Every year we have new goals we want to achieve.
Actually, a lot of years we have the same goals we wish we had achieved last year. Lose the weight, stick to healthy habits, stop a bad habit, make x amount of money, and so forth.
These goals aren’t quite as easy as they sound and that’s why they can be hard to achieve. Still, hope never dies and we keep trying year after year.
But wouldn’t it be great if we could succeed? Is it possible that our lack of success may go back to how we set the goal in the first place?
Let’s set up our goals better. To do that we need to understand the anatomy of a goal and follow 7 steps of goal setting.
Why Follow the 7 Steps of Goal Setting?
It’s easy to say what you want to do and call that a goal but is that really going to get you motivated? Will you know how to go about achieving your goal just from saying it out loud?
I mean, if I said I want to lose weight this year that wouldn’t tell you much. You would probably wonder what kind of diet and exercise plan I was going to follow to achieve that.
Even more so if I said that I wanted to become a millionaire. You would think I was crazy unless I had a very detailed plan.
What if your goal is to simplify your life? You would need to know why you want to do that and what steps to take in order to achieve it.
Simply put a goal without a plan is simply a dream. It’s easy to think of all the ways we want our lives to change but if we actually want something to happen we are going to need clear out that cluttered mind and know exactly how we will go about it.
That’s why we need to follow the 7 steps of goal setting. Let’s find out what they are!
1: Create a Goal
The first step in the goal setting framework is of course choosing our goal. That starts with the simple statement of what you want to do but then it gets refined by other criteria.
You need to be very specific about your goal so that you know exactly what you are going to try to do. It needs to be something that is relevant to your life, something that you see a clear benefit from doing.
Also, if you are going to succeed your goal must be attainable. If you know it’s a crazy idea you won’t be motivated to keep going but if you know this goal is within your reach it will be easier to do the work!
2: Break it Down
The next step you need to take in realistic goal setting is to break down your goal. Focus on the essentials, what you really need to achieve your goal. You need to understand every part of what you need to do to achieve this goal.
For example, if your goal is to simplify your life you need to understand that the steps you will take will include decluttering your home, streamlining your schedule, and learning to say no to things that aren’t essential or enjoyable.
Once you understand all the steps you need to take to achieve your goal you should write them all down. This will help you create a mental road map of the activities you need to make into habits to achieve your goal.
3: Set a Timeline
Now that you have a goal and you know exactly how to go about it you are going to make it timely and measurable so you can make steady progress. You do that by breaking down your progress into smaller achievable goals and deciding when you should reach those goals by.
For example, if you are trying to lose 20 pounds in 4 months you need to lose 5 pounds a month. Write your goal weight for each month in your planner.
If you are trying to get 1000 new clients in six months than you would want to set goals of 250 new clients each two months.
When you are trying to quit a bad habit you can mark each successful week or month with a treat will give yourself for succeeding.
When I was writing my e-books I had the goal of writing two chapters a week and then editing a chapter every single day till I was done.
When you set a timeline for your goal it will help you stay on track instead of procrastinating or hoping that everything will magically happen at the last minute.
4: Decide on an Action Plan
By the time you follow the first three in 7 steps of goal setting you will feel really excited about your goal and ready to get started.
But wait, what exactly is your action plan? Do you know exactly what days of the week you will engage in the activity that takes you towards your goal? What time of day will you squeeze that time into? Where will you go to do it?
Think about your goal like you are interviewing it. Ask it exactly how it will happen and make an action plan that is super specific and fits your life. When you have that action plan write it down in your planner, on your fridge calendar, or wherever you need the reminder to get your butt in gear when the time comes.
5: Set It Up
Another way you can help yourself stick to your new goal is to set it up ahead of time.
For example, if your goal is run or go to the gym every morning set out your gym clothes by your bed so you can slip right into them. If you are planning on going right after work pack your gym bag and put it in the car.
If you have a goal that revolves around a hobby make sure you have the needed supplies set up in a space that is easy to get to and clean up.
When your goal is work related make sure that you have the dedicated time scheduled and tell others not to bother you during that time.
For every goal there is a different way to set it up but trust me, having everything ready before you start will make it so much easier to be consistent.
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6: Habit Stack
In the meantime follow his best tip. Habit stack. What is habit stacking and how do you do it?
Habit stacking is where you connect your new habit to something you already do every day. For example, when I started learning Spanish with Duolingo I attached it to my habit of having coffee in the morning.
What habits do you already have? Could you connect a habit that will take you towards your goal to something you already do?
If you do habit stacking your old habit will become a trigger to do your new habit and it will be much easier to be consistent and see results!
7: Go for It!
The last in the 7 steps of goal setting is of course to JUST GO FOR IT! It is so easy to come up with an actionable goal and focus on a goal setting framework. We love to prepare so we feel ready and it’s easy to get tied up analyzing the anatomy of a goal so long that we never actually get started.
Don’t do that! When it’s time to start working towards your goal you just have to dive in. Do it scared!
When I started my blog I was nervous. I thought about it for a month, wrote 5 blog posts, looked up hosting and basic set up and hit publish a day before I was planning on it.
I was scared. I made tons of mistakes. And when I look back at those first posts I sometimes cringe. (I’ve also edited them extensively).
I didn’t have a clue how much was involved in having a blog and all the tech stuff but I just jumped in and learned as I went along. I am still learning.
When you have a goal, don’t expect everything to be perfect before you get started. Just start. I promise, you won’t regret it!
Will You Try the 7 Steps of Goal Setting?
I know that I am excited to smash my personal growth goals this year! What about you? Are you ready to finally achieve what may have been years in the making? What kinds of goals do you have this year?
One thing I know about achieving your goals is it always feels AMAZING. It builds our self-worth and helps us tackle new things in the future. When you achieve your goals you get stronger mentally and that makes you more resilient and appreciative. The key to a happy simple life is to always keep growing!
One way to cement your goals into reality is to tell someone else so please leave one of your goals in the comments below!