the forefront of your mind as you go about your day.
As you write your goals down, always use positive statements. Your goals should always be things you want to accomplish, not things you want to avoid.
4. Create a Plan of Action
Once you have your goals in writing, start making a plan for how you will achieve them. Large goals may need to be broken down into smaller steps. If your goal is to write a book, set smaller goals for completing your outline and writing each chapter. From there, set even smaller goals that you can accomplish every day. Thinking about writing an entire book can be overwhelming, but a goal of writing 1,000 words a day is achievable.
Every day as you cross your daily goal off your list, you’ll have the satisfaction of knowing that your life is moving in the direction you desire.
Learn more about making your goals a reality with my FREE guide, The Art of Goal Setting. It’s full of actionable steps to help you transform your life for the better and live the life you deserve!