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How to set goals you can actually achieve

Jacquelyn Lane

August 4, 2022

Most people know that setting goals is important. A well-written goal pushes us, keeps us motivated, and makes us feel good once accomplished. But unfortunately, many people also fail to set goals that are achievable. This can lead to frustration and a lack of progress in your career or business. In this blog post, we'll share tips for setting goals you can actually achieve. We'll also provide resources to help you get started. So read on for our 6 tips on how to set goals and make progress in your professional life!

1. Make your goals specific and measurable

From a coaching perspective, the two biggest issues I see with goal setting are that they are either not specific enough or not measurable. Goals need to be clear in order to be effective. Without specificity, it is difficult to stay on track and easy to become derailed. Likewise, goals need to be measurable so that you can track your progress and ensure that you are on track to achieving your goal. SMART goal setting is an effective framework for goal setting because it addresses both of these issues. SMART stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound. By following this framework, you can ensure that your goals are clear and achievable. 

2. Set a deadline for yourself

When it comes to goal-setting, one of the most important factors is setting a deadline. This may seem like a no-brainer, but you'd be surprised how many people fail to do this. The saying goes that a goal without a deadline is just a wish. We’ve all experienced that without a deadline, it's all too easy to push things off. Suddenly, what was supposed to be a two-week project has turned into a two-month project, and you're no closer to your goal than when you started. That's why deadlines are so important - they hold you accountable and motivate you to stay on track. Furthermore, deadlines create a sense of urgency and force you to use your time wisely. So if you're serious about achieving your goal, make sure to set a deadline for yourself. And if you need help staying on track, consider working with a coach who can help you develop an action plan and hold you accountable along the way.

3. Make sure your goals are challenging yet achievable

There's a fine line between being sufficiently ambitious and setting yourself up for disappointment. If your goal is too lofty, you may feel overwhelmed and disheartened if you can't meet it. But if your goal is too modest, you may not feel fulfilled even if you do achieve it. So how do you strike the right balance?

One key is to set realistic goals. This doesn't mean that you should underestimate yourself; rather, it means being honest about what you're capable of achieving. If you're not sure where to start, a goal-setting coach can help you assess your strengths and weaknesses and identify achievable targets.

Another important factor is to keep perspective. Remember that any goal worth achieving will require some effort; if it was easy, everyone would do it. So don't be discouraged if you have to put in some extra work to reach your goal. Stay focused on your end goal, and trust that the process will be worthwhile in the end.

4. Write down your goals and review them regularly

According to recent studies, the key to success may be as simple as writing your goal down. In one study, participants were asked to either think about or write down their goal, and then rate their confidence in achieving that goal. The results showed that those who had written down their goal were significantly more likely to achieve it than those who had only thought about it.

So what is it about writing goals down that makes them more likely to be achieved? One possibility is that the act of putting pen to paper (or finger to keyboard) helps to make goals feel more real and concrete. It's one thing to vaguely think about losing 10 pounds; it's another thing entirely to see those words in black and white. Another possibility is that writing goals down helps to keep us accountable. When we have a goal written down, we're more likely to be reminded of it and take actions towards achieving it. And finally, writing goals down gives us a way to track our progress and celebrate our successes. 

5. Share your goals with others for added accountability

Setting goals is an important part of any successful endeavor, but it can be difficult to stay on track if you're working alone. One way to increase your chances of success is to share your goals with others. This can provide much-needed accountability and support as you work towards your goal. In addition, sharing your goal with a coach or mentor can help you to develop a more detailed plan and identify any potential roadblocks. So if you're serious about achieving your goal, don't keep it to yourself - let others know what you're aiming for and ask for their help in making it happen.

In 100 Coaches, we recommend Daily Questions partners, two people who meet for 10 minutes each day to ask about the progress the other has made toward their goals in the past day. We find that one of two outcomes happen as a result of this process: 1) the goal is consistently brought to the top of mind and real progress is achieved or 2) progress continues to stall and the person realizes that this goal is not a true priority for them at this time. Either outcome is a win! 

6. Celebrate each accomplishment along the way to keep yourself motivated

Sometimes, in the midst of working towards a goal, it can be easy to lose sight of why you're doing it in the first place. That's why it's important to celebrate each accomplishment along the way. Doing so will not only help you stay on track, but it will also give you a much-needed boost of confidence and energy. Of course, how you choose to celebrate is up to you. Maybe you'll treat yourself to a new pair of shoes after reaching a fitness goal. Or maybe you'll take your team out for drinks after closing an important business deal. Whatever you do, make sure it's something that truly makes you happy. After all, isn't that what goal-setting is all about?

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