Set goals, move forward, make a new start . . . seems everything we hear in January is about goal-setting, which motivates and stirs a lot of us toward positive changes and progress in business, relationships, and life in 2018.

But what about those who don’t get excited about setting goals. Some people cringe at the thought of creating a written list of goals. Why? For some, it’s too hard, because they either don’t know how to do it, or they don’t like to be tied to schedules and organization. Others don’t want to deal with feeling like a loser if they set goals and never complete them.

If you hate the thought of goals or consider yourself the type of person who’s not “cut out” for setting goals, ask yourself, “Do I want to achieve more this year than in the past?” It’s been proven that those who create a series of written, realistic goals actually do accomplish more than those who do not. So if goal setting will help you make progress in certain areas of your life, how can it be a positive experience instead of something to dread?

Here are seven ways to create a focused and positive goal-setting experience:

  1. Know your “why.” Setting goals are pointless if you don’t know why you’re doing it. When you know what you want to accomplish and why you have greater motivation to set the right goals for yourself. You can’t set goals without a “why.”
  2. Write down your goals.  It’s scientifically proven that writing down your goals greatly increases your ability to achieve them. When you write them down, you are more likely to remember them and stay focused on what you want to accomplish. 
  3. Have a vision. What do you want your life to look like when you’ve reached your goals? This vision of your future is connected to your “why.” Keep a picture of the end in mind. You could create a vision board with actual pictures of that goal (perhaps a house you want to buy, or a job you want to pursue). Or you could write out a detailed account of what your life will be like when you’ve met that certain goal. Keep that vision board where you see it every day, or read your dream account of your future life, and let it motivate you to take the steps to get there.
  4. Don’t compare your goals to others’. Make your goals not just achievable but realistic for you and your lifestyle. What you want to accomplish and believe you can achieve will be different from others in your life. Even if your goals seem “smaller” than someone else’s, be confident in believing what goals you can reach.
  5. Keep it simple. You’ve heard of writing SMART goals (specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and time bound); I suggest keeping all your goals and the steps toward each one as simple as possible. Don’t make your goals overwhelming. Create short-term deadlines for each goal and step toward a goal—one month, three months, six months—so you’ll be able to track your progress.
  6. Be accountable.  When you share your goals, and even your deadlines, with a trusted person in your life, you have someone on your side to keep you moving forward. Accountability helps you achieve your goals and stay motivated, and even keeps you from getting discouraged along the way.
  7. Celebrate every victory, even the small ones. In addition to writing down your goals with attainable steps, make a plan to celebrate each accomplishment along the way. Plan a special meal, a day off, a spa treatment, a trip to your favorite spot, a movie you’re dying to see, a special purchase. When you have something to look forward to, you’ll be more likely to reach that next step and make progress. Whatever you choose to do, make sure your celebrations make you feel joyful so they are worth the effort you make to attain the next goal.

When you make goal setting simple, personal, realistic, and fun, you’ll be more likely to beat the statistics and be one of the few who not only creates goals for improvement but also attain them. At the end of the day, you want to feel successful and productive, and know that you’ve achieved something that will make a positive difference in your life, and even in the lives of those you love and do life with.

If you need help in achieving these steps toward goal setting, I’d love to partner with you. If I can coach you in how to create goals to improve your relationships, accomplish your purpose, even grow your spiritual life, please contact me. I can’t wait to help you!

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