How To Set Goals That Create A Happier Future

Goal setting can be a fun, exciting activity for some – or a dreaded nightmare for others. It usually comes down to your previous experience. If you’ve set goals and failed time and time again, it’s likely that you’re not enthused at the idea of doing it again.

But if goal setting has a positive association for you – perhaps you’ve successfully set goals and succeeded before – then you’ll be feeling much more motivated.

Whichever way you feel right now, I’m here to tell you that goal setting really is the answer. It’s the best way to make sure that you make progress and achieve the things you want to achieve in the year ahead.

The good news is that most people who fail to achieve their goals do so because of a problem in their planning. You didn’t fail because you’re useless/lazy/worthless (insert your own negative self-talk here).

You failed because you didn’t have the right strategy in place to succeed.

That’s all.

With the right strategy, you can achieve whatever you put your mind to. And that’s what this blog post is all about.

So how do you set goals that are certain of success? It’s simple when you know how…

Brainstorm Your Ideas & Choose Your Goals

The first step is to get all your ideas out on paper. There are probably lots of things you’d like to improve and lots of goals you’d love to achieve. But if you want to be successful at goal setting it’s important to be selective. To give yourself the best chance of succeeding.

Before you start planning, choose somewhere quiet and comfortable or a place where you feel productive or inspired. Turn your phone off and make sure you aren’t going to be disturbed for 30-60 minutes. Take time to think about all the key areas of your life including:

  • Your health
  • Your relationships
  • Your career
  • Your personal development
  • Your environment
  • Your finances
  • Your spiritual or emotional development

Write all your ideas down then delete, amend and prioritise them. Personally, I like to choose the goals that will have the biggest impact on my health and happiness, with minimal time and effort. I’m not lazy – just realistic.

I know that if I can just set goals that get some wins under my belt I’ll feel happier, more focused and more motivated to achieve more.

Once you’ve selected your goals for the coming year, it’s time to move on to the next step – making them achievable.

Make Your Goals SMART

You might have heard of SMART goals before. Using SMART goal setting is one way to make sure that your plans are actually realistic and achievable.

A SMART goal is:

Specific –

What exactly do you want to achieve? “Lose weight” is not specific – but “lose 7lbs” is.

Measurable –

If you can’t measure your goal how do you know when you’ve achieved it? For example; “improve my confidence” is a great goal to have – but how will you know when you hit it? A more measurable goal would be “to feel confident enough to go swimming in a bikini”.

Achievable –

Setting goals that stretch yourself is a great idea but you need to be sure that they are achievable or you’ll soon find yourself feeling frustrated and deflated. If you pick an unachievable goal then failure is the only option.

Realistic –

SMART goals are realistic. They take into account where you’re starting from, the resources you have available and the time you have to achieve them in.

Timely –

Set a deadline for your goal, with milestones along the way. Break it down to weekly or monthly deadlines to help you stay on track.

How To Stay On Track

Once you’ve set goals for the coming year, made them SMART and created your timeline, the next step is to take action. Most goals take time to achieve so it’s important that you have a strategy to help you stay focused and keep going.

Visualise

Visualising your goals isn’t just a great way to make sure they stay top of mind, but research shows that it can help you actually achieve them too!

A study by Dr Biasiotto at the University of Chicago showed that a group of participants who practised basketball throws ONLY through visualisation performed 23% better than those who did nothing – and only 1% worse than those who actually practised on the court!

Make visualisation a part of your daily routine – if you’re practising the Miracle Morning that I wrote about a few weeks ago then you’ll be able to easily slot your goal visualisation into your day.

If you didn’t see that blog post I highly recommend you check it out here. A Miracle Morning can have a significant impact on your mind, your mood and your achievements.

Share Your Goals

Tell people about your goals. But not just anyone – tell the people who care. The people who will hold you accountable and who truly want you to succeed. When you tell people about your goals you make a commitment to yourself – and to them.

This commitment will help keep you focused and motivated when the going gets tough – which it will. All goals worth achieving require perseverance, persistence and personal growth.

Keep Them Visible

Put your goals somewhere you can see them every day. Pin them up by your bathroom mirror, make a vision board in your office or pin post-it notes all over your kitchen – it doesn’t matter how you do it as long as you keep your goals visible.

Keeping your goals where you can see them not only keeps you focused, but it reaffirms to your unconscious mind that you’re serious about making those changes and hitting those goals.

Reflect, Assess, Adjust

And finally, once you’ve set your goals and started working towards them, be sure to take time to reflect on your progress, assess if what you’ve been doing is getting results and adjust your strategies if you’re not seeing the progress you need.

This part of goal setting is often forgotten but it’s the magic ingredient that ensures success.

Make it a part of your schedule – weekly, monthly and quarterly – to ensure you meet your 2021 goals.

Need Some Goal Setting Ideas?

If you’re unsure what goals to set for the year to come, check out my previous blog post – 21 New Year’s Resolutions That Will Make You Feel Great for inspiration!