6 Ingredients For Effective Goal Setting

Setting clear goals illuminates what it is that you want to achieve, boosts your motivation and encourages you to keep focusing on a positive future. Combine the following methods to maximize your chance of choosing and achieving goals that lead you to a better life.

1) Be Specific

People who set specific goals are more likely to succeed. So instead of nebulously vowing to improve your health this year, set goals that define what ‘healthy' involves. For example, you might decide to run three times a week, lose two stone, or keep your daily salt consumption within a particular limit. It is much easier to measure success and setbacks on the path to clearly defined goals.

2) Boost Your Focus

Set up your environment so that you are constantly reminded of your goals and your ability to achieve them. For example, if you are working towards a promotion you might put a note on the front door telling yourself that you will do a great job at work and can deal with any challenge that comes your way. Similarly, a visible list of your favorite personal qualities can help you in a quest to improve your confidence.

3) Use Deadlines Wisely

Part of effectively setting goals involves putting realistic but challenging timeframes in place. For example, your resolve may wane after a short amount of time if you decide that you will have acquired a complicated new skill in just three weeks, as the futility of this goal will quickly become clear. On the other hand, setting an easy goal with a far-off deadline is unlikely to transform your life. You might find it helpful to break your main goal into smaller goals that have regular deadlines. The trick is to create a legitimate challenge without setting yourself up for an obvious fall.

4) Make Yourself Accountable

Make sure there is someone who can help you judge your progress and help get you back on track if your motivation dips. Obtaining accountability might involve asking for a sibling's help, joining a club that focuses on the same goal, or enlisting a professional (such as a therapist, life coach or personal trainer). You are less likely to waver in your resolve if you need to answer to someone if you don't take the necessary steps.

5) Picture Success

Stay positive; don't let yourself obsess over the possibility of failure. In fact, avoid imagining failure altogether. Instead, build up a vivid and realistic picture of yourself reaching your goals, and imagine enjoying all of the rewards that come with that success. Make a ritual of contemplating this picture every night before bed, and remind yourself that you will succeed. These visualizations can be incredibly powerful, and they will help to keep you feeling energized as you rise to the challenge each day.

6) Start As Soon As Possible

Finally, it's all too easy to decide you'll start eating healthy foods tomorrow or devote more time to your hobbies once this month's work project is over. Don't bargain with yourself; start working to meet your goal today.

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