Achieve your goals


Setting achievable goals is easy

We all set goals everyday, even though we probably don’t realise it.

A goal can be defined as ‘an observable, or measurable end result, which has one, or more objectives, or steps that have to be reached within a given time period’.

As such,

  • Waking up in time for work in the morning
  • Being on time for your Dentist appointment on Friday.
  • Eating breakfast before you leave he house in the morning.

are all goals. But they’re not usually seen as goals, because they’re just part of life.

Image courtesy of Master isolated images
Image courtesy of Master isolated images

So now, you know you can easily achieve your goals.

Why then, do so many of us fail when trying to set goals that will change our lives?

Take a look back at the definition.

The problem with most goals, is that either they’re too vague, or there’s no specific timescale.

Make your goals easy to achieve

Let’s use one of those three examples above to explain how all goals, including the really big ones, should be approached.

Each of them …

  • Is specific in nature.
  • has a series of steps leading to their achievement and
  • have set timescales.

“I will get up at 7am tomorrow, so that I can be at work for 9am.”

This goal has a measurable end result… to be at work for 9am. it has a required step that needs to be taken…  getting out of bed at 7am and a specific timescale… tomorrow morning.

Now if we take a couple of standard goals that many people aspire to, you can see the difference;

1. I want to be ‘fitter’.
2. I want more money.

If we break these down into their component parts, we can see why there are problems.

Do they have specific steps to their achievement? – NO

Do they have a specific timescale for their achievement? – NO

Are the end results measurable, or observable – YES (ish!)?

You can measure whether you have become fitter and whether you have more money.

But, your mind is incapable of making a judgement decision. If two weeks ago you would drive to the corner shop and now you walk, your mind assumes that you’re fitter than you were. If you find a penny down the back of your couch, your now have more money than you did before!

So, those goals have zero of the three things required for a successful outcome. Is it any wonder that people rarely reach those vague goals?

To the mind though, the goals have been successfully reached. Hence the reason many people join a gym at the start of a new year. Then they stop going a few weeks ( or days 😉 ) later. Their mind is telling them that they’ve already achieved their goal, so they can stop trying now!

Setting goals the right way

To properly achieve a life goal like the ones listed above let’s redesign them……

To have more money could be re-worded to  something like…

“by 1st January next year, I will have £5,000 in my savings account. I will achieve this by setting aside money each month, which I’ll transfer via standing order and by collecting the loose change from my pockets at the end of each day.”

To be fitter could be re-worded to maybe…

“During the next 18 months I will complete at least 30 minutes of cardiac exercise at least three times per week and jog at least twice per week, increasing the distance slightly each time.”

One of the main reasons bigger dreams never become a reality is because they seem too big to ever reach. Let’s say you’re 21 years old and have goal that says “I want to have £250,000 in my savings account by my 60th birthday”.

To everyone except the already wealthy, that goal seems impossible to reach.

But with a series of smaller, achievable steps it becomes a reachable goal; if, of course you set up a plan to get there.

eg: Work out how much you would need to save each year to reach your eventual goal. Set these totals as smaller ‘stepping‘ goals, then celebrate each time you reach one.

Next, work out different ways that you could reach these totals, for example;

1. I will work another job on a Saturday and have my wage paid directly into my savings account.
2. I will also transfer £250 from my main salary into my saving account. 
3. I will put in the extra time necessary to gain an additional 5 sales per month. The commission from which will be transferred directly to my savings account, 
4. etc. 

Now, your original goal of having £250,000 in the bank in 39 years has everything you need to make it successful…

You have series of measurable outcomes, a plan of actions necessary to achieve them and a specific time period for each outcome.

Things to remember

Setting steps along the way will give you the impetus to continue. And help your mind to realise that the final destination is completely achievable. (providing of course, you stick to your plan).

It’s also important to write your goals down and review them regularly.

By keeping them at the forefront of your mind, you’re more likely to bring them to fruition. And lastly, tell as many people as you can about your plans. It’s much harder to give up on your goals, when you have to admit to other people that you’ve decided to give up!

When you’re ready to get started, why not download the free Goal Setting Worksheet?

Steve, who's also the Founder of Teen Anxiety UK, has been writing books and articles about various aspects of Psychology since 2006.

For the last five years, he's main focus has been in helping build confidence and self-esteem.

His formal qualifications include Clinical Hypnotherapy, Psychotherapy, NLP and CBT.

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