Top 3 Ways to Set Goals So You Can Achieve Them and They Have an Impact

The New Year is right around the corner, which means it's time to start planning for 2022. 


Because planning your year in advance is key to reaching your goals. 

So what’s the best way to set and reach your goals? 

Well, since what works for one person may not always work best for others… 

We’re sharing three of the most popular goal-setting techniques you can try out for yourself. 

Let’s dive in… 

Goal-Setting Technique #1 - SMART Goals

The SMART acronym was created to help you focus your efforts when setting goals. It stands for specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and time-bound. These goals help you focus your efforts, here’s how you can utilize them:


When you are setting a goal, make sure it is clear and specific. For example, one specific goal you have for the New Year could be to get in shape, but a specific goal would be to do 25 squats in 1 minute. A specific goal makes it clear when you have achieved it or not otherwise you can keep working towards something you don’t have a clear idea of when you’ve achieved it…this leads us to the next part.


In order to keep you motivated about working towards your goal, it’s best to create a goal that’s measurable. For instance, if it’s your goal to work more efficiently, then you can measure your current efficiency to understand if you’re getting more efficient over time. Time how quickly you accomplish a specific task. Such as email, time how long you spend replying to emails, or “hopping into an email real quick” and then be able to measure if you speed up your email time.


Make your goal a tangible one. It's important that you are able to measure success and see how close or far away from achieving this particular objective is, so don't try for something too difficult if it doesn’t seem possible in the near future! 


To make sure that you can actually meet your goal, make sure you choose a goal that’s realistic. For example, if you want to get in better shape, it may be unrealistic to do 100 sit-ups in one minute if you can’t even do 30 sit-ups in one minute right now. 


“A goal without a date is just a dream.” - Milton H. Erickson. Enough said. Having a clear date associated with your goal increases your chances of succeeding! For example, if it’s your goal to read 10 books, you’re more likely to succeed if you give yourself a timeframe. 

Sometimes people turn their SMART into SMARTER goals. If you choose to make a SMARTER goal, you'll also need to Evaluate and Readjust:
  • Evaluate: Choose a regular time (it could be daily, weekly, monthly, or quarterly) to check on your goal's progress. For example, if you’re working on a year-long project at work, then checking on progress every two weeks can help ensure you achieve your goal (and that it stays top of mind).
  • Readjust: Not all plans work out, so don’t be afraid to adjust things as you go along. If you get assignments that require you to work on weekends and you like to spend your weekends with your family, then factor in extra time during the week to get the projects done.  

Goal-Setting Technique #2- HARD goals

The second goal-setting technique you can utilize is HARD goals. HARD stands for heartfelt, animated, required, and difficult. Here’s how it breaks down: 


If you want to reach your goal, feel the emotion behind it. For instance, if your goal is to make more money in the New Year, feel the pride of being able to pay off credit cards or loans. Why? It will help motivate you to reach your goals. 


A key way to reach your goal is to visualize yourself achieving your goal. And the more you can use every sense in your visualization, the more likely you’ll be able to reach it.  For instance, imagine yourself standing in front of a crowd at the seminar you want to speak at. What do you see, feel, hear, smell, and taste? 


Whenever possible, link your goal to something that's required for you to complete. If you want to do more public speaking, volunteer to present something for work. This will force you to get more experience speaking in front of others. 


Yes, you want a realistic goal, but you don’t have to be afraid to set a challenging goal either. We all have no idea what we can truly accomplish, so set a challenging goal (say, running a mile in 8 minutes) and you never know… you may reach it! 

Goal-Setting Technique #3 - WOOP goals

WOOP goals are used to help people stop a habit that no longer serves them. It stands for wish, outcome, obstacle, and plan. The steps include:


Wish for something that makes you feel excited. (Let’s say getting a bonus at work and rewarding yourself with a week-long vacation to Aruba.) Why? Because when you attach a positive feeling to a goal, you’ll be more likely to reach it. 


Imagine the best possible outcome for your goal… (If we’re using the previous example, you get your bonus and go to Aruba on vacation for a week.) Now think about how you would feel if this happened and visualize it in as much detail as possible. 


As much as focusing on the negative stinks, consider what might prevent you or even slow you down from hitting your goal. For example, if you’re going to get your bonus, maybe you need to learn how to speed up your workflow, but you’re a slow typer. This may be an obstacle in reaching your goal. 


Once you understand your potential obstacles, you can look for solutions. For example, if you have a slow typing speed, you may use software or websites designed to improve your typing speed or use a voice dictation service to increase your work speed. With the WOOP method in place, you’ll be sitting on the beach in Aruba in no time! 

BONUS Goal-Setting Technique - OKR goals

OKR stands for objectives and key results. OKR Goals are helpful for groups of people who are working together to reach a goal. To set an OKR goal, choose a goal that you want to achieve; maybe it’s getting 1,000 new customers in 3 months. After you set the objective, then you must identify the steps that can help you achieve the goal. And as you work toward your goal, you may need to assess and reevaluate your smaller goals along the way. 

Are you ready to set goals for 2022?

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