How To Set Achievable Goals

Setting goals can be incredibly frustrating, but done properly, it can be rewarding.

Have you ever wondered why some people seem to be able to achieve what they want while others fail?  In short, successful people have a ‘never give up’ mindset, and choose to be persistent and patient in order to reach their set goals. So how do they go about this? Well firstly it is all about effective planning of their lives. If you feel that you never usually follow through on your set goals, then maybe it’s time to rethink at how you go about setting them.

I would like to add some other techniques other than the popular SMART model. The S.M.A.R.T model is an acronym that stands for  Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Time-bound. This can be  very helpful.

The key here is to understand what you really want to achieve in the first place. If for example, you decide you want to earn a lot of money, then try to specify why you want to make more money. Then you need to ask yourself, what will you get from that as a person? Will this then mean you will have more freedom to do what you want? Will this added wealth then give you more purchasing power to obtain things that will make you happier or healthier?

The purpose of your goal must always be to have a stronger and more positive outcome. If for example, it is money you so desperately desire, then look to try to find the real reason why having more money will enhance you as a person.

Secondly: when you go to set out your goals make sure it is clear to you why you are doing so. The goal should be serious enough for you to not only find an interest, but have the energy to follow it through to achieve it. You will be well aware of the so called ‘New Years Resolution Syndrome,’ when we plan to do more of something and or work toward quitting something. How it goes is, we focus on it for a bit and lose interest after a few weeks, and then the New Years resolution goals fail and fall by the way side. This can be quite a destructive approach, as you more often than not feel like a failure. In the back of your mind you will know you didn’t achieve what you wished, and so you will almost automatically expect your future goals to fail too.

Our goals are best achieved when we constantly feel under pressure, and when we are not satisfied with what we have achieved while striving for perfection. In this case, a strong desire will push us towards the end of achieving whatever goal it is. Although having a strong desire is good, it has to be set in a realistic time frame.

SMART ( specific, measurable, agreed, realistic, time-bound) goal setting concept - a napkin doodle on a grunge wooden table with a cup of coffee

Here are some useful steps to accomplish your goals:

1. Set a goal that you truly want to do, not that you should do. You will feel inspired to accomplish it rather than obliged.

2. Imagine to yourself that there is no going back. Literally close your eyes, and tell yourself there is no other way but just to succeed in what you have planned. Train your mind to react this way, and you will eventually convince yourself that there is always one way forward and not step back. This is a very powerful tip, and I strongly advise you to try it. Repeat this affirmation at least once per day, and you will feel very positive and confident in completing your end result.

3. Write it down. You become a creator when you write down your goals, and you become absolutely sure of how to make it happen. Write down the specific deadline, and these time-based goals tend to help you to feel more motivated and keep you focused.

4. Always divide your goal into smaller and more achievable ‘bite-size’ steps, which you can do each day.

5. Set aside time in your calendar to implement each step. If you take these little steps each day, you will definitely achieve them before you know it!

6. Be persistent. If you don’t have this habit already, then try to accomplish your steps for each day by being more tenacious. If for some reason it didn’t happen that day, then reset and simply recommit the next day. Continue with the same steps the next day and just keep going!

7. Practice self-compassion. This is one of my favorite ones. It’s creative, and I’m sure you’ll like it too.

Make a list of supportive things to say to yourself during the time when you are working on your goals. Use the affirmations that work best for you. You can write these down and stick them to your desk or put them in a place that is constantly noticeable to you. Here’s an example of what you can do:

 BEFORE:  “It’s good that I’m preparing to do something that I want to do!” DURING: “Even though it is a challenge to me, it’s good that I’m taking time to achieve my goal.”  The results will be satisfying. AFTER: “I’m glad that I worked hard to accomplish my step for the day!”  “I feel happy and satisfied!”  This is loosely based on methods of Self-Instruction Training by Dr. Donald Meichenbaum and Dr. Matt Jaremko.

8. Try to use a visualization of yourself reaching your goal.  Then see how you will reward yourself and how proud will you be. This should help you to continue feeling optimistic throughout the process. 

9. For your self-inspiration, it is important to listen to the music which uplifts you, and to also read inspiring literature regularly. Also look towards a role model who achieved what you would also like to achieve. What this will do is create a positive environment that will help you to reach your results.

10. Praise yourself for your achievements, even if they are small wins. When we appreciate our efforts, it’s more likely that we will enjoy the process and will achieve good results in the long run.

dream big, set goals, take action - motivational advice or reminder on colorful sticky notes against rustic wood

In addition to your step-by-step plan, I would like to mention the main reason why people quit achieving their goals and sometimes fail in earnest before they even started.

The main reason for this is fear of failure. A good thing to remember is that all of us feel fear regularly, and that it is a very normal reaction to everything new or untested. It is so important to understand that fear is largely due to what you tell yourself. Fear of failure and imagining negative imagery is so counterproductive.  If you don’t think it’s possible to achieve something, then try to obtain more information and understanding in and around your goal. With this more informed view you may be mistaken. It is very inspiring to join others who are working to achieving something similar, or consulting with a mentor or coach. Lastly just remember if others have achieved it already, then it is not completely insurmountable. This means that it may be very possible for you to reach as well!

Best wishes for you in achieving your goal!

by Olha Malickina

Olha lives in the UK and is an expert in hypnotherapy. She helps people to improve their life quality and achieve their life goals.

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