Goal Setting 101 – How To Set Goals & Actually Achieve Them

If you are anything like me, you know exactly what it’s like when you attempt to set a goal and fail miserably. It’s a universal experience.

Think of all of the New Year’s Resolutions that people have failed at. You know the ones I’m talking about: you want to lose weight, achieve professional success, eat healthy, and so forth over the upcoming year. Despite your best effort in the first few months, these goals are usually just a distant memory by the end of the year.

So how exactly do you set actionable goals and then achieve them? More importantly, how do you set yourself up for success so that you don’t get derailed by the slightest misstep?

Goal setting 101 says that to achieve your goals, follow these steps:

  • Define your goal
  • Set realistic and achievable goals
  • Set a deadline for reaching the goal
  • Make a plan for attaining it
  • Measure your progress as you work towards your goal
  • Celebrate your success

Goal setting can seem like a daunting task, but it doesn’t have to be. In this blog post, I’ll go over some tips for setting effective goals. By following them, you can create goals that will help you achieve your desired outcome. So, let’s get started!

What Are The Steps In The Goal Setting Process?

Most of us have experienced the frustration of setting a goal, only to find that we didn’t achieve it. The key is to set the right kinds of goals from the start.

Here are some basics on the goal-setting process that everyone should know:

1. Define your goal clearly and specifically. The more specific and clear your goal is, the easier it will be to develop a plan to achieve it and measure your progress along the way.

2. Set realistic and achievable goals. It’s important to set goals that challenge you, but are still achievable. If your goal is too difficult, you may become discouraged and give up. On the other hand, if your goal is too easy, you won’t get the satisfaction of accomplishing something challenging.

3. Set a deadline for your goal. Having a timeline for your goal will help you stay on track and motivated to accomplish it. This is one of the most important things you can do, especially when you’re working towards long term goals.

4. Make a plan to achieve your goal. Once you have decided on a clear and specific goal, it’s time to develop a plan to make it happen. This plan should include the actionable steps you need to take and – this is crucial – when you need to take them.

As you check off the smaller goals or steps within your bigger goals, it provides you with positive reinforcement to keep working towards the end result.

5. Measure you progress along the way. Checking in on your progress on a regular basis will help you stay on track and motivated to see it through to the end.

6. Celebrate your success! Then you cross the finish line and reach your goal, take some time to celebrate your accomplishment. This will help motivate you to go after (and accomplish) future goals.

Setting goals is an important first step in achieving success. But it’s not enough to just set goals. You need to set goals that you can accomplish. By following the steps I’ve just laid out, you can increase your chances of reaching your full potential.

What Are The 3 Types Of Goals?

Goals can be classified into three different categories: process, performance, and outcome goals.

A process goal is a specific action or behavior that you want to complete. For example, a process goal could be “run 3 miles every day” or “work on my novel on a daily basis.” The focus with a process goal is on the action itself, rather than on the result.

A performance goal is similar to a process goal, but it also includes a target or standard that you want to reach. The focus with performance goals is on both the action and the result. For example, a performance goal could be “run 5 miles in 30 minutes” or “write 1,000 words of my novel each week”.

An outcome goal is a specific goal that you want to achieve. For example, an outcome goal could be “lose 10 pounds” or “publish my novel.” The focus with an outcome goal is on the end result.

If you’re struggling to come up with goals, start by brainstorming a list of things you’d like to achieve in the next year or so. Once you have a list, narrow it down to a few achievable goals. From there, start working on a plan of action for how you’ll achieve each goal.

And remember, if you hit a snag along the way, don’t give up! Just readjust your plan and keep moving forward.

Goal Setting Methods To Try

It’s important to find a goal setting method that works for you and there are many different methods to choose from. Some popular goal setting methods include the SMART goals method, the OKR method, Time-Bound Goals, and the Working Backwards method.

You can use any of these methods to help you zero in on your goal achievement.

S.M.A.R.T. Goals

You may have heard of SMART goals, but do you know what makes them smart? SMART is an acronym that stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound.

Let’s break down each component of the SMART framework so you can start setting – and achieving – your own SMART goals.

Specific: A specific goal is one that is clear and well defined. When setting a specific goal, you should answer the following questions: Who is involved? What do I want to accomplish? Where will it take place? When do I want to achieve this goal?

To illustrate, a specific goal might be, “I will lose 10 pounds by June 1st.”

Measurable: A measurable goal is quantifiable – meaning you can track your progress towards achieving it. This helps to keep you motivated and on track. To make your goal measurable, ask yourself: How much? How many?

Continuing with my previous example, a measurable goal would be, “I will lose 10 pounds by June 1st by going to the gym three times per week and eating healthier.”

Achievable: An achievable goal is something that you can actually accomplish. To make sure your goal is achievable, ask yourself: Can I do this? Do I have the resources I need to achieve this goal?

Relevant: A relevant goal is something that is important to you and aligned with your core values. A relevant goal should also be something that you have control over. You can’t control whether or not you win the lottery, but you can control how much money you save each month.

A relevant goal would be, “I will save $500 each month so that I can go on a vacation next year.”

Time-bound: A time-bound goal is a goal with a deadline. This helps to keep you motivated and on track.

Using the previous example, a time-bound goal would be, “I will save $500 each month by December 31st so that I can go on a vacation next year.”

OKR Method Of Goal Setting

If you’re looking for a goal setting method that is simple but effective, then you might be interested in using the OKR Method. The OKR Method was popularized by Intel in the 1970s.

The OKR Method stands for Objectives and Key Results, and it is a system that helps you to set specific objectives or goals, and then identify key results that you need to achieve in order to reach those goals.

