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How to Write Life Goals

Updated on December 27, 2012
Sunset Football: Making a Goal
Sunset Football: Making a Goal | Source

Writing Personal and Measurable Goals

From the time we were all in school, we have been taught the importance of setting goals, working toward them, and the great feeling that comes when you actually achieve them. There is always something someone wants to work towards to better themselves, whether it is a new promotion or better health. The best way to get on the right track to reaching whatever goal you want to set for yourself is to put it on paper in a way that will ensure success.

Learning how to write goals is one great step toward actually achieving them. Yes, it may seem like goals are the easiest thing in the world as you sit there thinking of all those life goals you would love to achieve, but, they are a little more than just writing down "I want to lose weight" or "read more" on a post-it note you stick to your bathroom mirror. When goals are specific and measurable, they are much more likely to be reached. Therefore, if you are looking at setting goals that aim to change your life for the better, start with learning how to set them in stone so that you can really get on the right track.

It may seem surprising for some people but writing goals can require a draft or two before they are really ready. The first step in writing a goal is to start very broad and then work toward something more specific. When you decide to finally write down a life goal or two, first think of what you want. For example, if you want to lose weight, decide on how much weight and write that down. Let say you want to lose 30 pounds. You may start with the simple sentence "I want to lose 30 pounds." As you work through the steps listed below, you will be able to expand that goal into terms that lay out exactly how, why, and when you will achieve this.

What to Avoid When Making Life Goals

What are S.M.A.A.R.T. Goals?

Some "Smart" Goals come with an extra A in the middle. This "A" stands for "active voice," meaning that your goals should be written in an active voice rather than passive.

S.M.A.R.T. Goals

Writing S.M.A.R.T Goals is easy, as long as you follow a few basic steps. All you have to do is understand what each of those letters stand for and you are on your way.

"S" = Specific: One of the most important aspects of a goal is that it should be specific. Why? Well, the broader the goal is, the easier it is to cut corners or lose track of where you want to be. Just try and think of what you want to accomplish, as well as how and why you are making this goal.

"M" = Measurable: The best way to keep to your goals is to make one with which you can actually see and measure your progress. For example, if you know you want to lose a certain amount of weight, knowing your weekly goals and seeing yourself achieve them can help keep you focused on your long term goal. Remember, you want to have at least two indicators of how your goals will be measured.

"A" = Achievable: This can be the most difficult part of the goal-writing process because you want to create something that you can actually achieve but with enough challenge that you won't feel too overwhelmed. You especially don't want goals that are too easy or else they really aren't worth making at all. Try to find a balance by recognizing your own skills and abilities or even looking to others who have already achieved a similar goal.

"R" = Results-Focused: When you are making your goal, you want to remember and recognize what you get out of it. Why did you decide to make this particular goal? What is its purpose or benefit? When you have this in mind, it can be easier to keep your focus as you work towards success.

"T" = Time-Bound: One challenge for yourself in setting your goal is giving yourself a time frame in which you expect yourself to achieve it. This once more helps keep yourself focused on the goal by creating a sense of urgency. Make sure to set a practical amount of time for your goal to be reached by recognizing your own abilities and availability to work towards it.

Using this S.M.A.R.T. Goals technique for writing goals means that your goals are going to be much longer than just one sentence. At the very least, I would give a sentence per letter listed above, so five sentences total. The easiest way to start a rough draft is to write down each letter beginning with "S" for "Specific" all the way to "T" for "Time-Bound" along the left side of a piece of paper and then creating a sentence next to each letter that fits the category.

There is no set amount of time to do it or certain form you must use in order to write out the best goals. Whether it is an email you send yourself, a Word document you save on your computer, or a piece of paper you have framed in your office, as long as you get those goals down somewhere, you are definitely on the right track to reaching them. Good luck!

© 2012 Lisa


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    • Lipnancy profile image

      Nancy Yager 5 years ago from Hamburg, New York

      And then you can break down all your goals into tasks for a daily schedule. Google has a great calendar tool for this.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Good tips Lisa! This is a never-ending process as we go through life, and I'm all about setting goals to keep myself focused.