How to Set Goals (and Achieve Them!)

By Mel Sim

Be a goal master.

Setting goals is an important aspect of your career. You set them because you want to aspire to something… and you achieve them because you want those aspirations to come true. But setting goal is one thing; making them happen is a completely different ballgame altogether.

The number one reason why many goals fail is because they are unattainable! It’s logic really – how are you going to achieve something that’s not achievable in the first place? But what’s considered unattainable? Say you want to be a manager in a year. Sure, some people make it but it takes a lot of impressing others and achieving some really outstanding results to be promoted to the next rank in under a year. Something that’s more attainable along the same line is saying you want to be noticed by management and have a shot of climbing the ladder in the next five years. This gives you more time to pull your weight and show what you are capable of.

Also, know that goals should be somewhat of a personal vision statement, describing what it is that you want to achieve. The objectives, or the steps, are the actions you will take to reach that goal. So in essence, the goal is the bigger picture which the objectives are the details to achieve the goal. Or you can call them SMART goals, a goal-setting model developed by group of researchers to help you achieve your goals better which stands for goals that are Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time-bound. You can read more about it here.

OK, let’s go set some goals and achieve them with these tips!

#1 Write them down
Writing down your goals on a piece of paper does this very important action: It makes it more real and concrete. If a goal is just a thought, chances are it won’t happen as there’s nothing to remind you of what you want to achieve and what to focus on. So write down your goals in a list and keep it where you can see it daily as a reminder to help motivate you on accomplishing your goals.

#2 Be specific
Rule number one of a SMART goal. If you are wishy washy about your goal, it means you don’t really know what you want to achieve. But if you are specific, it is easier to map out the steps to achieve those goals. Instead of stating that you want to do better at work, list out the sections you want to be better at (be more organised, network better, be more productive). This will help you think of the exact steps to achieve those goals, making the effort more achievable.

#3 Why do you want to achieve those goals?
What’s the purpose of your goal? If you have a strong enough reason, you stand a better chance of achieving your goals. For example, maybe you want to spend more time with your family instead of work all the time, you will then set a goal that will help you be more productive at work to ensure you get more done during office hours.

#4 Make your goals measurable
If you can’t track your goals, you won’t know if you’ve achieved them. Then what’s the point of setting goals, right? So another important step is to make sure your goals can be measured and tracked. What’s considered measurable? You want to save more of your salary – how much? You want to lose weight – how much weight? You want to exercise more – how often? By doing so, you’ll have a clear idea of how close you are to achieving your goal.

#5 Set a timeline!
Ok you got the goal sorted. You know what you need to do. The next and also a very important step – when do you want to achieve it? This will be the other crucial point to ensure you achieve your goal – setting a precise date rather than saying soon or in the near future. Exact due dates enable you to break your actions into markers that you can refer to from time to time to see how close you are to setting your goal. For example, you want to join a marathon that’s happening in August. So you need to work out how to progressively improve your stamina and strength to be at your optimum level before the race happens. This helps you stay on track and gives you a motivating factor to push yourself.

All the best!

Photo by Aline de Nadai on Unsplash

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