How do I set realistic and achievable goals?

Setting goals is an essential part of personal growth and success. Whether it’s for the year ahead or any other period, having clear objectives can provide direction and motivation in life. However, setting realistic and achievable goals is important to ensure progress and avoid disappointment. Here are some tips on what you can do to ensure that your goals are attainable and meaningful.

Reflect on your values

Before diving into goal setting, take some time to reflect on your values and aspirations. Understanding what truly matters to you will help you align your goals with your core principles. Ask yourself questions like:

  • What do I want to achieve in life?
  • What are my passions and interests?
  • What values do I hold dear?
  • What impact do I want to make in the world?

By answering these questions honestly, you can identify goals that match your values.

Make goals specific and actionable

One common mistake people make when setting goals is being too vague. Instead of saying, “I want to get fit this year,” try being more specific and actionable. For example, you could say, “I want to jog three times a week and complete a 5K run by the end of the year.”

Being specific allows you to break down your goals into manageable tasks and measure your progress more effectively. It also provides you with a clear roadmap to follow, making it easier to achieve your objectives.

Set measurable milestones

When setting goals, make sure to set measurable milestones along the way to help keep you on track and motivated. You can celebrate your achievements and stay on course by breaking your goal into smaller steps.

For instance, if your goal is to run a 5K by the end of the year, you could set milestones such as: 

  • Create a fitness plan that suits your schedule within the first month, and research running groups or apps you could join.
  • Start slowly by exercising up to 30 minutes at a time within the first two months, including walking and running.
  • Incorporate at least one session per week lasting 1-hour within 4 months.
  • Reach a 2.5k distance within 6 months.
  • Complete your first 5k run within 12 months.

Having these milestones allows you to evaluate your progress regularly and make necessary adjustments to ensure you’re on track. Regularly looking at your goals will keep them a focus in your mind and will help you to stick to them as time goes on.

Consider your limitations

When setting goals, it’s essential to consider your limitations, such as time, resources, and skills. Being realistic about what you can realistically achieve within a given timeframe will prevent frustration and burnout.

If, for example, you’re working full-time and have other commitments, setting a goal to learn a new language fluently in a month might not be feasible. Instead, break it down into smaller, more achievable goals, such as completing a language course or practising for a set amount of time each day.

Three Questions of Direction

One of the things we always use in our workshops for goal setting is the Three Questions of Direction. This framework includes three questions to ask yourself to help give you direction when setting a goal.

These questions are:

  • Where are you now?
  • Where would you like to be? 
  • How would you get there?

So, think about a goal you want to achieve this year. Now, go through the questions one by one and write down your answers. This will help you to identify your starting point, what target you are aiming for (i.e. your goal) and then how you think you will get there. 

To achieve a goal, you need to create a plan. A goal without a plan is just a dream! So, think about the steps you need to put in place or what you need to do to prepare yourself to make your dream a reality! Remember, these steps need to be small to make them more attainable.

The Magic Steps to Goal Setting Programme

If you’re looking for a comprehensive guide to setting and achieving goals, I highly recommend checking out our ‘Magic Steps to Goal Setting Programme‘. This program provides practical tools and techniques to help you set realistic and achievable goals that will lead you towards success.

You can find more information about the ‘Magic Steps to Goal Setting Programme’ here.

Remember, setting realistic and achievable goals is about knowing yourself, being specific, breaking your goals into measurable milestones, and considering your limitations. By following these steps and utilising resources like the ‘Magic Steps to Goal Setting Programme‘, you can pave the way to a fulfilling and successful year ahead.

Good luck with your goal-setting journey!

To find out more on this topic…

Listen to our ‘G is for Goals & Gratitude for 2024’ podcast episode

Z to A of Life Skills Podcast with Mark and Jules Kennedy.

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