How To Set Achievable Goals

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Some people have already given up on their New Year’s Resolutions. But not you! You are going to achieve your goals this year. Here’s how.

The trick is, goals have to be measurable. And, they have to have action steps.

First let’s back up a minute, because before you can determine what your goals should be, you have to decide what is important to you and what your priorities are. We did that last week in this post, so go have a look at that if you haven’t already to set your priorities.

Your goals will naturally flow from your priorities. Say for example one of your priorities is to increase your fitness this year. There’s a 5k race in September, and training for that race will definitely increase your fitness. Completing a race is an achievement, but you want to give yourself definitive guidelines by finishing the race in a specific amount of time: 30 minutes.

So finishing the 5k race in September in under 30 minutes is your goal. It’s measurable (distance and time), and you have a timeline (you need to prepare so you can do it in September).

Now brainstorm all the actions you need to do in order to achieve your goal. Some things need to happen immediately, like buying running shoes and joining a gym if you don’t live someplace where you can run outside. Some things will be ongoing like running 4 days per week and stretching every day.

You can track details every month like the distance and time for each of your runs, so you can make sure you are on track to complete the race in under 30 minutes.

As another example, say one of your priorities this year is to improve your financial situation. You decide you need to save $3,000 by the end of the year. So figure out your action tasks: to save $3,000 in 12 months, that means you need to save $250 each month. That is not an insignificant amount of money, so how are you going to do it? You can cut out expenses by eating out less, which means bringing your lunch 4 days per week. You’ll also need to set up a savings account and track your expenses to make sure your numbers add up and you will reach your goal.

Work through this exercise with each of your priorities: what is your goal for the year, and what actions do you need to take to make it happen?

Follow through by working your goal tasks into your schedule. Do a monthly review to make sure you are on track to reach your goals. (See more on doing monthly reviews here.)

Planner shown: the Life Noted planner has pages to help you set and track your priorities, goals, and actions for the year and for each month. For more information on the Life Noted planner including where to buy click here.

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