There is a difference between coming up with a goal and setting the goal up for success. If you’re seeking the moment of the outcome, then you’ll never truly be satisfied. If your goal is the learning process, then you’ve just found the key to how to set goals and achieve them.
How to Set Goals and Achieve Them
I just experienced a lightbulb moment after connecting two parts of my current reads, so I ran (fast-walked) downstairs and started typing my findings to share with all of you! There are three parts to this post: the mindset before, the 3-step goal setting strategy, and achievement.
1. The Smart Mindset
Before writing down your goals of winning the lottery, moving to Italy, and finding “the one”, let’s check our mindset.
In Think Like a Monk by Jay Shetty, he describes what a senior monk in the ashram tells him about goals. Strolling along, as they pass by other monks, the senior monk tells his students of the nearby monks’ accomplishments: this monk knows all the scripture, this one can fast for 7 days, etc. Shetty says he wishes he could be the same way. The senior monk then turns to him and asks, “Do you wish you could do that, or do you wish you could learn to do that?”
We believe that success will bring us happiness. Knowing all the verses of scripture, having the perfect wedding, or getting that promotion will make us happy when in fact, it’s only short-term excitement. We need long-term contentment.
Ask yourself, what motivation is driving my goal? Is it fear? Desire? Will I enjoy the process or do I only crave the outcome? Shetty wisely says, “We’re most satisfied when we are in a state of progress, learning, or achievement.” Smart goals take thought before commitment.
2. Goal Setting Technique
I was reading Get Your Shit Together by Sarah Knight (not PG13) and she talks about avoiding to-do lists just to check them off and instead explains goal setting. This is one of the simplest, wisest ways how to set goals and achieve them because it will bring longer-lasting happiness than awaiting that final outcome as I mentioned earlier.
Now that we’ve got our mindset, how do we set successful goals?
Let’s go a little more in-depth.
Strategize: What do you want to accomplish? Write it down, say it out loud. It’s easier to start with one goal, so what is most important to you right now (personal, business, relationship)? Split this into small sections by breaking down feasible parts.
Example – Let’s say you want to make more money. One way to make money is to save appropriately. Go through your bank account (yes, you have to actually look at it) and see where you spend the most. Make a goal to save, say $500 per month.
From there, section this goal into budgets on those spendy categories. What’s your new weekly budget for food? For clothing?
Focus: Don’t give up until you’ve reached your goal. There will be temptations but be smart with which ones you allow yourself to give in to. Create time to complete these sections.
Example – Saving money could include keeping track of your weekly spending and seeing how it aligns with your new budget. Knowing where your money goes is motivating to adjust to where you want it to go.
Commit: You got to want it! Think of how it will feel once you’ve accomplished your goal, and remember to engage in that completion in your own way. What works for someone else may not work for you.
Example – Saving $500 per month can create pathways to a whole world of possibilities and understanding what you’re capable of.
If you have multiple goals, keep them separate but double-check you can actually complete them in your timeframe without being overwhelmed. You’ll also want to be super specific about your goal and how you’re going to achieve it. Your goal could even be one week of healthy things to do, but brainstorm ahead of time!
Goal Setting Example
One of my friends has a love for the medical field and helping others. Not sure what the next step was after graduating college, she took a few years off and found she wanted to pursue learning more in that field (mindset of enjoying the process). So she strategized (set a goal for medical school), focused on the sections of that goal (made a calendar to research and visit schools), and committed (sent applications). What’s this called again? Oh, just how to set goals and achieve them like the boss you are.
Our goals can only be reached through a vehicle of a plan, in which we must fervently believe, and upon which we must vigorously act. There is no other route to success.Pablo Picasso
One of the largest contributors to achieving your goals is to stay organized. I use a Panda Planner which is actually designed to promote better well-being each day. Find your way of maintaining organization, whether that’s writing it down, using Google calendar, or compartmentalizing it in your brain (some people can do that).
Another key way how to set goals and achieve them is by staying emotionally involved. What is the reason for your goal? Is it powerful enough to last? I believe that “quitters” only opt out of something because they aren’t passionate enough about it and that’s O.K! You should be enjoying the process.
A third component to achieving goals is a support system in the same field. If your dream is to become a baseball player, immerse yourself in that community because those are the people who will lift you up; they love that dream, too!
Ensuring a calm mindset with the intention of enjoying the journey and not the destination will create space for your goal setting techniques and achievement. And it works!