The beauty of this method is that it can be used for any type of goal, whether they are personal goals or professional. It’s a system that is easy to follow and implement.

Here’s how the OKR Method works:

First, you need to identify your objectives, or what you want to achieve. Once you have your objectives in mind, you need to set key results that will help you achieve those objectives.

For each objective, you should have 2-3 key results. And, each key result should be specific, measurable, and achievable.

Once you have your objectives and key results in place, it’s time to start working towards them. Begin by setting a time frame for each objective and key result. Then, start taking action steps that will help you achieve your goals.

As with any goal setting, make sure to track your progress along the way and celebrate your successes!

Time-Bound Goals Method

Another common goal setting method is to write out the following short-term goals and long-term goals:

  • What you want to accomplish in 1 year
  • What you want to accomplish in 5 years
  • What you want to accomplish in 10 years
  • What you want to accomplish in 20 years

Years ago, I did a Tony Robbins training program and he had us do this exercise.

I remember writing out that I wanted to earn $250,000 within the following 10 years. At the time, I was making an already good living at around $80,000. The idea of making that much money seemed impossible. I had no idea of how I was going to do it. But I wrote it down anyway.

Over the coming years, I moved several times and lost track of the notebook where I had written that goal down.

Years later, I came across my journal. I realized I had achieved many of the goals I had written down, but certainly not all of them.

The big advantage to having time-bound goals is that you take the time to map out the journey ahead and define success. Another advantage is that you actually take the time to think about what you might really want to achieve.

If you use this method, an important step is to survey every area in your life and set goals for each area. Set fitness goals, professional and career goals, relationship goals, etc.

This method has some disadvantages, though.

An important aspect of effective goal setting is making sure that you keep tabs on where you are in the process. It’s hard work coming up with all of these goals and fleshing them out so you can write them down. But because there is so much information required to set good goals with this method, in my case I lost the overview, and ultimately nearly forgot that I had done the exercise.

This method, in my opinion, is that it is a spray and pray method. It’s easy to write all of this important information down, and forget to ever read it again. It’s also easy to lose the sense of urgency, and this method doesn’t really involve setting up an action plan.

The Working Backwards Method

This method involves setting a specific goal for a future date and requires you think about what would have to happen to reach that goal. A simple example would be the following:

Suppose you have your own business and you want to have 10 new customers within the next 90 days.

You can break the 90 days into weeks. Then, you can factor in tasks that would have to happen to move your project forward by each week. Depending on your closing ratio expectations, you could set an objective for the short-term.

Since your aim is 10 new customers, you would more than likely set objectives to talk to 100 people within the next 6-8 weeks to give yourself time to close the business.

Each week would have specific objectives and action steps. You would also be able to monitor whether you are successful or not. At the end of 90 days, it would be clear whether you met your objective and whether your mission is complete.

This method can help you create realistic goals, plan resources and define good ways to complete an important goal.

The drawback is that if you fall behind, it’s easy to give up, feel disempowered or get stuck by going back to living without a plan.

Best Goal Setting Method

So what is the best way to set a goal? According to Bob Proctor’s Thinking into Results program, the first thing to do is set a new goal for yourself that inspires you.

The most effective goals are big goals, and the best way to create a worthy goal is to allow yourself to relax and imagine that if you could do anything, what would it be?

It’s important to allow yourself to daydream. Ask yourself if you had no constraints, what would you want to achieve? The problem that most people have is that they think their big goals are silly. You might be afraid that someone would laugh at you if you told them what you really want to achieve.

There is a significant difference between the goals I’m talking about here and the typical measurable goals that most people set.

Most people set goals that they think are attainable for specific areas in their lives, but these goals tend to be boring. The goal ideas aren’t inspiring.

You goal plans MUST inspire you, otherwise, you’ll give up on them.

So, you want to set a goal so big that it will inspire you on a really deep level. It’s important to note that you most likely will have absolutely no idea how you are going to achieve it.

Next, you write out the goal on a goal card and carry it around with you in your pocket or set it as your lock screen on your smart phone.

On your goal card, write down the following words: I’m so happy and grateful now that…

Now fill in your goal. It can be anything like:

-I won the world championship in my sport.

-My annual income is now my monthly income.

-I have a happy loving relationship.

Every day, repeat the goal and keep it in front of you. Write it 100 times a day, or write it 25 times a day with your non-dominant hand. Stand on one foot and recite your goal.

The idea is to get your body in action with your goal.

This will help you get your will in alignment with your goal. The path to your goal will begin to open up, and it will become clearer as to how you can get the key results you’re looking for.

Final Thoughts

When it comes to setting goals, there are a few key things to keep in mind if you want to actually achieve them. First, your goals should be specific and measurable. This will help you track your progress and stay motivated. Second, make sure your goals are realistic and attainable. Trying to accomplish too much at once is likely to set you up for failure. Finally, write down your goals and create a plan for how you’re going to reach them. This will help hold you accountable and increase your chances of success.

If you follow these simple tips, you’ll be well on your way to meeting or exceeding all of your goals. Just remember to be patient, stay focused, and don’t give up. With a little hard work and dedication, you can achieve anything you set your mind to.

Kat Clukey

I am so glad you are here, and have chosen to spend your time reading my blog. I'm a Life Coach through the Procter Gallagher Institute . Since 2013, I have been on an intense mission to read books, go to seminars, and generally turn myself inside out to find out why some people seem to feel good in their own skin while I've struggled with self-worth and low self-esteem most of my adult life. I hope you find insights that help you on your journey!