“A goal is a dream with a deadline”. I’m not sure who originally said it, but they were correct.
Dreams are wonderful, but making them a reality is even better. Setting goals are great because they can make you feel inspired and motivated. However if you fail to achieve them it can create negative feelings.
The end of the year (or the beginning of a new year or new month) is a great time to set goals, but we want to help you actually achieve them. Continue reading to learn how to achieve goals you set this year.
Consider Actions When Setting Goals
When you first set a goal, it’s common to think about the outcome and use that to motivate you. Achieving things like losing 30 pounds, paying off $10,000 of debt, increasing your income to $5,000 per month, or taking a dream vacation all sound nice.
In order to reach those goals, you need to take specific actions. You also can’t expect to be in complete control of what happens in your life while you are trying to make progress.
For example, let’s say your goal is to start earning $5,000 per month with a side business. You can’t control how many clients or customers buy your products or services. You also can’t control how many people come to your website or choose to engage in your business.
However, there are other actions you can control like what types of services you create and how you market them. Direct most of your focus toward working on the actions that you have control over that can help you reach your goal.
Don’t just focus on the outcome and think if you wish hard enough, things will start to happen. You need to be very strategic and often times work backward starting at the outcome but then narrowing down the specific actions you can take.
I don’t mean literally, because I’m sure you’re already are smart. SMART is actually an established, systematic approach to achieving goals. It is an acronym for: specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound. Let’s break the acronym down.
Specific: How can you achieve your goals you set this year if you don’t know what they are? Set goals that are significant yet simple. Being too abstract can prevent you from figuring out how to achieve them. What is it that you want to achieve? Why is it significant? Where does it take place? Will it involve anyone else?
Measureable: Measureable goals provide a picture of what you will see (what does achievement look like?) Knowing where the finish line can help you stay motivated. It is beneficial to set measureable goals because they allow you to track your progress. This also contributes to clarity which helps with focus.
Achievable: One of the reasons that people don’t reach their goals is that they were unrealistic from the start. It’s great to have big dreams and vision, but none of that matters without the ability to be executed.
This is where you factor in the variables involved (any costs related to the goal, the time you have available to dedicate to it, the effort required, your resources). If you are considering setting a goal that isn’t in line with those variables, consider revisiting it at a later time.
Relevant: Is this goal something that you actually want? I’ll be honest; sometimes I used to set goals because of other people. I call it the “keeping up with the Joneses” effect. I would see glamourous images on Instagram and set goals like “own a yacht”. The truth is I don’t even like boats (I suffer from motion sickness). Evaluate your reasoning and the desire for your goals before committing to them. Consider things like timing and “is it worthwhile” to ensure these goals are relevant to your life.
Timebound: Like the quote said, you need a deadline. Set goals with intention and give yourself a realistic timeline to reach them. Take into consideration all of the other steps of SMART when planning your timeline. Just don’t make the timeline too rigid, as this can make you feel like you’re racing against time.
How to Achieve Goals With RPM
RPM is a goal setting method created by life coach Tony Robbins. RPM stands for “Rapid Planning Method”. Despite the name, RPM has more to do with you think than time. In order to set goals, you would begin with three questions:
What do you want? What is my purpose? What is your massive action plan?
After those questions have been answered, you’re ready to start your plan.
Step 1: Capture (Write it down)
Writing down your goals serves multiple purposes. First, it allows you visualize. Seeing them written down makes them real to you. It allows you to organize your thoughts. It helps “declutter” your mind. More often than not, we all have too much on our mind. This can lead to stress, which can cause mental blocks.
Think of the human brain like a computer. We only have the ability to focus on so many things at once. Writing down your thoughts is like freeing up space on your hard drive.
Step 2: Chunk
This step is not as strange as it may sound. “Chunking” is the process of grouping your thoughts into categories. Capturing allows you to clarify what’s most important (goals). Chunking orders your “musts” and tasks/steps you need to achieve them. Start with capturing your goals for a week, then chunking them. Your categories could include health, relationships, whatever you need to list them as to establish priority.
Step 3: Create RPM blocks
Once you have the goals and understand how to prioritize them, create RPM blocks to achieve them. Take each goal (starting with the most important), list it under a category. Write down the results desired for the goal. Then write down the purpose behind the goal. Finally, write down the actions or steps need to achieve the results you desire. Create blocks for each of your goals that you’re focusing on. The blocks streamline your goals by visualizing the start to finish.
Another acronym based goal setting method is SWOT analysis. SWOT stands for strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. SWOT analysis helps you set goals that are achievable by being realistic.
By evaluating them under these criteria, you are able to consider the positive and not so positive. If you should find that your strengths and opportunities are equal or less to than the weaknesses or threats, it may not be the goal for you (at this time).
Action Begins with You
Goals mean nothing without action. What prevented you from achieving goals in the past? It is important to identify this so that you don’t repeat the same mistakes. If the issue was bad habits (like procrastination or overspending) you won’t successfully change goals until you resolve them. While old habits die hard, it is necessary to get rid of anything preventing you from succeeding.
Focus on developing healthy habits. You don’t need to do a complete overhaul in one day. In fact, you can start by making one change a day. If you’re a procrastinator, try to break things down into smaller tasks and set alarms to serve as deadlines to keep you on task. Consider offering yourself an incentive once you make a deadline. Before setting goals for next year, be sure that you are ready and willing to take action.
How can you achieve goals set this year?
Be intentional, be realistic, and be prepared to take action. Try out one of the goal-setting methods listed above and you’ll be one step closer to achieving them.
STOP Living Paycheck to Paycheck
You can't break free from the status quo when you're living like everyone else. Get one of the free spreadsheet tools I used to pay off $35,000 of debt quickly, build an emergency fund, and break the paycheck to paycheck cycle.