5 Tips For Effective Goal Setting

Over the last couple of day’s I have heard many people talk about New Year’s Resolutions and what changes they would like to bring to their lives. How often have you set a New Year’s Resolution only to fail it in the middle of the year?

It is easy to wake up one morning and say  “from today onwards I will…” but actually following through with it is a different story, One day you may wake up and decide to eat healthier or you may decide on a career change  looking over the online MBA rankings for a new degree and then forget about it the next day. Setting effective goals is not always. Setting effective goals is not always an easy task, however some of the following tips can help you with this.

1. Attainable
You can set any goal you want to, for example “make a million dollars this year,” but how realistic is it? Unless you have invented something or are making close to a million there really is not a realistic chance of making $1Million this year.  Set realistic and attainable goals, ambition is great but you need to keep things in perspective.

2. Measurable
How much progress have you made? Do you need to make any adjustments? Goals need to be measureable in order to monitor the progress and make adjustments as needed. If your goal is to increase your net worth you can easily track it on monthly bases, but if your goal is to “become a better person” it will be a little harder to track.

3. Specific“Become rich” can be a goal, but what do you mean by it? “Accumulate $1million in 10 years, excluding principle residence” is a specific goal which can be measured over time. If your goal is vague you can easily loose sight of it and miss your them, the more specific you are the easier it will become to reach it.

4. Write It Down
Write down your goal! Studies have shown that those who write down their goals are significantly more likely to reach their goals compared to those who don’t. Writing down your goal makes it more real and increases your commitment level, which significantly increases your chances of reaching your goals.

5. Make It Public
Many finance bloggers have made their goals public through their blogs and share their progress on regular bases with their readers. Studies confirm that making goals public significantly improves attaining those goals. Similar to writing your goals down, this increases the commitment level. You do not need to send a press release to make your goals public, simply share your goals with your family and friends. You can also share your goals Financial Highway and report your progress, just leave it in the comments section.

How do you ensure you can reach your goals?

9 Responses to 5 Tips For Effective Goal Setting

  1. I’m having problem with making it public. Perhaps I am afraid I would fail. But I still did try this strategy lately, and now I’m doing my best to live up to it. Despite my present difficulty, I know I will succeed. 🙂

  2. Meaningful. The goal must be meaningful to you. Often times people who fail at obtaining their goals were pursuing goals that were not meaningful to them. Maybe they read a blog and thought, “yeah, that’s a great goal” and then hoisted it upon themselves when the goal itself didn’t have true personal meaning. When establishing your goal, be very sure that it means something personal to you. If you don’t have a true personal interest in it, then you won’t have the internal fortitude necessary to stick it out.

    Piece. The goal must be a piece in a larger puzzle or plan. When specific tactical goals are being pursued, knowing how it fits in a larger plan is critical. When you see clearly how a specific goal impacts the bigger picture, the specific goals importance becomes obvious and this will help you stick to its completion. Further, it allows you to telescope the magnitude of the goal based on the mindset you have at a given moment. As an example, we had a family goal of acquiring $100,000 in 12 months. That is a big goal, but it was only part of a larger plan …. our plan to sail around the world as a family. The bigger goal, and the impact on our lives of sailing around the world over 3+ years, is huge compared to putting away $100,000, making the $100,000 goal small.

    Granularity. The granularity of the goal must be set right for you. Some people like to tick off boxes with frequency. If so, set the granularity of your goal so that each day, or week, or month, you can check the box off indicating that you have completed your goal. Know your patience level, and set your goal size accordingly.

  3. SMART goals are definitely the first step. You then need to track your progress and share this with friends to get further encouragement!

  4. Do I really need to make it public…it got me thinking but then it’s a way to motivate to realizing your goals. Well, as everyone says create a SMART goal, making it public is new to me but then I think it make sense.

  5. I definately have trouble with #1. My goals are always 10x as big as they should be. But that isn’t really a bad thing, it does help me grow faster then if I would have just settled for what was realistic.

    I may not reach an unrealistic goal, but that does not stop me from trying.

  6. I have found that making smaller “mini-goals” for each goal makes attaining them much easier.

    For instance, if I have to clean the house, I make mini-goals of “clean bathroom”, “sweep porch”, etc.

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