Goal Setting Process: How to Set Smart Goals and Slay Them Every Time
It is true, any of us can set goals and New Year’s Eve is a popular time to start. There is something about the New Year that makes us feel like we have a clean slate to get in shape, earn more money, or learn something new. But did you know, 80% of New Years Resolutions fail by February? And why is that?
Research shows that people who set goals are more likely to accomplish their tasks but are we all going about it wrong? Why do so many goals go by the wayside after a month or so? Perhaps some goal setting tips will help lower this statistic.
In the goal-setting process, we must first look at how we set goals. Are we just verbally saying we want to do something or are we writing out our goals with a plan of action? Creating a solid plan and putting it down on paper is an awesome way to start.
What are Smart Goals?
Smart goals stand for S-specific, M-measurable, A-attainable, R relevant- and T-timely. When setting goals it is important to be specific and set a standard that can be measured. We will get into this in the post.
You should also look at something that is attainable and relevant to you and your overall goals in life. Lastly, set a time limit to achieve your goals. Using this method will help you achieve your goals and continue to set new goals to become the best version of you.
How Smart Goals Helped My Students
I am a former teacher and my students and I used to set goals every marking period. Yes, this was a fun goal setting activity for me! I loved teaching the little ones how to accomplish a goal, revisit, and set new goals.
But one question I was always asked is “Why set goals?” Since we would revisit our goals every marking period, my best answer about goal setting was and still is we can always become a better version of ourselves. I live by this motto and always have some goals in my life at any given time.
I would teach my students how goal setting can benefit you, not only in school but in any aspect of your life. For example, an adult could set a personal development goal for work and layout some work goals to earn more money or get a promotion. Another smart goal example would be setting health goals to lose weight or work out more often.
You can really set goals for any aspect of your life. I find it is best to break your goals down into smaller steps so you do not feel overwhelmed and give up.
So even if you are doing well and let’s say, got an A last marking period, a smart goal’s example would be to create better study habits or learn more on the subject. Therefore, even if you excel in one area, there is always something you can improve upon to be this amazing version of yourself. -Think positively!
One of the best ways to set a goal is to write it down. In fact, this post includes a goal-setting worksheet to help you on your journey. Goals should also be measurable and you can get started by creating a plan of action. So whether your goal is financial, fitness, or travel success you can do it!
Read more about goal setting here: The Art of Goal Setting
Goal Setting Tip: How Do I Measure a Goal?
What does “measurable” mean? It means you can check your goal at the end of your time frame and measure whether you achieved it or not. Setting a goal to simply lose weight is not measurable. However, by being more specific you will be able to check your progress. For example, you could state your goal like this: “I will lose five pounds in four weeks.” The second goal gives a timeline and a clear amount of weight you want to lose. You are WAY more likely to meet this type of goal than just randomly saying you want to do something.
Suggested Reading: How to Live Your Best Life: 15 Life-Changing Steps
Grab your free goal setting pdf here and let’s get started!
Goal Setting PDF: Goal Setting
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Goal Setting Process – How to Set Smart Goals and Achieve Them
1. Be Reasonable With Your Goal Setting
My first bit of advice in your goal setting quest is to be reasonable because it will help with future goal setting if you work towards something that is within your reach. Moreover, the thinking behind this is if you set a lofty goal and fail, you may become discouraged from goal setting in the future. I love Lao Tzu’s saying, “The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.”(source – Brainlyquotes) This rings true when it comes to goal setting. Start with something small that will set you up for success.
Be realistic and do not expect to lose 50 lbs in one month. Could you lose 5-10 pounds? Of course! As you can see, if you start with an unobtainable goal, you are more likely to give up. Think of it this way… If you are checking the scale every day and you do not lose any weight you may just say “Forget it!” However, if you set a goal of 10 lbs and check once a week, you are more likely to stick with it when you see progress.
2. Use My Goal Setting Worksheet to Write it down
Why write down your goal? A dream is just a dream until you write it down on paper. Then it becomes a goal. You have now solidified your goal and it becomes a visual aid you can come back to. Did you know people who write out their goals are 42% (source – HuffPost) more likely to achieve them? Writing it down is the first step to completion. Whether it be to lose 10 lbs. or save $1000 for an emergency fund, you are well on your way. You are turning your dream into a solid, realistic goal. Go get your pen and paper!
3. Create a Goal Timeline
It is best to set a small goal with a shorter timeline and go from there. I prefer setting new goals every three months. Yes, it is fine to set one-year and five-year goals but these goals should be broken down into smaller steps!
Smart Goal Timeline Example:
Goal: Save $250 emergency fund
Timeline: Three months
- Put $20 per week into a separate account
- Check amount after one month ($80)
- Check amount after three months ($240-$250)
As you can see, if you continue to save for the entire year, you will have a mini-emergency fund! You could even increase the amount you put in your fund every week to $30 if you are successful! The timeline will help keep you in check.
4. Goal Action Plan
These are your goal steps. What are you going to do to reach your goal? If it is saving money, will you have a certain amount deducted for a separate emergency fund account like the example above? Or if it is weight loss will you workout for 15 minutes three to four times a week and cook healthy. As Benjamin Franklin said, “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.” Therefore, you need a plan of action for your goals.
Suggested Reading: 15 Free and Frugal Workout Ideas
5. Smart Goal Check-Up
After you have a plan, check back and revisit your goals. Do you need to start over or set a new goal? Maybe you lost the 10 lbs and would like to lose another 5 this month? Then start over with step one.
Moreover, If you were trying to save money and did not reach your goal, think about ways you can work on this. Do you need to side hustle for a few months? Should you lower the amount you can afford to contribute? What can you do to make your goal work for your life?
Suggested Reading: Ultimate List of Side Hustle: 75 Ways to Earn More Money
6. Smart Goal Maintainance – Revisit and Adjust
This is an extremely useful life skill: Being able to adjust to your needs and the needs of the ones around you. However, if you did not meet your goal, ask yourself why? Revisit your goal and brainstorm. Did you at least make some progress? If so, celebrate your successes but also learn why you did not meet the total 100% goal. Use this as a lesson for your next goal trial. Do not consider this as a failure, but learn from it. This is all part of life: Living, learning, failing, getting back up, and trying again!
7. Last Goal Setting Step: Set New Goals
If you met your goal, congratulations! Once it is all said and done, keep improving. Moreover, there is always time to become a better version of yourself! Set another goal to move forward toward the long-term life you have envisioned for yourself! Never give up and never stop believing! You can do it!
Goal Setting Process to Set Smart Goals and Slay Them Conclusion
Suggested Reading: Epic Goal Setting and Productivity
Just a quick recap…If you want to set goals and stick with them follow these seven steps:
- Be reasonable
- Write it down
- Create a timeline
- Plan of action
- Goal checkup
- Revisit and adjust
- Set new goals
Are you ready for your best life? Use my goal setting plan and start becoming a better version of you! Remember, it is never too late to do what you want in life. Make sure to write your goals and create a plan of action. Also, if you check-in you are more likely to succeed! Set new goals as needed!
Even if you have a five-year or ten-year plan, use my goals setting plan to start small and begin with one small action. Make sure you are setting reasonable goals that are obtainable and you will not become frustrated and give up. You are ready for your best life! You’ve got this!
Don’t forget to grab your free goal setting printable above!
What are your goals this year? Leave me a comment! I would love to hear from you!
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Take care – Sarah
What are your goals this quarter or year? Leave me a comment and let me know what you are working on.