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Goal Setting: Where to Start

Goal Setting: Where to Start

Setting goals is one thing. Achieving them is another. Most people set goals throughout the day, either consciously or unconsciously. These can be concrete and achievable goals such as "finish this project before our 10 a.m. meeting," or more abstract like "don’t worry so much.”

But what sets concrete goals apart from abstract goals? In many cases, it isn’t the goals themselves. It’s the approach you take to defining, measuring, and achieving them. You are more likely to achieve success by setting measurable goals and developing a plan. Read on for five tips that will help you become a goal-setting (and achieving!) expert.

Choose goals that excite you

While it may seem obvious, when you’re weighing options and thinking about your goals, you should always prioritize the ones that excite you the most.

Ask yourself: What is most important to you? What makes you happy? What activities make you feel like you’re making a difference with your time? A goal that does not align with your values or interests may be more difficult to achieve. When you’re setting goals, ensure that each one aligns with what most motivates you.

Write down goals in your planner or Day-Timer® refill

Once you’ve chosen your goals, commit to writing them down on paper. This can help move you closer to making them a reality. With the help of Day-Timer planners, calendars and organizers, you can choose top goals to focus on each week, month, and year. Write them down to track your progress over time and calculate how long each step takes you.

Keeping track of your goals on paper not only makes the process more organized but it also increases the likelihood that you will complete each goal. Plus, you may find that seeing your progress keeps you motivated!

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Draft SMART goals to stay organized

The SMART acronym helps you write more precise goals that are contextualized and reasonable. Choose goals for yourself that are:

  1. Specific: Include as many details as possible (who, what, when, how, etc.) so your goal isn’t vague. Specific goals are less daunting and provide more direction.
  2. Measurable: Figure out how you’ll track your progress and measure your results so you’ll know how much time you should dedicate per day to accomplish your goal.
  3. Achievable: Develop reasonable goals that you can accomplish with your current resources and skills.
  4. Relevant: Create goals that truly matter to you. Ask yourself: how does this goal line up with your passions, and how will it make you happier?
  5. Time-Bound: Select a hard deadline for all your goals so you can stick to a timeline and help discourage procrastination.

Create an action plan and write it in your planner, calendar or organizer

Once you’ve followed the SMART format, you can now create realistic goals that you’re invested in. Create a step-by-step guide that outlines how you will accomplish your goals, so you don’t get lost in uncertainty or details.

You can break down larger goals into smaller ones, create to-do lists, and choose minor tasks to tackle each day so you’re continually making progress.

Set milestones and reward yourself

Set small milestones for yourself and give yourself a reward as you hit deadlines and make progress. Seeing your progress on paper can be a reward on its own but treating yourself or giving yourself a break every so often can also help you stay motivated and committed.

Turn your Day-Timer planner into something much more vital and rewarding than a simple schedule. With these five tips, you can make your Day-Timer planner into a roadmap to achieving your goals.

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