Goal-setting 101

Whether you call them goals or intentions, having something to work towards is motivating and helps us make real change in our lives. Perhaps you have some career goals you’d like to set or some intentions that will support personal development. Wherever you are on your journey, setting goals is an art form worth mastering.

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When we don’t give the goals we’re setting enough consideration, they can easily fall out of view. Maybe we don’t think about how achievable they are and set ourselves unrealistic achievements (and then no doubt beat ourselves up about it). Or maybe we’ve been too vague about what we want to achieve and, after a couple of weeks, the goal disintegrates into thin air. 

Learning how to set goals and intentions effectively is a game-changer. Here we take you through the steps you can take to do exactly that. So, are you ready to make a change?  

Get clear on what you really want (and be specific)

There’s a lot of noise out there on what we should and shouldn’t be doing. It can come from societal expectations, family pressure or even from people we follow online. Taking some time to shut out the noise and focus on yourself is helpful here. You may want to meditate or journal to help you connect with yourself and uncover what you really want. 

Once you’ve figured out what you want, it’s time to set your goal. Being specific here is key. If your goal is “grow my business” for example, it’s hard to say when that’s been achieved or what your markers of success are. Instead, something more measurable such as “increase revenue by X%” gives you something tangible to aim for. 

Consider what’s achievable

Setting unrealistic goals only sets us up for failure. Think about what’s realistic for you right now and take your current circumstances into consideration. How much time do you think you’ll need to achieve your goal? Do you have the necessary resources? Do you need to bring your goal down a notch to make it more realistic?

Set yourself a deadline

Now you know what you want to do and you’ve thought about what’s achievable, you can set yourself a deadline. This is so important for motivation; without a deadline, goals can easily slip to the bottom of our priority list.

Remember, deadlines can be moved. There’s no shame in pushing a deadline back when something unexpected comes up. If you need to do this, take a moment to reflect on what happened and what changes you can make to ensure you hit the new deadline.

Break it down and make an action plan

This is the step some people forget when goal-setting, but in order to make a goal achievable, you have to make a plan. Breaking your goal down into manageable chunks and tasks is the name of the game here. Plot your tasks in your calendar/diary so you can see exactly what needs to be done and when.

If you find yourself feeling stuck at this point, don’t be afraid to reach out for support. You can get in touch with others who have worked on similar goals or hire a coach/mentor to work through these steps together. 

Create an incentive

Some of us are motivated by the stick, others are motivated by the carrot. If you’re more of a carrot person, make sure you have an incentive or reward planned for when you achieve your goal. Not only will this give you something to look forward to, but it also gives you a chance to really celebrate your wins. 

Recognising our achievements helps to bolster our self-esteem and boost confidence, so make sure you get in the habit of celebrating. 

Get accountability and support

Let’s face it, some of us simply need that sense of accountability to reach our goals. You might want to tell some friends/family about your goal or set yourself up with an accountability buddy who can check in with your progress from time to time. 

Support is also a key ingredient to success – you don’t have to do this alone. You may want to rely on friends, family or co-workers here, leaning on them when you’re finding things difficult. If you’d rather turn to someone objective for accountability and support, hiring a professional coach can be hugely impactful. 

Now you’re armed with this information, there’s nothing left to do but go forth and set goals. Do let us know how you get on, you can find us on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.

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Written by Kat Nicholls
Kat is a Senior Writer for Life Coach Directory and Happiful magazine.
Written by Kat Nicholls
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