The one thing I hate hearing about goal setting is when someone says ” you have to do it this way”. I guess I’m just a rebel. So why am I writing an article about rules to setting goals?
I truly believe there is no right or wrong way of setting a goal as long as you are achieving them. What inspires one person may do nothing for someone else.
There are a few things that I have come to find are a universal benefit to anyone in achieving goals. Any goals. When figuring out why someone hasn’t been able to consistently achieve their goals, one or many of these are usually the reason.
Rule #1 – Write Your Goals Down
This has been said before but I’m going to repeat it again. Write your goals down. Put them somewhere that will be visible to you often.
Many goals fall by the wayside simply because they get forgotten. Out of sight, out of mind. This is why new year’s resolutions never work. They very seldom get written down.
Life can get chaotic. It’s easy to forget where you put your car keys. What makes you think you’re going to remember what goals you’ve set a month after the fact?
What is going to be your daily reminder to work on your goals? Some great places to stick them would be places you look at or go to often:
- Your fridge
- A screensaver on your phone or computer
- Next to the bed
- By your bathroom mirror
- Set reminder notifications on your phone
- Schedule them in your calendar or to- do list (see rule #4)
Rule #2 – Your Goal Must Interest You And Excite You
If you have a goal that feels like a chore, and you find yourself procrastinating or putting it off, figure out a solution.There is always a solution.
First figure out if this is a goal you really should have. Ask yourself these questions about this goal:
- Is this goal based on someone else’s expectations or opinions? Or is it something I really desire?
- Is this goal something society says I should be, do, or have? Or is this goal going to help me achieve what I want to be, do, or have?
- Is this just a goal I’ve set because I feel I should set a goal, but I really don’t know what goals to set?
If you answered yes to ANY of these questions, get rid of this goal. But, but,… no buts. Just get rid of it. I give you permission. 😁
In order to achieve any goal you have to really desire whatever the outcome of achieving your goal is. If it doesn’t really interest you, you won’t be able to find the interest or motivation to put in the work necessary to achieve it.
Goals don’t achieve themselves (see rule #4).
When deciding on what goals to set for yourself try to base them on changes you really desire. That you’re really hungry for.
- What have you always wanted?
- How do you want to feel?
- How do you want your life to look?
- What’s holding you back?
- What’s keeping you stuck in your life?
- What’s creating stress or anxiety?
- Where is your life feeling chaotic?
The answer to these questions will help you set goals that really mean something to you. Goals that will actually move the needle for you.
Rule #3 – You Must Have A Plan
A goal without a plan is just a dream. And it will remain a dream without a plan. It’s very difficult to achieve any goal without some sort of roadmap on how to get there.
You wouldn’t take a roadtrip somewhere that you’ve never been without first figuring out how to get there. A goal is no different. It’s somewhere you’ve never been before. Make sure you make a plan on how to get there.
- Where specifically am I going?
- What’s the route I need to take?
- When do I want to get there?
- When do I need to leave in order to get there on time?
- How will I know I’m there?
Every goal is an adventure, a journey. Figure out your plan on how to get there and your goal won’t overwhelm you.
To break you goal down easily, list out everything you need to do, have, or be to achieve your goal. Listing every single thing is important. Even the things you might think are obvious right now. Still write them down.
Breaking your goal down into these bight sized chunks not only takes away any feelings of being overwhelmed by your goal, but it will give you a step by step roadmap from start to finish. You will know what needs to be done and in what order to do it.
A failure to plan is a plan to fail
Rule #4 – Your Goals Must Be Prioritized And Scheduled
Your goals should be toward the top of your list of priorities. It’s not difficult to prioritize a goal you’re excited to work on (see rule #2). Remember, a priority is whatever you spend the most time doing or thinking about (excluding your 9-5).
What are the top 5 things you spend the most thought and time on? Make sure your goals get a spot on the list.
Anything that you want to prioritize in your life will get done if you schedule it in to your day. Do you ever find yourself saying things like, ” oh yeah I was gonna….”? Life will distract you from getting the important stuff done if you don’t stick it on your daily to-do list or schedule it into your calendar.
Spend a few minutes every Sunday scheduling your week. You’ll find you get twice as much done with more free time to spare. What’s even better is, you won’t feel scattered, stressed out, or like you’re running in circles all week.
Trust me. Planning your week on Sunday will freaking change your life.
Then you must take action. Just do it. The key to getting motivated is simply doing. The more you JUST DO something, the more motivated you’ll become.
Rule #5 – You Must Track, Evaluate And Reassess Your Goals
Why is all of this important? Well if you’ve left on your roadtrip but see no sign along the way to help direct you and reassure you that you are indeed heading in the right direction, you may have some problems getting to your destination in time, or at all.
Wrong or missed turns will get you off course very quickly. If you don’t occasionally reassess the direction you’re going, you may not realize how far off course you’ve gotten. You’ll have wasted precious time that can’t be gotten back.
This is what happens to our goals.
When you’re doing your weekly planning each Sunday, (see rule #4), check in with how you’re doing with your goals
Are you on track? Do you need to make any tweaks or changes? What’s working? What’s not working? What obstacle did you have to deal with last week? What is one solution to this obstacle?
Bonus Rules To Setting Goals That Get Achieved
For someone who isn’t fond of goal setting rules, I sure am throwing a lot of them out there today. Here’s a couple of bonus things to think about when setting your goals.
If Your Goal Is Overwhelming You, It’s Probably Too Big
If your goal has passed the test of rules 1-5 but you’re finding yourself overwhelmed with your goal, it’s probably too big. Does this mean you should scrap it? NO!
All you need to do is bring it down a notch or two. The solution to this problem is usually rectified by either giving yourself more time to complete your goal or simply breaking it down into smaller bite-sized chunks.
Figure out where you feel the least overwhelmed. Is it focusing on what needs to be done each week, each month, or each quarter? A good example of this would be writing a 70,000 word book by the end of the year.
That’s pretty overwhelming to think about. So break your goal down until it feels do-able. This is what this would look like:
- Quarterly: 17,500 words
- Monthly: 5,834 words
- Weekly: 1,347 words
So I personally would feel comfortable focusing on what I need to accomplish each week. That looks very do-able to me. The other two numbers just overwhelm me when I look at them.
This will also help you when you plan your week each Sunday. It gives you a focus on what you need to accomplish for the week so you can schedule it into your calendar.
If You Dread Working On Your Goal, It may Need to Be Tweaked
So you thought you had the perfect goal but you’re finding yourself dreading the actual work it’s going to take to accomplish it. This is a problem I see alot.
The first thing you need to do is take it through the rules. Make sure this goal is really passing the test (especially rule #2). If it doesn’t, then get rid of it.
If all checks out, the next things to ask are:
- What about your goal is bringing you down?
- Is there an alternative to this?
Your goal is to lose weight. You have created an exercise plan and decided how and where you want to workout. You find yourself hating the program or dislike going to the gym. Simply change up your plan. If something isn’t working for you, look for a solution.
Find an exercise program you really like. Find another gym you enjoy going to, or try doing your workout at home. Think outside of the box a little to find a solution. Maybe outdoor activities would be more motivating and enjoyable.
The bottom line is, everyone is different. Find your sweet spot. Don’t stick with something you dread the thought of doing because you’ll eventually get discouraged and quit. Find what works for you.
Following these rules to setting goals will prepare you to successfully set and achieve them.
For Further Reading: