According to a study by Statistic Brain, 92% of New Year’s goals end in failure - in fact, 25% of goal setters gave up during the first week. If you are having trouble achieving your business or personal goals it's probably time to change your approach to how to set goals. Successful goal setting starts with identifying specific goals and planning how you intend to achieve them in a realistic way. Here are ten goal setting tips to help you succeed:
How to Set Goals and Achieve Them - 10 Goal Setting Tips
1) Choose goals that are worthwhile.
You would think it would go without saying but lots of people set meaningless goals - and then wonder why they don't feel any sense of achievement. Remember that the purpose of goal setting is to move us forward and spur positive change. If a goal doesn't have this motivating, transformational quality, don’t bother with it. You'll just be disappointed.
Deciding to start a business is a worthy, life-changing goal - it can spur you on to investigate business ideas, put together a business plan, obtain debt or equity financing, hire employees, and market your products or services. Going back to school for a degree or to learn a trade is a worthy goal.
2) Choose goals that are achievable stretches.
The fact that goals have to be achievable is standard advice on the topic of how to set goals. Pretty well everyone knows that there's no point in setting a goal that you will never be able to accomplish. All you'll do is get frustrated and abandon it. Less well known is the fact that goals need to stretch you in some fashion. If a goal isn't engaging, you'll get bored and abandon it. (See Your Goal Setting Guide for more on this.)
3) Make your goals specific.
Goals that are vague or non-specific are a recipe for failure. To decide that you're going to lose twenty pounds or get our of debt, for instance, is nice, but provides you with no guidance for doing that.
Think how much easier it would be to accomplish if you knew exactly what you were going to do to lose the weight. So when you're goal setting, use a goal setting formula that gives your goal a built-in action plan. You'll start accomplishing more than you thought possible. If you're running a business and wish to increase your sales by 20% this year, for instance, you will need to come up with a plan; perhaps you need to increase sales productivity, or create a social media marketing campaign on Facebook.
4) Commit to your goals.
You need to dedicate yourself to accomplish the goal you have chosen. That's why writing your goals down is a common goal setting tip; it's the first step to committing to achieving your goals. Develop an action plan that clearly outlines your goals and how you intend to achieve them. Motivate yourself with a rags-to-riches story or famous quote.
Also realize that accomplishing a goal is not an overnight process and that you are going to have to work regularly at transforming your goal into an accomplishment. And you have to set aside the time you will need to work on your goal.
5) Make your goal public.
Making your goal public is a technique that is really effective for many people. Think of organizations such as TOPS (Take Off Pounds Sensibly) and their weekly weigh ins. Knowing that others are going to be monitoring your results ensures commitment to the goal and is extremely motivating. You don't have to join an organization or broadcast your goal on a Facebook page to make your goal public; having a goal buddy, a single person interested in your efforts, can be just as effective.
6) Prioritize your goals.
Goals don't have to be huge projects that take months or even years to attain, but because they require commitment and need to be worked on regularly, every single goal that you set will be demanding. So don't sabotage yourself by taking on a bunch of goals at a time. Assuming that you are following all the other goal setting tips presented here and know how to set goals that are worthwhile, I would recommend working on no more than three at a time, and even then you should choose one goal as your top priority.
7) Make your goals real to you.
Goal setting is basically a way to approach the process of accomplishment. It's a very successful way, if done right, but like all such processes, it's a bit abstract. Using techniques such as visualization to focus on what actually accomplishing your goal will be like and what it will do for you can be very powerful - and a great help in staying motivated. Choosing and posting pictures that represent successfully accomplishing your goal is another way of doing this.
8) Set deadlines to accomplish your goals.
A goal without a deadline is a goal that you have not fully committed to and a goal you will not achieve. For one thing, if working on achieving a goal is something you can do whenever, you won't. For another, having a deadline will shape your plan of action.
To return to the debt example, it makes a great difference whether your goal is to be out of debt in two years or in five. Obviously you will have to reduce your spending or increase your income much more drastically to get out of debt sooner.
9) Evaluate your goals.
Remember that goal setting is a process - and evaluation is an important part of that process. Don’t just settle for a 'good' or 'bad' assessment; think about what you did, how you did it and what you got out of it. Whether you successfully accomplished your goal or not, there's always something to be learned; what works or doesn't work for you, whether achieving your goal lived up to your expectations, why you failed. Extracting these lessons will increase your accomplishments even more as you apply them to your future goal setting experience.
10) Reward yourself for accomplishment.
Internal satisfaction is a great thing, but external rewards can be immensely satisfying, too. When you accomplish a goal, you've devoted time and effort to your success, so take the time to celebrate your success, too. One caveat; don't undermine your efforts by choosing an inappropriate reward. Eating a huge slab of cheesecake is not an appropriate reward for losing twenty pounds; for example, a new outfit would be a more suitable choice.
How to Set Goals and Achieve Them: Set the Stage for Your Goal Setting Success
So don't defeat your efforts before you even start to work on accomplishing your desired goals. Set yourself up for success rather than failure by applying these ten goal setting tips and start achieving what you want to achieve.