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How To Set Effective, Measurable & Achievable Goals

Setting goals has long been one of mankind’s weaknesses. We aspire to do so many great things in this world and never really know how to go about achieving those accomplishments. If all of us could somehow learn to set effective, measurable, and achievable goals and commit ourselves to actually following through on those goals, we would be able to do much more with our time. You should not feel bad or upset with yourself if you have yet learned how to accomplish this in your own life unless you have given up on someday being able to set those kinds of goals. Goal-setting and goal-achieving are tasks that most of us spend our entire lives learning to do, but once you are able to do these things you will achieve so much more in your life. Let’s take a look at a few tips that can help you to set effective goals, measurable goals, and achievable goals. We can look at each of them individually and then combine them all afterwards.

How To Set Effective Goals

Effective goals should be written down.

Before putting yourself to work on achieving your goal you have probably daydreamed a few times on what it will be like once you have accomplished the task. Prior to beginning your work towards that task you should pick up a pencil and write down what the end result is. The minute you write down what goal you are focusing on it becomes real and concrete. You have now committed yourself to at least trying to accomplish your goal and you know what the end result should be. Make sure that your goal is specific and not general, otherwise you can consider anything to be success. A goal that is not written down can easily be lost, forgotten, or placed on the bottom of your priority list.

Effective goals are measurable and achievable.

We will discuss these aspects a little more in just a minute but it is important to remember that these three characteristics go hand in hand. If you can’t imagine how your goal is going to be measurable then you need to alter your plans. Also, if your goal seems to difficult to achieve and you just imagine yourself getting “close” then you need to set a more achievable goal.

Effective goals need to be manageable.

Some goals can bring on an overwhelming feeling because it encompasses too much. If your true goal is too general then it might be a good idea to break that goal down into a few smaller components. Your goal will become much more manageable and achievable if you don’t feel too overwhelmed when you put yourself to work on it.

Effective goals must be visualized first.

Prior to setting out to achieve your goal try to visualize yourself reaching the goal. If your goal is to graduate from law school, mentally picture what it will be like at graduation and all of the hard work culminating in the moment you receive your diploma. Or if your goal is to win a certain race or sporting event, try to imagine yourself crossing the finish line or coming out in first place. Attempt to capture the end result and the emotions that are attached to it. The energy that carries us to achieving our goals is rooted in our desire to reach them. If you can picture yourself reaching the goal then there is a much greater chance that your goal is effective. Also, the more focused you are on achieving your goals, the more quickly you may be able to reach the end result.

Effective goals should be evaluated periodically to check your progress.

A review of your progress can be extremely beneficial in assuring that you continue to work towards your goal effectively. As you periodically review your goals it will be important to do so regularly and keep your goals realistic and well-defined. Be honest with yourself as you review these goals and if you need to change the timetable of the goal then you should be willing to do so. As you honestly evaluate your progress you will have a greater probability of achieving your desires.

How To Set Measurable Goals

Set a completion date to achieve the goal.

A goal that has no end will never be completed so you need to determine when you will complete your goal. The most effective goals will have a completion date that will force you to push yourself. Don’t set goals that should be completed at before death because that is not specific. Remind yourself on a daily basis of that completion date and try to push yourself every day to complete your goal by that time. If achieving your goal will take several months or years to complete then it might be a good idea to break it down into smaller goals and setting dates that are in the close, foreseeable future.

When you write down your goal, write down when you will evaluate your progress.

It is not a good idea to have a goal that says, “I want to read books more often”. That goal would be better state by saying, “I want to go to finish reading a book by the end of every month”. This way you will be able to track your goal every month and see how your progress is going rather than assuming that you will do it “next time”.

Invite someone else to keep track of your progress.

Individual goals can be some of the most difficult because you are in charge of yourself and you often don’t have somebody else to track your progress. It is smart to invite a family member, friend, or colleague to track your progress with you and remind you of why you set your goal to begin with. If you are hesitant about inviting somebody else to keep track of your personal progress you might ask them if they are also working on a goal that they would like help on or if they would like to join you in working towards that goal.

Use technology to keep track of your goals.

Modern technology, computer programs, and advanced software have all been designed to help you keep track of your goals. You can easily use a spreadsheet software, such as Microsoft Excel, to create a calender in which you can mark whether or not you are staying on track to achieve your goals. Your cell phones can remind you every day at a specific time that you need to work on our goal. If you are trying to better your marathon time, you can easily keep a record of your times and improvement after each run.

Set specific consequences and rewards depending on whether or not you remain on track to achieve your goals.

If you are keeping tabs on your progress every week then there should be a specific reward for staying on track or a certain consequence if you haven’t stayed on task. A good example of a reward is to give yourself a few extra dollars for the weekly shopping trip for whatever helps you relax. A consequence might include having to spend a couple minutes longer working towards your goal during the next week. Your mind will quickly learn and convince your body that fulfilling the goal and being rewarded is much better than slacking off and being punished.

How To Set Achievable Goals

Make sure that your goals are realistic.

A goal must be realistic if it is to be achieved. A beginning weight lifter is not going to be bench pressing 350 pounds within the first month. If you cannot imagine yourself achieving your goal within a short period of time then it may not be realistic. Ask others for advice who may have a little bit more experience in the specific area of your goal. Professionals and other experts can help you to set realistic goals that are more attainable. These realistic goals may eventually lead to the ability to achieve a much more difficult task.

Assure yourself that you have the skills and tools necessary to achieve your goal.

You will want to assess your personal skills and understand any tools that might be necessary to achieve your goal before setting out to complete it. Some people may set the goal of building a shed in their backyard. In order to achieve this goal you will need to have a specific set of tools such as drill, hammer, and handsaw, so if you don’t have these tools you will need to determine whether or not you can obtain them before you can set out to achieving your goal. It is important to know that you have all of the abilities, skills, and tools needed in order to fulfill your goals before you begin.

Have a good attitude while setting your goal.

Do everything you can to keep yourself excited about achieving your goal. The biggest reason that most people don’t achieve their goals is because they lose interest and are not excited to keep working. Try to be creative while working on difficult goals and do what you can to change your environment periodically. If you are a runner it may be beneficial to find different routes on a weekly basis so that you do not become bored with your regular running path.

Prioritize your goals so that you can work on one at a time.

More than likely you have many goals that you would like to achieve. Before setting a goal to achieve all of these within the next few days try to determine which one is the most important right now. Working on one goal at a time is smart because you will not become overwhelmed with perfecting every aspect of your life. It is important to remember that we all have weaknesses and we cannot fix everything at once. Make a list of the goals that you would currently like to work on and then prioritize them. Work on one goal at a time unless certain goals permit themselves to be attained while working on others.

Setting and achieving effective, measurable, and achievable goals is one of the most rewarding experiences that we can have. Once you are able to learn how to set proper goals it will become much simpler to achieve them and thus accomplish more. Don’t get down on yourself if you happen to fail at a few of your goals, just keep trying your best and you will see that you can perfect the art of setting goals.

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