If you’re wondering how to set goals, you’ve come to the right place.
Setting goals for yourself is one of the best things that you can do. It allows you to map out your future and start working in the right direction. It’s often easier said than done though.
Well it’s funny how a lot of us like to talk the talk, but don’t necessarily walk the walk. In other words, we say we’re going to do something, but we rarely end up doing it.
The problem isn’t necessarily due to lack of motivation, because I’m sure you’d love to achieve those goals of yours. The problem has to do with how you structure your goals.
How To Set Goals: A Step-By-Step Explainer – Goal Setting
When it comes to creating your ideal life, goals are a necessity. They are your north star – that thing off in the distance that you actively work towards today.
But you need to have a plan to get there. Otherwise, you’ll run around wasting time in the pursuit of some ambiguous future. You don’t want that. You want to be effective with your time.
You can create your ideal life. You can achieve your dreams. But to do that, you need to fully utilize the 24 hours that you have each day. You can make this progress in a number of ways:
- Applying various time management tips
- Employing productivity hacks
- Trying out different time management strategies
- Using methods like the Pomodoro Technique to help you better focus
You name it.
There are a lot of things you can do to better utilize your time. But where’s the best place to start? You guessed it. Goal setting.
Why goal setting is important
You want to learn how to set goals. I get it. And we’re going to get there shortly, but you can’t just rush into this. You first need to understand how important goals are.
So why is goal setting such a great place to start and why is it so important? It’s all about time.
But productivity and time management without a goal is like a ship without a direction. You may be getting things done fast, but without a target you’ll be going nowhere very quickly.
That’s where your goals come into play.
Goal setting is important because it allows you to envision a better future for yourself and then create a roadmap to help you get there. That roadmap will change from time to time, but as long as you keep pushing forward and making progress, you will be headed in the right direction.
By setting goals for yourself and by combining them with productivity and time management, you’ll be well on your way to creating an amazing life for yourself.
How to set goals and achieve them
Let me just say, achieving your goals is hard work. It takes time, deliberate effort, and a good amount of struggle.
But they are achievable – whatever they may be.
I’ll explain this a little further below, but before we get into the actual achieving of your goals, you need to first understand that goal setting is great, but it’s not the end-all-be-all.
Meaning that just because you set goals for yourself doesn’t mean that you will achieve them right away. They can certainly get you moving in the right direction, but that is just one factor of many as you go about creating your ideal life.
There are a lot of other criteria that will come into play, like:
- How you manage your time each day
- What tasks you decide to work on
- How effective you are with certain tasks
- Etc, etc, etc.
There’s a lot to cover!
It’s for that reason that I created the productivity and time management Super Course – so that you can have everything you need, all in one course, to fully utilize your 24 hours each day and get to work creating your ideal life.
It starts with the basics of understanding your time. From there it covers in detail everything that you’ll need for goal setting. Following that is module after module of techniques, strategies, and tactics that you can use to be more effective with your time each day.
You can learn more and enroll in the course < there.
If you’d like to get a feel for how I do things before committing to the course, you can sign up for our free 6-day bootcamp instead. Once signed up, I’ll email you each day with 1 lesson taken straight from the course. You can sign up for the bootcamp right here:
And now, without further ado, let’s dig into the steps of how to set goals.
Steps to achieve goals: how to set goals in 4 deliberate steps
The process of setting goals is straightforward. In fact, the steps can be boiled down to the following:
- Plot your steps
- Write it down
- Get to work, start achieving
I will describe each step below. But first, let me explain why these steps are so great, how I came across them, and how to set goals using them.
These are the steps that I’ve used countless times to achieve my goals. Honed over many years, this is the process that I’ve found to be the simplest to employ and easiest to follow.
These 4 steps are what I’ve applied time after time, goal after goal. In fact, here are some examples of goals that I’ve set for myself and achieved using this method:
- Lost and consistently kept off 30 lbs
- Consistently read 1-2 books/month over multiple years
- Ran 2 half marathons within 5 months
The list goes on and on, but these are just a few.
Now, do I always hit my mark? Definitely not. And neither will you.
You can’t expect to reach 100% of your goals 100% of the time. Sometimes timelines don’t work out, other times things take longer than expected. A lot of factors are variable and you’ll need to learn how to overcome adversity.
What I can say, however, is that by planning out my goals and by using the structure that I’ll explain below, I’ve achieved a mountain of goals and results that I wouldn’t have achieved had I not planned them out using this method.
How do you think you’re reading this article right now? I set a goal to write a certain amount of articles in a certain amount of time, and got to work.
Now it’s your turn. Time to start planning out your goals.
Keep in mind – each of these steps is a critical component of the goal setting module of our course. If you find these useful, we go even more in-depth and provide even more insight once you enroll.
Let’s dig into the steps.
How to set goals: the breakdown
To bring in our list from earlier, here are the steps you need for goal setting. Let’s explore each one.
- Plot your steps
- Write it down
- Get to work, start achieving
The first step is introspection. Introspection in this case means to take some time to consider:
- Who/Where are you today?
- Who/Where do you want to be in the future?
Spend time considering these questions.
Consider why you want your future to look one way over the other. Then, make sure those reasons are grounded in something real – not something vanity-related that will fade.
