Goal Setting — A Quick Guide

Since we were kids, we always had an aspiration or goal of some sort. Do you remember being asked what you wanted to be when you grew up? Some kids wanted to become teachers, firemen, or astronauts. But others were more specific, wanting to own a boat by 20, own a beach house by 30, or own an art gallery by 35. Goal setting has been with us since, well, forever. Think of every invention out there. They all started with a goal to produce something specific. But, thinking up and dreaming about the goals we have is not all there is to accomplish them. It is a start to daydream and to visualize what our heart’s desire is. It is another to make it happen and reach those goals. The good news is there are methods to help you reach your goals.

Goal setting is not simply about expressing what we want out of life but also having the drive, determination, and action mindset to reach them and make them happen.

Luckily, we have a blueprint for effective goal setting.

5 Basic Goal-Setting Tips:

1. Write down your goals.

Goal setting works best if we write down the things and events we want to happen. Our brains have the capacity to remember thousands of bits of information each day; it is easy to get sidetracked somewhere between getting the kids off to school and getting an unexpected bill in the mail. Writing down our goals helps us keep track and check if we are still on the right path. Don’t be afraid to get creative with your goal-setting list; it’s good to have a couple of really big goals on there. Place your list in a spot where you will see it often and make it a habit to sit a minute or 2 with that list regularly to re-evaluate if any still apply to your desires.

2. Set a goal that is truly what you want, not something that would impress others or things someone else wants from you.

Be true to yourself. Your goal should be something that would make you happy and benefit you. After all, you’re the one who is going to be working for it. And it is great if it benefits others as well, but if it’s not something you truly want, it will be hard to attain.

3. Be realistic. Avoid setting contradicting goals.

For example, you cannot write down “save $600 from salary this month” if you’re earning only $900 a month and have a $350 rent. How would you survive on $50 monthly?

Even though saving $600 seems like a very good idea, it is not realistic. Set your goals based on what you can actually work with, especially if they are monetary in nature. You can always start small and grow the goal over time. For instance, in this particular example, maybe your goal is to save $50 a month, and then as you learn to live without that $50, you raise the amount in smaller increments.

4. Be detailed when setting Goals.

Being detailed helps you identify your steps more easily. For instance, “buy a new car under $35,000 in January” is easier to work for than simply setting “buy a new car” as your goal. Not only will the more specific goal be easier to achieve because you are aware of your price point, but it will also help you stay on track while researching cars.

5. Stick to your goals. Be consistent.

If you’ve written down, “save $10 a day,” then do so diligently. Don’t set aside $3 today, and try to keep a mental note to make up for it with $17 the next day. See how this can become overwhelming? If you stray once, it gets easier to stray over and over until, eventually, the goal just fades away. This is why some people never reach their goals. We see this with exercise and weight loss goals a lot. Tacos and beer ‘for just one night sound like a great idea until it becomes a nightly occurrence.

The keys to effective goal setting are consistency and discipline. Keep these goal-setting tips in mind and refer back to them often. Take it one step at a time, and your goals will become reality in no time. Good Luck!

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** This story was originally posted on the personal blog of Daniella Cippitelli in 2019. It has been edited.

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