How to set and achieve your goals

The other day I wrote this post about how observing the children’s behavior has led me to a kind of self-exploration and realization. I knew I had goals I wanted to set for myself. I don’t want to halfheartedly set goals I actually want to achieve them. That led me to a ton of internet reading and research. I love that the internet has a wealth of knowledge for us to explore but at the same time, it can be extremely overwhelming. It is particularly difficult to read articles effectively while balancing a wiggly 6 month old on one knee while he slaps and punches the keyboard of your laptop. I thought I’d help out all of my fellow multi-taskers and share with you what I’ve learned about setting and accomplishing goals through my countless hours of reading. Hopefully this will save you some time and also spare your eyesight.


SMART Method:

Many of the articles and posts I read mention the Smart method. Smart is an acronym for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Time related.

Specific: The goals you set should be as specific as possible. For example “Lose weight” isn’t specific but “Lose 20 pounds” is.

Measurable: Set goals that are measurable. Meaning use units of measurement such as pounds, minutes, days, weeks, etc. The example above uses a unit of measurement, pounds. Read 3 books each month is measurable whereas “read more” is not.

Achievable: Finding the balance between a goal that is too easy and a goal that is too difficult is key. If you set a goal for yourself that is too easy then it isn’t going to motivate you. On the other hand, setting a goal that is too difficult will discourage you. Find the “in between”. Visualize yourself accomplishing the goal and if you can see yourself doing it and you feel motivated to try then you’ve found the balance. If you are discouraged or confused by the goal and feel like you can never reach it then you need to reevaluate.

Realistic: Are you prepared to reach the goal? Meaning are you educated enough on the topic or do you have the proper skills necessary to achieve the goal you set for yourself. If you want to learn a new language but you don’t know what language or what resources you should use then perhaps your goal should be to gather the information you need first and then work towards learning the new language.

Time: Create a deadline for yourself. This puts the right amount of pressure and urgency on you so that you will continue to work towards the goal. Your timeline though, should be realistic. Be sure it is physically possible to accomplish your goal within the amount of time you’ve set for yourself. This is especially important if your goal involves weight loss. Losing too much weight too quickly is unhealthy.

In addition to using the Smart method, when setting goals for yourself, you should also write them down. After reading the benefits of writing down your goals, I wanted to download a goal sheet for myself, something that would help direct me in goal writing. I downloaded this form. I haven’t used it yet but I hope it will help me. Anyway, here are some key benefits to writing down your goals.

  1. Writing out your goals makes them tangible and real. It forces you to clearly define what your goals are.
  2. Once you’ve written down your goals, you can stop thinking about them. Many of us are consumed with thousands of thoughts and things we’re trying to remember. Write it down so you can forget about it. I don’t mean forget about it as in never do it but forget thinking about it. It’s been written down, the paper serves as your reminder so your brain isn’t forced to keep remembering what goals you’ve set for yourself. Give your brain a rest people, it works hard for you.
  3. When you write your goals down and put them in plain sight, that serves as your reminder that you’ve set a goal for yourself. Look over it, read it daily. This will keep you motivated and focused and will help you remember that you’re working towards something.
  4. Writing down your goals will help you prioritize your life and your time. Start evaluating the things that are taking up your time and attention. Are they things that help you work towards your goals? If not, maybe you should reevaluate your priorities. If the activity isn’t going to help you achieve your goal, then it isn’t a high priority.
  5. Research shows that people who write down their goals are more successful in achieving them than people who do not write their goals down.

Are you feeling overwhelmed yet? I hope not. I know after all the reading I did I was feeling exhausted but as I’m writing this and reviewing the information I am feeling more encouraged than confused. In addition to using the Smart method and writing down your goals, I’ve found a few more tips to be helpful.

  • Set at least one goal that is relevant to every area of interest in your life and for every role you have. So for instance I am a blogger, a spouse, a mother, an artist, and many other things so I am planning to set goals for each of those roles and also for my areas of interest.
  • Your goals should be directly related to your passions and your life’s purpose. Do you have a mission statement for you life? I don’t but I see that many people have family mission statements. Writing a mission statement will help direct your goal setting.
  • Share your goals with people who are close to you such as your friends, family, and spouse. Sharing them and speaking them out loud gives your goals life, makes them real. You also gain motivation and encouragement from those people you share your goals with and you might just inspire someone in the process.
  • Take action every day. You don’t have to work every day at every goal. Just focus on one for today but be sure to make at least one step towards accomplishing that specific goal today. Tomorrow take action towards another goal or keep working on the same goal. Just be sure that every day you’re taking one step towards achieving your goals.
  • Clear out the negativity. Stay focused and positive and don’t let others distract you from your goals with their negativity or nay saying. Believe in yourself.
  • Hold yourself accountable and make a plan of action. That may sound difficult but it really isn’t. Once you’ve clearly defined your goals, you have to start taking action in order to achieve them. Start planning to make it happen. I found this form online to help you stay on track.

I hope that this post will inspire you guys to set goals for yourself and I hope it helps you achieve the goals you set. I am a planner by nature so I’ve spent the past few days planning to set goals. I have printed the forms I linked in this post so I hope to start working on writing out my goals and creating a plan of action for each of them in the next few days. I’ll be sharing my goals and progress with you guys in hopes of holding myself accountable and maybe I’ll inspire someone who knows. I hope you’ll share your successes with me if you decide to do this too.