For example, one of the classic goal setting examples is to lose a certain amount of weight. But you need to recognize why you want to lose that weight.
Is it so that you will live a happier, longer life?
Or is it because you want to show off at your high school reunion in a few months?
One of those reasons is rooted in a strong why, one is based in vanity. The one with a strong why is one you will stick with. It’s grounded in something real.
Well, you may reach your goal in the short term, but because it’s not based in anything of substance you likely won’t be able to keep that weight off for long.
So make sure you envision your future to its fullest and then double check that the reason you want to achieve those goals is based in something real.
2. Plot your steps
Alright, so you now have a vision for a bigger and brighter future. What’s next? Plot your steps to get there.
Consider where you want to go and then back track what steps you need to take to get there. Go from Z to A and recognize what steps need to be put into place.
For example, let’s say you want to learn how to set goals at work. And let’s say your goal for work is to get a promotion within 8 months.
So you know where you want to go – Z. You know where you are today – A. Now, consider what steps you need to take each day/week/month to get you there.
Yes, the steps may change over time and when they do you can adjust. Don’t worry about that. Instead, assume all factors will remain the same for the next 8 months.
How do you get to Z?
Do you need to work on a certain type of project? Do you need a certain connection in a specific department? Will you need to learn some new skill?
Consider that and let’s move forward.
3. Write it down
You know where you want to go, you know what steps you need to get there. What’s next?
You need to write it down.
Writing your goals down is absolutely necessary for several reasons:
- It will keep you accountable
- You will be able to track and monitor your progress
- When you’re feeling unmotivated, you will be able to look back at the goals you’ve completed and see just how far you’ve come (to re-motivate and re-energize you)
If anything, writing your goals down is a great first step to achieving something better. See writing them down as the first step you will take towards achieving your goals and creating your ideal life.
Don’t skip this step!
Go ahead and write down what your goals are, what steps you need to take to get there, and what checkpoints you’re going to set for yourself along the way.
4. Get to work, start achieving
You know where you want to go, you have your steps ready, you’ve written everything down.
The final step here is to get to work.
You won’t magically wake up one day with your goals suddenly achieved, it takes a whole lot of effort and persistence before you reach your destination. You can get there though as long as you keep pushing.
You just need to put one foot in front of the other each and every day. Even if it’s a baby step. Progress is progress so get to work.
You got this!
If you ever get discouraged, remember that small steps, built up over time, will result in huge, massive gains. So focus on improving by 1% each day and you will get there in no time.
Bonus: Get a little more in-depth
If you want to dig even deeper into goal setting, I recommend you check out our course.
Covering even more examples and giving you an even more in-depth walk through of how to set goals, plus numerous modules geared towards helping you better utilize your time, this course is perfect for you no matter where you are on your journey.
Learn more about the course < there.
If you’re not quite ready to enroll, you can instead sign up for our free 6-day bootcamp where I email you one lesson from the course each day for 6 days. That way you can get a better feel for how I do things.
You can sign up for the bootcamp right here:
How goals build over time
Here’s the nice thing about goals: the more you achieve, the more they build on themselves, the stronger you become, and in turn the more you continue to achieve.
It’s a wonderful cycle where even if you don’t achieve your goals the first time around, you can learn from the process, adjust, try again, succeed, and then grow even further.
For example, you may want to run a 5K in a certain amount of time, but you don’t quite reach it within the time frame you were planning for.
So you learn, try out new things, readjust timelines, and eventually beat the time you were striving to reach.
That confidence then carries over into running longer distances and faster times. Next thing you know, you’re a full-blown athlete running a real half marathon!
And it just keeps going from there.
That’s the power of goals. They keep building on each other in a great way.
How to set goals in life
When it comes to setting goals, there are a lot of different kinds:
- Physical goals
- Financial goals
- Career goals
- Family goals
And that’s just the first 4 that I could think of. There are probably another 15-20 goal categories altogether.
So when it comes to how to set goals, you’ll find that you probably have a lot of interests and a lot of things that you want to achieve.
Where’s the best place to start? That’s ultimately up to you. But for me, I normally have:
- 1 big-picture goal
- 2-3 smaller goals
When I say big-picture goal, I mean the one thing that I really want to achieve that (nearly) all of my attention and focus is on.
At the time of this writing, my big-picture goal is to grow QuickBooost (the site you’re on right now) to a place that provides an insane amount of value to anyone that comes across it.
Then from there I have some smaller goals for health, finances, etc.
When I say smaller I don’t mean less important, I mean that they don’t require as much time as my big-picture goal.
That said, when it comes to setting your own goals, start with 1 or 2 and slowly build out from there as you gain more confidence.
Once you’re ready and you have your goals set, it’s time to start achieving! You can learn how to achieve goals < there.
Or if you want to start tracking your goals right now, check out these goal tracker tools.
As you start setting goals in your own life, feel free to come back to this explainer from time to time. Use it as inspiration, use it as a guide, use it to help take you to where you want to go.
Remember, the process of goal setting and how to set goals in general is ever changing. Experiment with your results and create the system that works best for you.
Get out there, start taking steps forward, and create the ideal life that you seek!