How to Set Goals that Work for you

Set Goals That Work For You

When you set goals that work for you the amount of progress that you make is astounding.  In fact it feels like you have grown wings!

A few months ago I wrote something on my Facebook Page that said “Watch out world, I have found my wings and am learning to fly”.  It was true and the amount of progress I have made since that day is still incredible to me.  I knew it was all falling into place because after all this time I discovered the secret of how to set goals that work for me.  Before that I was setting goals and I was making slow but sure progress, but this is a very different feeling.

Today I would like to share the secret to my recent whoosh of progress!

Step 1 – Really think about your goals.

What is it you want to achieve?  Write that goal down and make a list of them if there are more than 1.  Look at that goal or list of goals and make sure you want to achieve them.

If there are multiple goals is there a general theme to them? If yes write that down too.

For each goal consider how you will know when you have achieved it.  Ask yourself:

  • What does this goal mean?
  • Is there a way to measure it?
  • Does it involve reaching a certain level?  (a level of income maybe?)

Also ask yourself:

  • Will I really work on this?
  • Am I willing to learn new skills to achieve it if necessary?
  • What difference will it make to make if I achieve this?

Step 2 – Make a Commitment

Ask yourself how committed am I to achieving this goal? What am I willing to do to achieve it?  For example how much time can you dedicate to achieving this goal each day? If you are not willing to work on it everyday then what days will you work on it?

Try to give yourself a schedule if possible.  For example I will work on this goal every day for an hour.  I will do this at 9am each day.

Personally I find setting aside 1 hour per day works really well for me as I get into a routine.  That 1 hour, which I call my hour of power also allows me to focus well.  If I try to work for longer I can find it becomes difficult to manage with my health problems.

On that note, do also make sure that the commitment you make is realistic for you.  There is no point in saying you will work on it for 3 hours a day for example if you do not have that amount of free time.  Make sure to allow time to yourself as well.  Everyone needs to relax!   If it is only realistic to set aside 20 mins per day then do that.  The time spent working on goals is not really as important as having a realistic commitment to it.

Step 3 – Set up a Reminder

If you are anything like me you will need some kind of reminder about your goals and the commitment you have made.  That reminder can be various things.  You could try:

  • setting an alarm on your phone
  • posting a reminder on your fridge
  • pinning your goal plan to your wall
  • asking someone else to remind you to do it
  • putting a photograph or picture related to your goal on your bedroom wall so you see it each morning
  • using a screensaver related to your goal on your phone or computer
  • taping a sticky note to the steering wheel in your car

To make your reminder effective add some detail about why you want to achieve your goal! Also put it somewhere you are unlikely to miss it 😉

Step 4 – Identify Action Points

Now you know what your goals are and have made a commitment to achieving them (with a reminder in place), it is time to look at the actions you need to take.  You will never achieve your goals if you do not actually do something to work towards them!

Identifying action points is a very important step in your plan, and it will make a big difference between moving forward or not.  It is worth spending some time to think about all the different options you have at this stage, and sometimes asking others for suggestions can really help too.

When you think about action points ask yourself the questions:

  • What do I need to do to work on my goal?
  • How will I achieve it?
  • What do I know how to do?
  • Are there things I not know how to do?

Write down everything and anything that comes into your mind at this stage.  There should be quite a wide range of things involved.  It can often help if you imagine you are explaining to someone else what they would need to do if it was them who wanted to work on this goal.  What advice would you give them?

Step 5 – One Action Point

From your list of action points pick one thing from the list.  Set everything else aside for now and just think about that particular action point.  Now ask yourself “How do I do this?”

For example an action point could be “I need to sell 100 items” so at this stage you are looking at how to do it.  Example answers might be:

  • list items on Ebay
  • share photos on Facebook
  • do a car boot sale
  • go to an auction

Step 6 – Write Action Plan

Again list every option you can think of and ask for suggestions if you need to.  When you have a few options to choose from have a look and again focus on one and ask “How do I do this?”

The listing on Ebay example might give a list of things like:

  • find out how to open an account on Ebay
  • sort out 100 things I want to sell
  • take photos of all items
  • learn how to write a description
  • open an account on paypal
  • weigh items to check postage costs
  • buy packing materials

Step 7 – Suitable Sized Steps

When you have written your action plan you have a list of things to actually do.  At this stage ask yourself if each step is achievable for you.  If necessary you can break these steps down into smaller steps to take.  Maybe sorting 100 items at once is a bit overwhelming for you, so you could sort 10 things instead.  For me the smaller the steps are the better as this stops me from getting stressed and avoiding doing things.

Remember the only person who knows if you have given yourself suitable sized steps is you.  Do not try to run before you can walk.  This is your plan and it needs to take into account your own circumstances. Often the smaller the steps you have the faster you will achieve it.

Step 8 – Take Action

There is nothing left to do now but to take action.  Every time you complete one of the points on your action plan you are moving forward towards your goal.  I highly recommend you mark off each point on your action plan when you have done it.

Sometimes you will think about more things to add to your action plan as you are working though it.  That is perfectly normal.  The action of actually doing something (or trying to) can often remind you about something else, or give you a new idea.

If you struggle to actually start working on your goals go back to step 7 and make the things on your action plan easier.  Maybe you realise you don’t know how to do something on your list, in that case add learn how to ….. or ask …. etc.  If there is something on your list you can’t actually do and can’t learn then think about who can do it.  You might need to ask for help, or pay someone to do it for you.

Step 9 – Keep Going

There will no doubt be times when you fall off the action plan wagon.  Things happen in life that can get in the way of the best laid plans.  When you realise you have fallen off and are not getting anywhere then just go back to your plan and remind yourself where you were.  Never stop working on your goals and you will get there.

Step 10 – Congratulate and/or Reward Yourself

The last step is to acknowledge your achievement.  Always take the time to think over what you have achieved and congratulate yourself on your hard work. You can even reward yourself for each action point you complete if you want to 😉

I must admit when I get to the point of having reached a goal I have been working on I can’t wait to start working on another one.  That might just be because I want to reward myself all over again…. or it might be because the whole process just becomes a little addictive!

When you know you can achieve anything you want it is a little hard to stop 😉

If you have found this post useful or inspiring please feel free to share it with others.  Thanks in advance to those who do share it, I always appreciate your help in reaching a larger audience!

Ellie xx

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