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How to ensure you achieve your goals

Goal setting is an important tool for anybody who wants to improve themselves. However, goal achieving is often a neglected part of the personal development process. Plenty of people set goals (just look at New Year's Eve), but few of these goals ever come to fruition. Why is that?

Why goals fail

Let's face it, we're often full of enthusiasm when we're dreaming about what we want to achieve, but gradually the feeling fades and we're left back at the start - dreaming.

Goals fail because not enough thought and effort goes into achieving them. Setting the goal is only part of the journey, you must put in a conscious and consistent effort into burning the goal into your mind.

Thankfully, there's plenty you can do to improve your chances of turning your dreams into reality.

Set excellent goals

Many factors go into creating an effective goal, and it's something I'll be writing about in more depth in the future. Here are a few key points:

  • Be specific - The more specific the goal, the better. "Exercise more" is not specific, but "Exercise every Monday, Wednesday and Friday morning before work for twenty minutes" is much better. Doesn't that sound less like a dream and more like a plan?
  • Set a date - As plenty of people have said, "a goal without a deadline is just a dream". Giving yourself a reasonable deadline can help stop the "I'll start it tomorrow" syndrome that can creep up on you. A deadline promotes action, and helps you prioritise your tasks. Would your boss ever give you a big project to be completed "whenever"? Didn't think so.
  • Commit to paper - It sounds simple, but it's a step some people can miss. Write your goals down. This not acts as a form of commitment, but it stops you from forgetting them too!

Plan how you'll achieve them

Once you've got your goals, you need to plan how you'll achieve them. This process is really down to personal preference, but a good start is to write down the first concrete action you can take toward achieving your goal. If you like to think further ahead, you can write down the next three steps, or a more detailed plan for anything complex. It's really a case of finding out what works best for you. Don't be afraid to experiment with different methods until you find something that works.

Mind-mapping can be a great help at the planning stage, and it's often beneficial to write down as many ideas as you can at this stage. Always go for quantity, and never throw out an idea when you're mind mapping. The important part is to create a safe environment for your creativity, so you don't want to stifle it by throwing out ideas at an early stage. Some ideas that sound bad may even turn out to be useful once you've had time to think about them. Once you've got all your ideas, you can start to review them and put them into a coherent plan.

As an example, if I had a goal of increasing traffic to my blog I'd want to get as many ideas as possible, and then create an easy to follow plan in small steps that I could complete every day. This might include posting on certain days, contributing to relevant forums on a daily basis etc.

If you're stuck at this part, don't worry. Solutions have a habit of appearing when you're least expecting them, so as long as you're constantly reviewing your goal (as covered in the next section), you'll do fine. Just make sure you have some paper handy for when the answer arrives!

Review your goals regularly!

Once your goals are committed to paper and planned out, you need to make sure you review them on a regular basis. Reading and re-writing your goals helps to galvanise them, and creates the drive and momentum that will push you to achieving them. Read your goals every morning and every night, and review them every week.

Do what works for you. Write your goals on an index card and carry them around, record them to a tape and play it whilst driving to work, write them on a huge poster and stick it to the ceiling above your bed! The important thing is to really hammer them into your brain. Goals that get forgotten don't get achieved, so make sure you're regularly topping yourself up.

Don't be afraid to tweak things if they're not going as well as you'd like. Modify plans as regularly as you need to, because even if things are going well, you will almost certainly learn new things that will help you achieve your goals even faster.

The important stuff

To summarise - if you want to achieve your goals, use the following methods:

  • Set Excellent Goals - Write down your goals, and make them as specific as possible. Give yourself a deadline to help you prioritise your actions.
  • Plan how you'll achieve them - Once you've written your goals down, make a plan as to how you'll achieve them.
  • Review your goals regularly - Review your goals and plans as regularly as required. Burn them into your subconscious!

More articles on goals

This post was written for the ProBlogger "Blog Goals - Group Writing Project". You can read all about other people's goals, and a whole host of other goal related information. Be inspired!

I wish all contributors all the best with achieving their goals!

Posted in: goal setting | Comments (11)

11 Comments

#1 | | June 09, 2006 at 02:40PM

Hi, jumped over from problogger.net…really enjoyed your post. Nice job…cheers!

#2 | | June 13, 2006 at 03:17AM

Great post! I suggest promoting the video 'The Secret' …it's really phenomenal!

Jumped over from problogger too :)

#3 | | June 13, 2006 at 03:32PM

Thanks for all the comments!

@Paulo: I watched "The Secret" a few weeks ago, and although it wasn't as profound an experience as I'd expected, I learnt some useful ideas from it. I'll probably watch it again before writing about it in detail, and I have a feeling the second viewing will be more beneficial.

#4 | | September 05, 2006 at 09:39PM

Hi Phil,

Excellent post. Would love to hear your comments on the video "The Secret". The movie "What the Bleep Do We Know" might also interest you while your in the mood to watch movies.

#5 | | September 23, 2006 at 11:50PM

Hello,

I was looking for some resources on personal motivation and achieving goals for a resource list I'm putting together for my readers and future blog visitors.

I'm glad I'm came across this post :-)

I'm going to be adding this as a good "read" for my visitors and what not.

Remember…

Success in life, love and business is something we all have in us - we just need to learn how to bring it out and except it

To Your Success,

  • RM

http://www.achievingmygoals.com

#6 | | October 14, 2006 at 08:26AM

Ray: Thanks, that's very much appreciated!

#7 | | December 11, 2006 at 07:29PM

About establishing goals, I read some time ago (don't recall exactly where or written by whom) that if you wanted to make God laugh, you just need to share your goals. In Mexico, we have a saying: "when a person is proposed to do something, the devil always comes and gets in the way" (or something like this, since a whole lot of the meaning is lost in the translation of popular sayings, but I think you get the feel of it).

Well, this comment went from God to the devil, but it's meant in a healthy way. I'm myself a personal-development trainer, so I convinced on the need to establish, follow and surpass goals!

Jorge Pinkus

Your Maximum Success Coach

http://www.123-sites.com/Body-Language-Magic

#8 | | November 11, 2008 at 07:43AM

Having a positive outlook on whatever you are doing and being in the mindset that you are going to accomplish what you seek is the first step in achieving your goals.

#9 | | September 10, 2009 at 10:23AM

Hi! I was surfing and found your blog post… nice! I love your blog. :) Cheers! Sandra. R.

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