Living your life without setting goals is a bit like turning up at the airport with no ticket or idea of your destination. You are allowing outcomes to just happen to you rather than steering your own destiny.
Goal setting is the process of planning, organising, and implementing a course of action to achieve a personal or profession objective. It’s an effective way to increase motivation and create the changes you want to see in your life.
In this blog post, we will show you how to set your own goals so you can be, as our Founder Shivani Gopal describes it, “the self-leader of your own life”.
Have clarity around what you want in life
Think about the things you want to achieve and what you’re passionate about. If you’re uncertain about what your goals should be, reflect on a time where you were happy or when you saw someone you admired achieve something and thought “I wish I could do the same”.
Also consider the key areas in your life and how these would look in an ideal world. They could be financial goals, personal goals, career goals or relationship goals.
Anything you want to achieve can be turned into a goal, from walking 30 minutes each day to improving your presentation skills, volunteering for a charity, learning a language or scheduling regular social interactions with friends.
Create an action plan using the SMART technique
The SMART technique involves having a goal that is: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Time bound.
SMART goals help you identify precisely what you want to achieve, when you want to achieve it, and how to measure your progress to ensure you stay motivated.
Specific: Be very clear about what you want to achieve. Don’t use vague terms for goals, such as “to become successful”, use precise words that encapsulate what success would look like, such as switching to a new career or achieving a certain qualification.
Measurable: Make sure that your goal can be measured, so you know whether you are making progress. For example, “I will save $2000 by October”.
Attainable: Your goal should be achievable in the timeframe you’ve chosen.
Realistic: The goal needs to be within reach and relevant to your life purpose.
- Timely: Set deadlines to help keep yourself accountable and ensure you don’t procrastinate.
According to Psychology Today, there’s another important “A” word: accountability, which means being open with your friends, colleagues, and family about your objectives.
“Setting specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and time-limited goals is one thing, but establishing them in view of people you know is quite another,” said Loren Soeiro, Ph.D.
“You might feel shy about admitting to your co-workers that you’re trying to lose weight, or you might not want to talk with your volleyball team about your desire to read the complete works of Marcel Proust. But hiding this information will hobble your chances of successfully following through.”
Add the Plus+ factor
Listing what you want to achieve is a great start, but you’ll make more progress if you have the right mindset. Here are three ways to ensure your goals are turbo charged:
Choose approach goals rather than avoidance ones: An example of an approach goal would be deciding to move to the country for the peace and quiet. An avoidance goal would be wanting to move out of the city because it’s noisy and busy. The former immediately creates more positive energy.
Choose intrinsic goals rather than extrinsic ones: Intrinsic goals relate to your true internal needs and desires. Extrinsic goals are ones chosen because you think society or someone else wants you to do it. Intrinsic goals lead to greater satisfaction and happiness.
Choose well-being goals rather than power-themed ones: goals related to intimacy, spirituality and the welfare of future generations lead to more happiness than ones aimed at getting a bigger house, promotion at work or more money.
Overcoming road blocks to success
Achieving your goals and living your best life requires persistence and consciously avoiding procrastination.
Here are five key lessons from a human behavioural expert:
Beating the COVID effect
Life is fundamentally different during COVID-19, so your goals may need to readjust too. Go easy on yourself as you navigate this difficult time. However, there are small steps you can take that can make a big difference.
For example, if you’re feeling unmotivated while working from home, simply getting dressed for the day rather than staying in your pyjamas can help improve your productivity.
You could also try creating a motivational swipe file. Effectively, this is a file that includes as many inspirational stories and quotes as possible. Swiping through it can give you the boost you need to feel motivated and work hard. It's a brilliant way to re-centre your focus and remind yourself that you can get through the hurdles and be better for it.
Click here for more hacks on boosting productivity at home.
Need help with goal setting?
If you want to really smash your goals, The Remarkable Woman can help you execute your plan with several resources that you’ll find in our Signature Membership. You will have access to hundreds of courses around goal setting, but also in more specific areas, including financial, career and business goals.