If you’re ready to make some changes in your life or just start making some things happen, you need to start setting some goals! Today I’m going to share my method that you can use to set goals you’ll actually achieve. This method can easily be applied to any type of goal you want to hit.
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Why should you set goals?
Everyone has things they want to get done and achieve – these are goals. Setting goals is basically just a plan to do and achieve those things. Creating an outline and knowing the steps to reach your goals helps you stay motivated and stay focused on getting to where you want to be.
Writing down your goals and planning how you’re going to hit them is extremely important. It helps you stay on track and know what steps you need to take to get closer to your goal. Writing your goals down gives you something to go back and look at, which is also a great way to measure your progress and keep yourself motivated.
Are there different methods of goal setting?
Yes. There are tons of different methods you can use to set goals. My method is honestly a combination of several different methods that other people came up with.
A quick Google search will probably overwhelm you with the different ways you can go about setting goals. Two of my favorite methods are the SMART goals method and Rachel Hollis’ roadmap approach. I’ve essentially put these two methods together to come up with the one that I use.
SMART Goal Setting
For this method, you set goals that meet five criteria. These criteria create the acronym SMART: specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and timely. Setting goals that meet these characteristics help you set goals that give you a solid direction to work and benchmarks to measure your progress against.
If you aren’t familiar with Rachel Hollis, she’s the author of Girl, Wash Your Face and Girl, Stop Apologizing (affiliate links), as well as the host of the Rise Podcast. Her whole business is built around the idea of giving women the tools to change their lives. I recently finished reading Girl, Stop Apologizing (which you NEED to read btw!) and realized that I basically use a messier version of her roadmap idea when setting my goals.
It would be an entire blog post itself to explain her method. Basically, you set the goal and work backward, creating your plan as you go and setting milestones to hit along the way. Rachel’s version is a little more organized than mine, so I’ve used it to tweak my goals as I set them for 2020.
How do you set goals you’ll actually achieve?
The process that I use for setting goals is definitely not something I came up with completely on my own. I’ve read a lot of different books and tried out different methods for goal setting and have ended up putting together pieces of different methods.
This is the method I used to get A’s in college, pass the CPA exam, start my blog… just about every major thing I’ve achieved so far. I’ve broken it down into five steps that you can follow to outline your goals and set yourself up for success!
1. Establish the goal.
Start the goal-setting process by clearly establishing your goal. It needs to be specific and it needs to get you closer to living your best life. For the purpose of explaining my goal-setting process, we’re going to use the example goal of me wanting to make $5,000 from my blog during 2020.
Rachel Hollis has good advice about goals as well: only focus on one thing at a time. Trying to set too many big goals with end up with you not reaching any of them because you’ve spread yourself too thin.
2. Work backward from your goal to create a plan.
Once you have a clear goal in mind, work back from it to create the plan to get you there. What are the steps you’ll have to take to get you to that goal? For the example of wanting to make $5,000 from my blog, there are a ton of different steps I could take.
Write out a list of all the different things you could do that would help you get to your goal. Once you have a good brainstorm session, choose the items that would cause you to 100% achieve your goal if you got them done. To make $5,000 from my blog, I need to increase my blog traffic to at least 10,000 pageviews a month, launch my printables shop, have my YouTube channel monetized, and create my eBook to sell. I’m pretty sure that if I could do those four things that I would be able to generate $5,000 during 2020. I call these checkpoint goals.
I also want to note here that you want to establish an order to do these things in. For some goals, the steps will follow a logical or chronological order that is easy to figure out. For others, you might have to set priorities to figure out what you need to get done first. For my example goal, I’ll want to reach 10,000 pageviews a month, then launch my printables shop, then monetize my YouTube channel, and then write my eBook.
3. Set benchmarks along the way.
So far, we’ve basically taken your big goal and broken it down into smaller goals that will need to be completed along the way. Now we’re going to break it down even further. In between each of the checkpoint goals you want to set some benchmarks to measure your progress.
Do another brainstorming session to figure out what you need to do to reach your checkpoint goals. What steps do I need to take to reach 10,000 pageviews as quickly as I can? Usually, I try to break the checkpoint goals down into 2 or 3 smaller steps to focus on, again establishing an order to work in.
Once those smaller steps are established, I set some benchmarks for those goals. If I’m working to hit 10,000 page views, I’ll set a benchmark of 5,000. That way I know I’m making progress and can see how much farther I have to go. I like to make my benchmarks specific and attainable within a reasonable period of time to help keep myself motivated and thinking about my long-term goal.
4. Keep track of your progress.
Tracking the progress you’ve made toward your goals is so important. The benchmarks that you established in the last step will help you see how far you’ve come from where you started. I usually take a look at my goal progress at least once a month. I usually have some sort of planner, notebook, or spreadsheet for the goal that I used to write out my steps. I also use this to keep track of what benchmarks I’ve hit and where I’m at in my plan.
In the example of working toward 10,000 pageviews, I would track how many page views I had during the month. Hopefully, there would be an upward trend I could track, marking the benchmarks I hit and recording my progress. Some goals you may want to track more often. How often you update your tracking depends on your goal and how quickly you can achieve each step.
5. Reward yourself for small things.
Sometimes we get so focused on the end goal that we don’t reward ourselves for making progress along the way. As you create your plan to reach your goals, make sure you write in rewards you’ll give yourself when you hit milestones. This will help keep you motivated and pushing forward.
You can use your benchmarks to give yourself places to reward yourself. Using my example of reaching 10,000 pageviews, I would reward myself when I hit my 5,000 pageview benchmark. The rewards I choose are usually things that I get excited about, but also help me keep pushing toward my best life. I might allow myself to buy a book I’ve really wanted about business or buy an accessory for my budget planner. Both of those things are functional and get me excited about reaching another step toward my goal.
Creating a plan to achieve your goals takes time, but it helps keep you on track and take the right steps to actually achieve them! Life happens, and it can be hard to stay on track if you don’t have a clear step to take in the right direction.
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