Setting Achievable Goals

How many goals have you set in your life that you’ve not followed through on?  Quite often this is because we don’t set goals correctly, or we get goals and states (feelings) mixed up, e.g my goal is to feel happy.  Feeling happy is simply that, a feeling and we can have it any time we desire. However, our goal may be to have a job that we find fulfilling (and therefore makes us happy).

Make your goals SMART+ (or extra smart J ) So, let’s look at how we can help ourselves to set achievable goals…

Be specific

Acknowledge what we specifically want.  There is no point in having a goal that is ‘fluffy’ a fluffy goal is no goal at all.  There’s a world of difference between –

I’m going to bake a cake for my Mum’s birthday


On the 13th July, I will make a chocolate cake for my Mum’s birthday.  The round cake will be iced in chocolate icing and will use the chocolate fudge cake recipe.  I’ll carry out two trial runs in June using the exact ingredients and equipment. 

Be positive

We need to state our specific goal in the positive (it’s very easy to say what we don’t want but a bit trickier to define exactly what we do want).  E.g. I don’t want to eat a rubbish shop bought cake at Mum’s next birthday vs I’m going to make a chocolate fudge cake for Mum’s next birthday.  The first statement gives us too many options of what to do instead, e.g buy form a different place, don’t have one at all or make one.  The second statement is very clear about what we plan to do.

Keep it simple

We need to make sure it’s simple – this may mean breaking down our goal into more manageable chunks. For my first attempt I’m not going to make a 3-tiered cake, I’m going to achieve one simple chocolate fudge cake.

Know when we’ve done it

It needs to be measurable – this means knowing exactly how we will know when we have completed it.  I’ve met many people who have achieved goals in their life but don’t realise they have as they didn’t state a specific end point.  They’re constantly searching to do more or be better and always feel disappointed in their achievements.  So, in our example, I know exactly when I have finished my goal because I’ve described the result exactly as I see it.

Make it mean something

It also needs to be meaningful to us – often we set goals that mean something to others.  If we don’t put ourselves front and centre of our goal, then we think about our goals in terms of other people and responsibility tends to drift away.  In my example, I am making the cake because I want mum to have a nice one at her next birthday… this means something to me.

Is it possible?

We need to make sure it’s possible (in some form) – I find it helpful to think of other people who have done the same goal and to think of other goals I have achieved similar to this one.  A combination of these two things helps me confirm I can achieve it. 

Act as though we can do it (even if we can’t yet)

Have you ever heard the term ‘fake it until you make it’?  In the context of our goal setting, we can help ourselves get started by ‘acting as if’, this means act as though we’re doing it already or at least on our way.   Before I start baking, I’m going to put myself in the mindset of someone who is highly skilled in that area and channel their brilliance.

Take responsibility

We need to be 100% responsible for our goal.  If we don’t take 100% responsibility for it, then some of the goal will always be floating around outside of your control.  This doesn’t mean you can’t ask for support (see below) you just need to keep an eye on the support you’re getting to make sure you still have overall responsibility.   If I need help from someone, I will be very specific about the help I need and keep checking in to make sure they can complete their side of the task.

Gather our resources

We need to identify the resources we need to achieve our goal – when we talk about resources, we’re not just talking about the tools we may need to complete the job we’re also talking about support from others or training we may need.  Who else can help us?  Earlier we identified people who have already achieved our goal or at least something similar.  This may be a chance to call on them to provide support or you could identify how they achieved their goal and model their success.

Have an end point

When we set our goal, we need to ensure we set a date/time for completion – this is one of the most popular reasons for people not completing their goals – they don’t set a time limit therefore their goal is always ‘in progress’.  In my example, I have a specific date to complete my goal, as Mum’s birthday is a hard deadline, this was quite an easy one to set.  However, when I define my goal I will need to make sure I’m very specific about my practice dates, otherwise I could end up not getting time to practice before the big day. 

If you or your team need additional help with goal setting, please contact us.