How to set goals you will actually achieve


How to set goals you will actually achieve


You’re enthusiastic, you want to make things happen.

The big temptation with goals is to ‘get on with them’.

“A goal without a plan is just a wish.” ~ Antoine de Saint-Exupery

For a goal to be achieved, the pre-requisite step towards achievement is a drive, a willingness, an inner force that gives you the strength to move towards your new direction.

But that’s not all. You need details, specifics. Very much like when you get ready for a road trip, you don’t just jump in the car and drive. You’d probably need a few more things to get you there safely such as petrol, a navigation system, etc.

When it comes to goals, you need to know exactly what your goal entails. You need to think about as much details and specifics as possible. Once that is all clarified, then, you need an action plan.

Looking at goals in a SMART way has become mainstream, and there’s a reason for that: it works. It really forces you to be clear on what you want, to think about the details beforehand. The clearer you are, the more empowered you will be.

This may seem counter-intuitive but the first step of goal-setting is to take a step back and to reflect. Later on, this will ensure your efforts are focused.

S for Specific

You want to write down as much details as possible about your goal and what it truly means for you.

Let’s take an example and work through it together.

For example, if your goal is to secure a higher-paying job, you want to map out all the specifics.

What is important to me about my goal?

What elements are a full-on requisite? (i.e no compromise possible)

How does this new position look like? be as specific as possible. Think about it holistically e.g. industry, team function, work environment, location, etc.

M for Measurable

Once I have achieved my goal, how does it look like?

Once I have achieved my goal, how does it feel like?

Once I have achieved my goal, where am I?

How will I know I have achieved my goal?

Here, what you are after are your own KPIs.

A for Achievable and R for Realistic

Your goal needs to be realistic and attainable to be successful. In other words, it should stretch your abilities but still remain possible.

How can I accomplish this goal? What other resources do I need?

How achievable and realistic is my goal, based on other constraints, such as family or finances?

T for Time-bound

Every goal needs a timeframe, so that you have a deadline to focus on and something to work toward. This is very important because you want to remain focused and organise your efforts.

When do I want to achieve my goal by? (again, check that it is realistic).

Once your goal is SMART, then you’re ready to create an action plan!