Taking action instead of waiting for life to change was undoubtedly one of my biggest learnings over the past years. Taking action strengthens your belief that your goals and dreams are achievable. And this activates the law of attraction. As a result, you move faster and faster toward your goal, and your goal starts moving faster and faster toward you. And ultimately, you can create a life you truly want to live.
But how do you actually know what to do?
There are proven practices on how to set and achieve goals. I stripped them down to 5 steps and created a workbook that guides you through.
Workbook: Goal-Setting in 5 Steps
Set *and* achieve your goals to create a life you truly want to live.
5 Steps to Set *and* Achieve Challenging Goals
- REFLECT where you’re now.
- IMAGINE where you want to be.
- FIND the reason why.
- SET smart sub-goals.
- START taking action.
Step 1: REFLECT Where You’re Now
From my experience, trying to reach a challenging goal before you’ve reflected on where you’re now and where you’ve come from will not get you very far. We often struggle because we don’t take intentional time to reassess what worked well and made us happy and what didn’t.
An excellent tool to reflect where you’re now and get an idea of where you want to be is the START/STOP/CONTINUE Method:
- START = New things to begin or to integrate
- STOP = Things to get rid of or discontinue
- CONTINUE = Anything you want to keep or maintain
Download your copy of the printable workbook and use the START/STOP/CONTINUE worksheet. Print more copies if you want to reflect on different areas of life (e.g., relationships, friends and family, (home) organization, money/finances, business/career, health, personal development).
Step 2: Imagine Where You Want to Be
To successfully set and achieve a challenging goal, you have to identify it. Envision your destination. What do you hope to gain when you reach your goal? What will change? How will it make you feel? Answer these questions and describe your destination as if you were already there.
It’s essential to achieve a high degree of detail when visualizing your goal.
If you find it hard to imagine your destination, seek some inspiration. Just make sure you capture your findings, thoughts, and emotions to refer to them later.
The workbook comes with a page for your notes. Or, paint a picture, collect magazine clippings, create one or more Pinterest boards, whatever you like. But do it before you proceed to the next step.
Step 3: Find the Reason Why
In step 2, you’ve created an image of what you want to achieve. The next step is to discover why you want to achieve it.
There must have been a reason why you’ve picked this specific goal. Take a look at your notes, inspirations, and visualizations you’ve created in step 2. Think again. Go over every detail and ask yourself why you want to achieve this specific goal.
To go down to the roots and discover your ‘reason why’ will take some time. Well invested time, though. Your ‘why’ is what keeps you motivated. When you love your reason, you’ll be far more committed to pursuing your goal.
Capture your ‘reason why’ in your workbook. Be it one word or a few sentences – it’s up to you. But write it down, because only in black and white will it do its magic.
Step 4: Set SMART Sub-Goals
Steps 2 and 3 helped you gain clarity about what you want to achieve and why. However, you also need a clear idea of how to create the results you want. That’s why the next step is setting yourself sub-goals.
SMART is a well-established way to plan and track goals. There are several interpretations of the acronym’s meaning, a common one is:
S = Specific M = Measurable A = Achievable R = Relevant T = Timed
Ask yourself what you want to achieve (S) and how you will know when you’ve reached your goal (M). Moreover, is it doable (A), how meaningful is the (sub-) goal to you (R), and lastly, when do you intend to reach your chosen endpoint (T).
You’ll find a worksheet that helps you list your SMART goals in the workbook. Print more copies if the number of SMART sub-goals exceeds the space provided.
Step 5: Start Taking Action
Now that you have your SMART sub-goals identified, it’s time to make a list of everything you have to do to achieve them. As you think of new items, add them to your list. Repeat until you’ll have a list of action steps for all of your sub-goals.
Use the worksheet that comes with the workbook if you like.
Then, organize your list of action steps into a plan. A plan is a list of activities organized based on two factors, priority and sequence.
In organizing by priorities, you determine the most important things you can do to achieve your goal. The 80/20 rule applies here. 20 percent of the things you do will account for 80 percent of your results.
In organizing by sequence, you determine what must be done before something else can be done. You can either create a checklist or schedule todos in your calendar.
Once you’ve determined your goals and developed your plan, take action. Don’t wait until tomorrow.
Do the first thing that comes to your mind, and do it immediately.
Set *and* Achieve Goals: How to Stay Committed
You’ve reflected on where you’ve come from, imagined where you want to be, found your reason why, and planned your action steps based on SMART sub-goals. Now, you only need to stay on track.
Easier said than done, I know.
And this how I stay committed to my goals. I do at least one thing that moves me toward my most important sub-goal daily. I just make it a habit. Thus, my recommendation is, get up early, plan your day, and check-off something from your list. That’s exactly how I made major changes in my life happen.
Daily action strengthens your belief that your goal is achievable. And this activates the law of attraction. As a result, you move faster and faster toward your goal, and your goal starts moving faster and faster toward you.
And there you have it. These are the 5 steps you have to take to set yourself challenging goals – and achieve them. Now it’s your turn!
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I’d love to hear about your dreams, your goals – and how you’ve achieved them – in the comments below!