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Making personal goals is important because when people don’t have a direction, they may end up somewhere they don’t really want to be. Without goals, there is a lack of direction and focus.
Before setting your personal goals, think about what you truly need in life. Where do you see yourself a year from now? What do you need to change about yourself and your current life so that you can get closer to that vision?
To effectively accomplish your goals, you should use SMART goal-setting criteria. SMART stands for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-Bound. You don’t have to follow this sequence precisely, and you are free to create your own variation, but this is an approach that will help you stay focused and motivated to achieve your goals.
Make Your Goal Specific
One of the common mistakes people make is setting goals that are vague or too broad in scope. Goals such as “I would like to travel” or “I need to lose weight” are too vague. Since these goals are not specific, it is harder to track their progress. When we are unclear about our goals, or the end result that we are reaching for, it can be hard to follow a plan of action.
Think about the things that you are trying to achieve. Push your fears aside to imagine where you want to end up. Write a plan of action with steps for how you can achieve it. Don’t set too many limitations, and make your plan’s criteria flexible.
When your mind is focused on a positive outcome, rather than on fears or an unclear future, your brain starts planning for the desired result. Actively envision your dreams, and that will bring you closer to achieving your goals.
Instead of constantly worrying about the uncertain and distant future, you will be able to fully engage to go out and get what you need.
Make Your Goal Measurable and Attainable
Goals require careful planning and a lot of hard work to achieve. Setting dates or targets will help you measure and track your achievements. Break the goal down into several smaller steps, and do a task daily or for a specific amount of time. Identify the areas in your life that need improvement and set milestones to reach your goals.
Often, we postpone working on something because the thought of getting started is daunting. Taking the first step can be a challenge, so tackle the most difficult task first. Once you overcome your biggest task first, your motivation will increase. As a result, the rest of your tasks will seem less daunting.
Once you’ve created simplified steps to achieving your goal, examine how attainable it is in your present life. Ask yourself if this goal is relevant to you and if it is possible to achieve. This careful thinking will help you understand whether your goal is self-motivated or is a result of expectations from other people that you have internalized. Achieving a goal is not an easy process, so it’s important to know that you are doing it to be your best self.
Stay Focused and Relevant
When trying to achieve goals, many people do too many things at once. Whether for your social, career, or family life, taking care of too many things at once will make it hard to stay focused on your goals. Prioritizing the important tasks can help the process. Your actions should be consistent and relevant to the goals you need to achieve.
Develop direction to guide you toward achieving your goals successfully. Small, measurable goals that you can work on daily are ideal when you want to accomplish something in your life. Being overwhelmed and burned out can have a negative impact on self-motivation. You don’t want to scare yourself before you’ve even begun, so start small.
Consistency brings results, but you need to be patient and do your tasks long enough to see progress. The progress may not be visible in the beginning. You may not be losing any weight even though you’re dieting, and you won’t have any real-life experience after you took the college classes for only a few months.
The changes will happen when you’ve put in enough time and effort. Once you start seeing results, you’ll feel great about yourself, and that sense of accomplishment will help you to move forward. Look for ways to stay on track, no matter what. Don’t let other people discourage you, and don’t let distractions get in the way. Keep going, and sooner or later you will succeed.
If you feel that the process toward achieving your goals is long and tiring, remind yourself regularly of what you are trying to achieve. Create a dream board with pictures of the end result, practice daily affirmations, read motivational stories, and do similar things to inspire yourself. If you dream about losing weight, keep a picture of your dream body nearby. If you are working long hours and dream of traveling, keep pictures of your favorite locations around your workspace.
The end result is what you need to have in mind, not only to stay on the right track but also to get a boost of motivation every time you visualize it.
Setting priorities requires sacrificing the present time for future enjoyment. Sticking to your priorities requires you to give up a short-term pleasure now to have greater enjoyment in the future.
While setting goals, don’t forget to reward yourself after completing each task, to help you stay motivated. If you don’t have enough willpower or can’t stay focused on your goals, give yourself little rewards. Promise yourself a reward after the completion of each milestone. If you are on a quest to lose weight, for example, reward yourself with new clothes.
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