Getting Real With Setting Goals: 10 Tips

Here’s another post provided by James.  In this one, he a gives a number of helpful tips anyone can use to set (and follow-through) with their goals.

A great goal is realistic, time based, quantified and positive. Goals provide direction for the things that you wish to accomplish. Goals help you to create reality from your dreams. How do you get real with your goals?

#1. Have a Dream

Personal goals begin with dreams. You want to have the largest stamp collection in the world. You want to be a freelance artist and spend your days drawing. You want to see the world with your family. Take a moment to dream of your ideal situation.

#2. Brainstorm: 100 Directions

Write down 100 directions that you could take with your dreams. Do you want to be financially independent? What do you want to do? When you are finished writing these goals, choose one long-term (six months or more), one medium-term (three to six months) goal and one long-term goal to pursue.

#3. Make Your Goals Personal

These goals are yours. They are not those of your spouse, parents or teachers. Only you can judgment about whether to pursue these goals. You are the one who will decide to take the first step.

==>>How Olympic Athletes reach their Goals

#4. Write About the Goals That You’ve Chosen

Write a couple of paragraphs about what successful completion of these three goals would look like. Writing about them makes the goal more real to you and represents your personal energy. What are you going to do once you have achieved financial freedom? Describe the outfit you will wear when you lose twenty pounds.

#5. Quantify Your Goals, Be Positive

Express your goals in terms of numbers and make them positive. I will write one book. I will weigh X pounds. Write your goals down in positive and measurable terms. Try to stay away from vague sentences like, ‘I will be a better person.’ Ask yourself what a ‘better’ person looks like and what skills they need to possess, then write your goals down in terms of those qualities.

#6. Time Based

Once you have quantified your goals, give yourself a deadline for their completion. Be realistic in your deadlines. You know that you are not going to be able to lose twenty pounds in a day, but two months might be more feasible. If a goal is too hard, you might give up. If a goal is too easy, you will be left asking yourself, ‘what’s next?’

#7. Establish Milestones for Medium and Long Term Goals

Break your goal down into its component parts. If you are planning to have a thousand dollars in your savings account within a year, that means that you are going to have five hundred dollars within six months. Make these mini goals so they match the time frame of your shortest goal. You are then able to more easily pursue them simultaneously.

#8. Visualize Your Goals

Envision your goals on a daily basis. This provides a positive affirmation and impetus for you to complete the goal that you have. The visualization will add strength and bring that goal closer.

#9. Be Positive

You will complete your goals if you have a positive attitude. When you phrase your goal, do not use the words ‘if’ or ‘try.’ Proudly devote daily time to each of the goals that you wish to achieve.

#10. Decide Your Tactics

Tactics are the steps that you will use to achieve your goals. With three goals, there are fewer things on which to focus. Break your goals down into small, achievable daily steps. Where the goal itself answers the question, ‘what am I going to do?’ the tactic answers the question, ‘How am I going to do it?’ You may need to brainstorm again to develop your tactics. All of your goals are within your reach. If you stay positive and devote attention to them, your dreams can come true.

Steve’s Note: James Adams is a productivity and a “Getting Things Done” freak who works at an online print cartridge specialist store. He writes reviews of products like 364XL ink and occasionally manages to indulge in writing a post about design or technology for their blog.



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20 thoughts on “Getting Real With Setting Goals: 10 Tips”

  1. James, I enjoyed your post and agree that setting goals is very important. When I think I go a little wrong is at step 5.

    being specific is very important but when I get specific I find that my one goal seems to have become several – for example when you make a goal like ‘I will be fit by the end of 2010’ specific you can end up with ‘I will weigh X’ AND ‘I will have a resting heart rate of no more than Y’ and at that point I often get confused.

    What am I doing wrong?

    • IMO just best to stay with one specific goal, or set them up separately. Personally I like concrete ones, that are not TOO hard to obtain. Like losing 10 pounds in 2 months.

      • Hi Lesley,

        I agree with Steve. What you need is concrete goals that you can actively reach for, this will make it a lot more likely that you’ll get the job done. You may have one main goal that you wish to accomplish, but there could be many specifics that go into accomplishing that goal.
        Say for example that you’re trying to get fit. If you specify what you’re aiming to do, such as “work out 5 hours a week” and “eat only vegetables, fish and chicken” then it will make it a lot easier for you to set those elements into your routine and plan and will help you in achieving those goals. It’s a lot more specific than saying to yourself that you’ll workout more or eat healthier.

        Hope that helps.

  2. Hi James,

    Visualization is a powerful practice. I see my goals, feel my goals and live in my mental picture to make it come alive.

    Thanks for sharing your goal-achieving insight.

    Ryan Biddulph

  3. Awesome post James (and Steve).. I definitely agree with setting mid term and long term goals. If you do not have any goals set, you may not be motivated enough to do your best. Great tips.

  4. Visualization and quantifying your goals is so important. This is something that I do myself in my business. When you can measure the thing that you want to achieve, you give it a timeline, and you refuse to quite, it’s amazing what you can get out of it.

    Just by giving things numbers, we are making them a reality in our minds.. We take things from just a hope and a dream and turn them into something that can really happen, as long as we believe in it.

    -Joshua Black
    The Underdog Millionaire

  5. @ Ryan, Aaron and Josh

    James puts out some pretty good points on goals I think. Visualizing success and adding in specific accomplishments are definitely an essential component of successful goal.

    I like the planning aspects. I have always been fond of good planning and have always felt that: “Improper planning equals piss poor performance”

  6. I know it sounds silly and you have probably heard this before but write down what you want or take a picture then slap that right above your computer, mirror, whatever.

    When you can see your goal every day, you always stop to think “am I doing what I need to do to accomplish this?” – it’s a great boost in confidence and inspiration.

    Thanks for the tips – giving me that boost to kick off the night on a good foot 🙂

    • Hi Murlu,

      That doesn’t sound silly at all! That’s a pretty good idea in fact…always keeping your goal in sight, if you will. It’s very helpful if you have a constant reminder to keep your motivated 😀

      Thanks for reading!

    • Writing goals down is an awesome way to help visual them and give you a kick in the ass if you slack a little bit. It is a pretty good addition!

    • Going over them periodically and revising is a good point. You want to readjust for goals that have been accomplished and maybe upgrade. I would think just “not” allowing yourself to “downgrade” long term goals would be important.

  7. Hey Steve,

    I really like the point #4 James mentioned…

    Visualizing goals is very important in order to achieve the goals we set.

    Like Ryan said, you have to see the goal, put it in your mind and work for it to turn goals into reality….

    Thank you for the great tips.

    • Adam,

      You are right, you cannot underestimate the power and importance of visualization. Seeing it clearly helps you to get to your desired place.

  8. Setting a goal is kind of focusing and pursuasing yourself towards consistently. This is why the prayers are done. There is nothing especial in those words only. It is not the words that have magic. But when articulate your wish, it converts into concrete. Repetitive reminding wishes will push you towards working in that direction. One day, the dream comes true.

    It was a nice reading. Thank you.

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