Life can be busy and hectic. You may feel like you’re just going with the flow, being pulled along from each day to the next. This is probably not the best approach to take if you want to be happy and successful. Instead, it’s better to be proactive and take control of your life. This is possible with strategic goal setting. Setting realistic and achievable goals is a process. Follow these guidelines for how to set goals to become your best self, and you’ll begin to see changes happen.
Write Them Down
First, you’ll want to get an idea of your overall goals for now and for your future. Grab a pen and paper or use an electronic device to jot down some notes regarding the things you want for yourself. This is just a brainstorming session, so it doesn’t have to be incredibly specific or detailed. Consider personal, education, and career goals. Incorporating all aspects of your life will help you to get a broader sense of the kind of life you desire.
You can break it down to short-term, mid-range, and long-term goals. Think about what you want to attain now and in the upcoming month. What types of changes might spark momentum? Then look at the next five years. Where do you do yourself, and where do you hope to be? How about the long-term? In ten to twenty years, do you have a vision for your life? Take notes in whatever fashion makes sense to you. Just be sure to cover all of these aspects.
Make SMART Goals
Now is the time to refine things a bit. Successful goals can’t be as broad and vague as the notes you took in the brainstorming process. In order to make your dreams a reality, you’ll need a solid plan. When it comes to how to set goals, a good model to follow is the SMART goal setting system.
SMART is an acronym that stands for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-bound. These words help to guide your goal setting in a way that helps to increase success. Creating a specific goal means that you should narrow down your focus. It’s not enough to say, “I want to lose weight.” Adding measurements such as the number of pounds you want to lose will help to make your goal more specific. Next, make sure your goal is attainable by making sure it’s something you can reasonably achieve. Keep your weight-loss goal realistic. You also want it to be relevant to your life.
To continue with this example, is losing weight something you really want to do, or does it feel like an obligation? Are your reasons for pursuing weight loss relevant to your health and lifestyle? Finally, your goal should be time-bound. Assigning a time frame lets you keep track and monitor your progress. How long will it take you to lose the number of pounds you’ve set as your ultimate goal? Can you break that down even further into smaller units that you can more easily track? Setting SMART goals can make any goal more achievable because it gives you a framework to follow.
Once you have your SMART guidelines in place, it’s time to take action. You might choose to pursue your goal on your own. However, many find it helpful to enlist an outside source or professional to help them create their step by step goal plan. Hiring a life coach might be worth consideration. A coach can be a great motivator and cheerleader, as well as providing an unbiased outside source to help you set up a workable plan and to keep you on track.
Your plan should contain a number of stages. This gives you the opportunity to check in on your progress and to make adjustments if necessary. Consider searching for a life coach in your area, for example, if you live in Wisconsin you might search for a life coach in Milwaukee and Madison, WI. Reviewing goals is an important step. If something isn’t working, don’t be afraid to make changes. This is how you grow. Try not to get too attached to a particular step-by-step plan. Think of your plan more as a guideline than an imperative.
As you can see, setting goals is easier when you have a framework. Simply work your plan to begin seeing your goals take shape. Soon, you’ll begin to notice significant changes in your life.