How to set effective and achievable goals

How to set effective goals and achieve them

For many years I felt that it was a must to have a new year’s goals list. I would think about everything I wanted to accomplish, write it down and feel better about my life in general at that time. The only problem was that I probably only looked at this list maybe once or twice during the year and if something was not accomplished, I simply moved it to the following year’s list. When I started exploring more about how goals worked and how to effectively set them, I realised the areas I was getting wrong. In this blog, I will be sharing ways of effectively setting goals. 

Importance of knowing your values

When starting the process of setting your goals, it is important to understand your core values. Your values are the beliefs you hold and how they affect your decisions and behaviours. They are learnt from people significant to your life, your childhood and past experiences. When you know your values and set your goals in line with your values, you are more likely to be motivated to achieve them. For example, if you value financial self-reliance or independence and set a goal to become financially independent by clearing your debt or creating other sources of income, you will be more motivated to achieve this goal as it links with your core value.  Achieving this goal will also be more fulfilling.  

Start with the ultimate dream goal 

Writing an endless list of goals, you want to achieve is good, but what is it that you actually want at the end of day? Focusing on what you ultimately want to achieve helps to tap into your imagination and this will inspire you. Start by really asking yourself what the ultimate goal is or the dream. At this stage, it is important to not focus on any limitations that you currently have but to focus what you really want. For example, an ultimate goal could be to travel across the world at least twice.

Breaking down your goals

 Once you have established your ultimate or dream goal and written it down, you go to the next level, which is breaking the goal down.  At this stage you ask yourself what you need to have in place in order to achieve the goal. For example, carrying on from the travel goal above, what do your finances need to look like in order to be able to travel and when does this need to be in place by. This could include paying of debt and saving a certain amount of money. This stage is called your target goals. 

The next stage is breaking down the target goals into smaller actionable goals. At this stage you can incorporate the SMART approach which stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Timebound. Carrying on with the travel goal, paying off debt could mean paying off an amount by a given time. By incorporating SMART at this stage, you are able to set realistic goals and you can measure the progress of smaller goals which feed into the ultimate dream goal. 

Carry out a scenario analysis and factor that in to your goals

Once you have set you goals, it is important to carry out a scenario analysis. This includes anticipating what would happen in different scenario where achieving you goals may be impacted. If for example you anticipate a loss of motivation along the way, you can put in place things that will remind you of the ultimate dream, this includes vision boards, videos of what you want to achieve etc. By carrying out the analysis at this stage you are able to put systems in place that will help you to get back on track.

Having regular goal reviews and having an accountability Partner 

Once you have set your goals and have an action plan in place, it is important to regularly review your progress and make adjustments were necessary. At this stage if you feel you are not as disciplined as you would like to be, you can look for an accountability Partner, Coach or join a community of likeminded people.

Click here to check out the DPF Goals Planner

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