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Practical Ways to Set and Achieve Goals

Updated on January 1, 2012

Once again, I found another great topic to write about courtesy of the Weekly Inspiration Forum! I couldn't resist this topic about achieving and setting goals. Let's face it we have all started the New Year with lists of goals, some of which rival Santa's Naughty or Nice list for length. To only end up not accomplish anything on your list by the end of the year. This plight can often lead to a less than healthy opinion on one's life and place in it.

Since this has happened to me more times than I can count, in recent years I started a new approach to the whole goal setting game. I have found when I proclaim my goal to loose 30 pounds, solve world hunger, become Martha Stewart, and write a book that will shoot me straight to the top of the NY Times Best Seller's list 24 hours after it is released all on New Year's Eve. Surprise! None of these goals ever happen. I would often found myself in a very disillusioned and jaded state. Which, to my surprise, most of the people in my immediate circle don't find very charming.

Therefore, my first tip in setting practical goals is not to get caught up in all the goal proclaiming of the New Year. At this time of year, majority of people are or have been in a emotional frenzy since Halloween. If you have ever listened to Dr. Phil or read any self-help book the worse time to make any type of life altering changes is when in a state of stress. Let's face it, after Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas we are all probably a little bit stressed and full of I will nevers.......this is not the time to set any goals. That being said, the great thing about setting goals is that you can do it whenever you want. The goals, that aren't set when in a frenzy, are the most often the ones that you do accomplish.

My Second Rule for Practical Goal Setting is to set reasonable and rational goals. In other, words shoot low and surprise yourself by doing better than expected. For example, I don't know how many times I have said that by the end of the New Year I am going to look like Heather Locklear only to find myself on December 31st fifteen pounds heavier and six new gray hairs. This is so incredibly depressing. So, I have found that if I set a modest goal such as loosing 10 pounds for the year and I loose sixteen pounds by June I feel victorious. Not only have I achieved my goal but I surpassed it. Bonus for me! This, only encourages you to set a new goal.

My Third Rule of thumb: is goal achieving is like watching grains of sand fall in an hour glass. One grain of sand doesn't look like much but a million grains make a beach. Every little step you take towards your goal is a like a grain of sand. For example, I have someone very close to me who wants to meet a nice man, get married and have a family of her own. However, through various tragedies and circumstances beyond her control she hasn't achieved this goal as of yet. But, every time she goes out to a movie with a friend, or church mixer she is adding a grain of sand to her beach. When trying to reach your goal no matter how insignificant the action may seem you are one step closer to your ultimate end. Don't dismiss the small steps you make need to take in accomplishing your ultimate goal.

However, when setting goals that you want to actually make into a reality, you sometimes need to recognize that you need help. Particularly, if your goal is to beat addiction. If you have a substance abuse issue, depression, or any other serious issue you want to conquer you need to sometimes the problem is bigger than you and help is necessary.

Finally, my fifth and final tip is that you don't always have to proclaim a goal to everyone. Sometimes, the biggest changes come in life by being quiet and retrospective. In my ever humble opinion, some of the best things happen within not on the outside of a person. So have faith, trust in yourself, and take your time and your New Year wishes and goals will come to fruition.


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    • Kidgas profile image

      Kidgas 6 years ago from Indianapolis

      I like to set goals using the SMART method. It has to be specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and timely. I think this forces you to make a plan to achieve the goal at the same time you are making the goal which increases the odds of success.