Inside: Is your goal-setting process not working for you? Learn how to create SMART goals and actually achieve them this time!
Tired of setting goals and never really getting anywhere? We’re pretty much all guilty of it.
There are a variety of reasons why people create goals that fail. Often it is due to not being specific about what you’re aiming for or being unrealistic with expectations.
Regardless of why things haven’t worked for you in the past, you can go about creating goals in a more methodic way that will help set you up for success.
Setting goals is an extremely powerful and inspiring process to motivate yourself to work towards the things that really matter to you, but it’s essential to actually go after them.
If you usually find yourself struggling to follow up with your list, it’s time to create SMART goals so that you’ll actually achieve them. Here’s how to do it.
What are SMART goals?
To improve your goal-setting process, you want to make your new goals SMART.
SMART stands for:
S – Specific
M – Measurable
A – Achievable
R – Relevant
T – Time-Bound
For example: Instead of your goal being “to travel the world”, the SMART version would look something like “I want to travel to 30 countries by December 31st, 2025. In order to do this, I’ll need to save X amount of money and I will do that by [list specific, tangible steps here]”.
Let’s dive a little deeper into what each SMART letter means:
Avoid broad goals and get super-specific. Think of it as the mission statement of your goal and the one you will keep looking at until you get there.
What do you want to accomplish and what actions will you take to get there? Instead of your goal being something broad like “make more money”, try “make X amount more than I do every month”.
Don’t just leave it there, though, think of the steps you need to take to achieve that specific amount (will you start a side-business? invest? open an Etsy shop?)
Make sure you are able to measure your goals as well as your progress. This will make things more tangible as it will help you keep track, set tasks, and come up with realistic milestones.
By achievable, we mean realistic. While there’s absolutely nothing wrong with shooting for the stars, it’s important to make sure your goal is attainable in order to ensure you’ll be able to achieve it instead of disappointing yourself.
Plus, setting your goals too high will make you feel overwhelmed and less likely to take the necessary steps to get there.
Is the goal doable? Do you have the time, skills, and resources you need to achieve it? If not, that’s ok! You can either adjust the goal to better fit your current situation or add a few extra steps (and time) to get things done.
As a side note: You can achieve difficult things, but instead of your goal ”retire by the end of the year”, you can take things slowly and make that a longer-term goal.
In order to retire, you’ll need milestones, time, and smaller (SMART) goals you’ll achieve step-by-step in order to get there, so focus on those before getting to the bigger picture.
Ask yourself: how important is it that I achieve this specific goal? Do I really want it? How does this goal align with my bigger, long-term goals?
Set yourself a specific timeframe for when this goal should be ticked off the list. Be realistic here.
Having a specific deadline for something adds a sense of urgency and will push you towards working instead of slacking with the excuse of having a lot of time.
7 Tips to Create and Achieve SMART Goals
Keep these tips in mind as you prepare to create SMART goals and actually achieve them.
1. Believe in yourself
Yep, you’ll need to put your heart, time, and mind into your goal, but make sure you also put your faith into things.
By trusting yourself and having confidence in your abilities, you’ll be able to dive headfirst into the process and as a result, turn your thoughts into reality.
2. Write it down
There’s something about writing things down that makes things a lot more concrete, so make sure you write down your goals and use that as inspiration to keep going.
Remember: Be specific here. While you can create a list of broad goals, make sure you also break it down into small, achievable steps to take in order to get to the bigger picture.
3. Create a vision board
Picture your ideal life and create a vision board with photos/cutouts, quotes, and imagery that represents the way you’d like to be living in X amount of years. Think to yourself: How will my current goals affect the way my life will look then?
Much like writing down your goals, a vision board serves as daily inspiration to stay on track and keep working towards your dreams.
Moreover, taking the time to create a vision board will help you put things into perspective and make you realize whether your current goals will aid your long-term vision and adjust things if needed.
4. Trust the process & be consistent
As much as we’d like things to go to the T, life doesn’t always go to plan and things are bound to get tough at some point or another. Remember: this is normal and getting sidetracked by events and life is absolutely expected at one point or the other.
Trust the process and adjust your goal as needed in order to stay on track when things aren’t going exactly the way you’d like them to.
Being consistent with your efforts is key to accomplishing your goals. While some days or weeks may go off track, remind yourself of what you’re working toward and get back to it as soon as you’re able.
5. Assess your progress regularly
Be it by keeping a list or a planner you can check regularly, make sure you have a way to keep track of your progress on a regular basis.
Not only will this help keep you on track, but achieving something, no matter how small, will ultimately inspire you to tackle the next task.
Revisit and reassess your progress regularly.
6. Find balance
This may sound counterproductive, but while working on your goals is extremely important in order to achieve them, it’s also important not to get obsessed to the point where you neglect other areas of your life.
When planning your goals and the timeline, make sure you count in time to rest, socialize, and do other things that matter to you.
If you wind up spending all your time working towards your goals and forget about the rest, you’ll end up burning yourself out. Make sure you make time for friends, self-care, and activities that have nothing to do with your goal.
All of this will ultimately keep your life balanced and, as a result, prep you up to give things your best when it’s time to focus on your goal-chasing.
7. Create accountability
To help you create SMART goals and actually achieve them, find accountability partners who will regularly check in with you on your progress.
While some people are self-driven and don’t require outside encouragement, the majority of people will benefit from having an accountability partner.
Having an expected time that you know someone will be asking about your progress can be very motivating in helping you to achieve your goals.
Ready to create SMART goals and actually achieve them?
Now that you know how to create SMART goals are and actually achieve them, it’s time to start goal-setting! Whether it’s goals for your business or your personal life, taking the time to create them will ultimately give you the inspiration you need to actually chase them!
What are some SMART goals you’ve come up with? I’d love to know all about them, so make sure you drop a few of them in the comments section below (and as an extra tip: talking about your goals will give you an added push, so make sure you tell your loved ones all about them).
Sign up on the form below to get weekly tips on living simply and intentionally sent straight to your inbox. You’ll also get the free SMART Goals Worksheet to help you plan out your goals today!