In my eyes, every dream is goal and every goal is achievable, but how do you set realistic goals now to reach those ultimate dreams in the future?
With another year catching up on us, you may be thinking about setting new years resolutions in hopes of taking the first steps in achieving your goals. Good for you! However, we don’t have to wait until the new year to chase after our dreams.
Why Set Goals?
Ask any of the most successful people in the world if they believe in setting goals and you will discover why goal setting is vital for success. Setting goals provides you with both long-term vision and short-term motivation to achieve what you have set out to do. Working hard to achieve these goals allows you to understand what is truly important in your life and to focus your energy on what you hope to achieve in the future.
What are Realistic Goals?
Drive and ambition is a must if you want to fulfil your dreams, but setting the bar too high could backfire. You could either set yourself to fail, or become so scared of disappointment that you won’t even try. So, how do you find the ideal middle ground?
Realistic goals take into account your current position and the feasibility of your goal in the present moment. If you’re dreaming of being an astronaut, then that’s probably an unrealistic goal right now. Get yourself into NASA, physically fit and educated, well, now you’re talking. Don’t get disheartened if your end-goal is currently unrealistic, it might not always be.
Additionally, realistic goals should have things you can do right now to help you achieve them. That doesn’t mean we throw ourselves into those activities without a plan. Realistic goals are made of smart objectives.
What are Smart Objectives?
A useful way of making goals more powerful is to use the SMART mnemonic. While there are plenty of variants, SMART usually stands for:
- S – Specific (or Significant).
- M – Measurable (or Meaningful).
- A – Attainable (or Action-Oriented).
- R – Relevant (or Rewarding).
- T – Time-bound (or Trackable).
You need goals to show you the way. A goal must therefore be clear and well-defined; include precise amounts, dates, and so on; be relevant to the direction you want your life; and have a deadline. To help keep track of these goals, why not invest in some goal setting worksheets?
How to Set Realistic Goals
Have a Plan! This is often missed in the process of goal setting. You get so focused on the outcome that you forget to plan all of the steps that are needed along the way. By writing out the individual steps, and then crossing each one off as you complete it, you’ll realise that you are making progress towards your ultimate goal. This is especially important if your goal is big and demanding, or long-term.
Goals that are far out of reach are easy to procrastinate on and put off. It’s fine to have long term dreams – but in the short run, you should have regular milestones as well.
So, you also should ensure you have time to dedicate to achieving your goal. If you don’t make time for your goals, you’ll never accomplish them – it’s as simple as that. Along those same lines, generally speaking, the more time you allocate per day to your goal, the faster you’ll achieve it.
How to Achieve your Goals
For goals to be achievable, they must be clear and specific. If you don’t know exactly what you want, you are much less likely to get it. For example, making a New Year’s resolution to “be happy” isn’t specific enough to be actionable. Refer back to our SMART objectives to set realistic goals for yourself.
The key component to setting goals is to break them into manageable timeframes: short-term, medium-term and long-term. All three of these types of goals should be in line with your ultimate goal and the time in which you want to achieve it. A short-term goal might be something you can achieve in one to three months. A medium-term goal might take six months. A long-term goal might take a year.
When you achieve one of your goals, short-term or long-term, you should also celebrate it! Having a reward to look forward to is a great motivator. It doesn’t have to be expensive or lavish, as long as it’s something that makes you happy.