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Goal Kicker – How to Set and Achieve Goals
February 01, 2011

How to Set and Achieve Goals

But firstly I must apologize for my tardy newsletters through January - the most hectic goal setting season of the year. We live in normally-sunny Queensland, Australia but this year it hasn't been quite so sunny, and while our families are all safe from the devastating floods and cyclones our thoughts have certainly been distracted.

Moving on though, the first month for the year is already over – so how ARE those New Year Resolutions going?

Hopefully, you’re on track, but don’t feel too bad if you’re not. The fact is, 90% of people have abandoned their new year’s resolutions by the end of January and it’s people who are outside of the "norm" that really do anything significant with their lives.

And it has nothing to do with luck of fate or genetics. The fact is, success "can" be reverse engineered and reproduced. You don't have to accept what everyone else is getting or doing - but you must make a few new choices.

Suppose you decided today - right now - that you're finally making a REAL commitment to turn your dreams into actions... your goals into achievements... AND your resolutions into reality.

It can happen... but you've got to take the first step.

Now, in the last few newsletters of last year, I asked you to think about what you really want from your life and take that first step in setting and achieving goals. Over the next few weeks I’m going to give you some advice on how you can improve your chances of achieving success.

And my first bit of advice is …

1. Find a goal setting system that works for you.

The truth of the matter is that goal setting is just a process, a simple process at that. But there are some traps and pitfalls you want to avoid, and some tips and tools that can make the process a whole lot easier.

That’s what a goal setting system does – makes your goals setting journey easier, which means you enjoy the journey more and are more likely to succeed. Anyway, here are some good programs that you can try:

Life Planning Program The Life Planning Program is a workbook style program that you can work through at your own pace, and is supported by practical tools, templates and assessments – and it’s all FREE!

The program is based on helping you to identify what you really want out of life and how you can achieve it by understanding how your own unique personality, strengths and weaknesses affect your ability to set and achieve goals. The program then uses the industry accepted method of setting SMART goals, and shows you how to develop action plans to achieve these goals.

The program is very in depth for something that’s free, but because it’s free, it’s not very pretty in parts!

Goal Pro GoalPro is a goal setting software, probably the most feature-rich application in the self-help industry. The latest version has great interface, lots of new features, and new video tutorials that show you how to work with this program. That's great, because the program is so full with features and it's not so simple to take advantage of all of them.

You can literally do hundreds of stuff with this program, like:

  • Build your personal Success Tree. (I love the name!) You do it by breaking your goal down to smaller goals, then to tasks and appointments, so it's not so overwhelming. All you have to do is to follow the plan step-by-step.
  • Manage all your tasks in calendar.
  • Check your progress with reports and visual graphs (great for some inspiration!)
  • Keep a daily journal (for a stuff like "What I'm grateful for?", "What made me happy today?" "What have I accomplished today?")
  • Write down all your brainstorming sessions.
  • Plus it has build-in Success Coach, that encourages daily specific actions.

So if you're looking for something that would help you to get yourself organized and focused on your goals, you can download 15-day trial to see if it works for you.

2. Set Goals that are SMART

Now for the 2nd bit of advice – set yourself SMART goals. You may have already heard of SMART goals and think it’s just hype, but the SMART goal process is really helpful in starting you off in the right direction with your goals.

The main benefit in using this process is that your goal gets written down – sounds a bit simplistic I know, but time after time it has been proven that people who only set goals in their mind, don’t achieve them in the end. The simple act of writing down your goal is so important because it takes it out of your thoughts and into your reality.

SMART is an acronym used to describe the essential elements of a goal, so a good goal needs to be:

Specific – your goal needs to be a specific statement of exactly what you want to achieve.

Measureable – you need to be able measure progress against your goal. Some goals, like weight loss, are easy to measure. For goals with no obvious measure, then you’ll need to come up with some kind of ranking system. More on How to Measure Goals.

Actionable – to achieve your goal, you’ll need a set of step by step actions that you can take to achieve your goal. Goals won’t happen if you just sit around waiting for them to.

Realistic – don’t bite off more than you can chew!

Time-bound – set yourself a deadline, of you’ll just keep putting it off for another day. More on How to set realistic timeframes.

If you follow the above principles, you’ll be well on your way to setting SMART goals.

3. Take Action

The whole point of creating SMART goals (which include an ‘A’ for actionable) is to be able to take action on them – afterall, it doesn’t matter how well documented your goals are, they just won’t happen if you don’t take that first step.

And your SMART goals can be as detailed or simple as you like when it comes to the ‘A’ – as along as it gives you clear instructions on HOW to achieve your goals. And the most important step of your action plant is your first step. Then the next step. Then the next step and so on.

It doesn’t matter if you don’t know all the steps now – sometimes these only become clear once you’ve taken the first one.

So what are you waiting for – take that FIRST step towards your goals today!!

4. Review Goal Progress

It’s important to review the progress of your goals for several reasons:

  • To see whether you are achieving the deadlines on tasks required to achieve your end goal.
  • To make sure you’re still actually heading in the right direction towards your goal.
  • To make any necessary adjustments to your action plan so that it is still achievable.
  • As motivation – to see what you’ve achieved and that you’re that much closer to achieving your end goal.
It’s also a great way to learn from any mini-successes and failures you may have encountered along the way!

The Goal Progress Review provides a number of prompts to trigger your thoughts on how you are progressing. Now, we adopt the “SMARTer” goal format for setting goals – so our Goal Progress Review tool gets you to review each of these elements to guarantee that your goals stay smart.

So first of all, measureyour goal progress - goals need to be able to be measured so you can monitor progress. How you measure your goal (eg ranking system, actual measure such as weight, etc) should be established at the start of the goal setting process, along with your starting measurement. By determining your current measurement and comparing it with your starting point, you will be able to see whether or not you have progressed towards your goal.

Secondly, are you using your Action Plan - your action plan is your road map to achieving your goal, which is your end destination. If you’re not using your map, how do you expect to get there? Think about how you have set up your action plan and whether there is another method that will suit you better.

You also need to look at whether you’re achieving the deadlines on your action items – if not, why not? Deadlines are there for a reason – to keep up momentum! Perhaps your deadlines were unrealistic (don’t worry, this is common!) or your time has been directed to other more urgent activities – either way, think about why so you can adjust your action plan.

Thirdly, is the goal still relevant - Goals are established based on your situation at the time of setting them. If there has been a significant change in your life, you need to consider whether you are you still able to achieve this goal – or whether you still WANT to. Remember, goals MUST be relevant otherwise you won’t have the motivation to achieve them. Remind yourself why this goal is really important to you, and ask whether this is still the case.

And finally, consider your resourcing - is your level of resourcing (money, time, information, support) adequate? Identify any additional resource needs and where/ how you might find them.

The ToolBOX on the website contains FREE forms, templates and worksheets for all your goal setting needs. In the “”Life Planning Workbook” you’ll find a Goal Progress Review which you can use as a checklist for the above review.

And don’t forget, you can try one or more of the following FREE resources to help you on your journey:

  • Goal Setting E-Course: Foundations and Keystones
  • Goal Setting E-Course: Making your Roadmap to success
  • Mini goal setting E-course
  • 7 Little Known Goal Setting Tips - FREE E-book from Arina Nikitina.
  • FREE E-Course on how to Mind Map
  • How to Create the Life You Always Wanted - Free Ebook
  • So until next edition, resolve to make this year the best year of your life!

    Best regards Sam Sander
    Achieve Goal Setting Success
    Your Money and Finance
    The Success Squid

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