Three Steps To Setting Goals

Blog written on May 2016

Three Steps To Setting Goals

MAY 27, 2016




Setting goals. Many people have no idea that setting goals is so very important. In fact, did you know that 97% of people do not set goals?   97%!!! How on earth does anything get accomplished?

So why set goals?

Well, for starters the benefits of setting goals are innumerable. These benefits include:

  • Have more purpose/direction in life
  • Make better decisions
  • Be more organized/effective
  • Feel more fulfilled
  • Reminds you of your passions/ desires/ reasons for being
  • Accomplish ___________ (fill in the blank)

If you don’t set goals you end up “paying the price”. You get caught up in life – just getting through another day. You push aside your authentic self by ignoring what you truly want in/for your life. You ignore your dreams – your passions – your reasons for being. Without goals we simply exist. We have no vision for where we are going. Withgoals, we have a road map – or at the very least a compass guiding us in the right direction.

How to know if a goal is ‘good’ or ‘bad’.

How do you determine if a goal is really important or a nice to have but not really important kind of goal?

Ask yourself:  Are my short range goals consistent with my long-term goals? In other words, am I doing things in the now that will lead me to where I want to be in the future?

Another question to ask yourself is:  Can I envision myself reaching this goal?

You must determine if this is truly your goal or someone else’s goal for you.

Setting a goal that does not resonate with you brings stress, angst, and restlessness. This could lead to sadness, depression, disappointment, discouragement, and maybe even anger. A goal is something you want to achieve. Setting goals is a powerful way to implement change in our lives.

So how?

Goal setting is an art. It isn’t as simple as stating our desire. Master the art of goal setting and you are more likely to achieve your goals!

Be S.M.A.R.T.

~ S ~Specific.

If your goal is not specific, how will you know when you have attained it? What will be your benchmark of success?

Examples of vague goals:

  • I want to lose weight
  • I want to travel
  • I want a newer car
  • I want a healthy relationship

Examples of specific goals:

  • I will lose five pounds by June 25th
  • I will travel to Arizona this year
  • I will buy a gently used, low mileage Toyota Corolla-type car
  • I want someone who has a job, respects and admires me……….

~M ~Measurable.

You must  be able to measure it’s growth – to track your progress, document success. Example of this would be that you can measure weight loss by tracking your weight, or inches lost, or you clothing size.

~A ~ Attainable.

Goals are not meant to be met with failure. Example of this would be stating that you will lose 10 pounds in a week. This is not likely to happen.

~R ~ Realistic.

This is important! Focus on goals that are realistic for your current life. Having a time-consuming job, or a family means less time to be able to sail around the world.

~T ~ Timely.

In order to be useful, goals need to have a time frame. Without it, there is no motivation to take action. Having a specific time frame will spur you into action and help you monitor your progress. So set a date and start working towards it!

Timelines also help you to revisit your goals. It is important to re-evaluate your goals to make certain that they are in alignment with what you truly value and want in life.

Goal setting is a life-long process. Once you have completed one goal – replace it with another!

So again, HOW?

Step 1:

WRITE YOUR GOALS DOWN! Or do a vision board. Brainstorm. Begin with the “idea phase”. Don’t get bogged down with categories, or types of different goals. Simply write down as many things as possible for what you’d like to do or have in your life. I usually begin with saying something like this: “In a perfect world, and there were no restrictions of any kind, I would………..

Take some time to do this step, like 1-2 hours. This is a time-investment in you! Think of doing this instead of wasting your time perusing Facebook, or playing online games.

Here are some helpful goal setting questions to help you get started:

  • What do I want to do in my life?
  • What kind of person do I want to become?
  • What do I want to become known for?
  • What is my life purpose or mission?
  • What material possessions would I like to have?
  • What would I like to have more of?
  • How do I want to focus my time and energy?
  • What does my ideal lifestyle loo like?
  • What do I find myself daydreaming and/or constantly thinking about?
  • What activity/ies am I so passionate about that I would gladly get up at 5:30 am to start them?
  • If there were no hold-backs, no rules- what would I wish for?

Step 2

Prioritize your goals.

Prioritize each goal by rating them on a scale of 1 to 10 – 1 symbolizing extremely important in this exact moment in time. 10 symbolizing it is not really a priority right now.

Another way to prioritize your goals is by using a time forecast for each goal. Write down beside the goal the time by which you seriously would like to have accomplished your goal. This might give you an idea of what needs to be started right now. Perhaps think in terms of time: 1 week; 1 month; 6 months; 1 year; 5 years; 10 years.

Now go back and review your list of goals. Are there any patterns? Similarities?

Here are some questions to ask yourself to help prioritize goals:

  • Which goals do I think about the most?
  • What accomplishments would help me feel the most proud of myself?
  • Ten years from now, how important will the goal be to me?
  • Which goals are in line with my true values?
  • What do I have a sense of urgency to do right now?
  • If I could take action in spite of my fear, what might I want for myself right now?
  • Which goals do I view with apprehension or disdain?
  • Which goals give me a positive, electric, YES! feeling?

Step 3

Overcome limiting beliefs. Examples would include:

  • Excuses
  • Negative thoughts
  • Justifications
  • Worries
  • Culture or family conditioned beliefs
  • Unproductive thought patterns (i.e. procrastination)
  • Perfectionist thinking
  • Fear
  • Past Failures

Overcoming limiting beliefs requires that you replace each of them with new and more empowering ways of thinking. In order to create a new belief, it must be believable!


***************** Your challenge **************

Create new pieces of self talk, perspective, life philosophies, mantras, or slogans that really resonate with you.

Ask yourself: “What is the exact opposite, positive way of thinking about this limiting thought pattern?”

Questions to identify limiting beliefs:

  • What cliches, quotes, witty comebacks do I entertain in my head that prevents me from moving forward?
  • What unnecessary assumptions do I make about achieving and committing to this goal?
  • What pessimistic thoughts reoccur in my head every time I think about pursuing my dreams?
  • What stereotypical beliefs or cultural myths am I allowing to hold me back?
  • What self defeating meanings have I created based on my past failures with important goals?
  • What reoccurring stories, negative narratives, or mental scripts do I play repeatedly in my head that dis-empower me?

Remember, you should not feel defensive or uncomfortable when you read your affirmation. It should make sense to you, and perhaps even feel like an insight that you have discovered about yourself.

So I invite you to do some soul searching, some work on self. There is an old saying that states, “If what you are doing isn’t working, change what you are doing.”

The simplicity of that quote is just that – simple. A goal without a plan is just a wish.



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