How to Set and Reach Goals

Before we talk about which goals to set, let’s cover how to set solid goals you’ll actually accomplish. That’s right, we’re putting work boots on our dreams! With these five steps, you can do just that: 

1. Write them down.

Something magical happens when you put your goals on paper. It creates some accountability. And it’s the first step toward making the goal happen.

Let’s be honest here: The paper isn’t magic. The pen isn’t magic. But you and your hard work are.

So, go ahead—make the commitment to yourself by putting your goals in writing. Then, stick them on your desk, in your car, or on your bathroom mirror. Type them in the Notes app on your phone, take a screenshot, and put it as your wallpaper so you see it all the time!

Keeping a visual reminder of your goals nearby will keep you focused.

2. Make them specific.

Don’t just say, “I want to be better with money” or “I want to get fit.” Those are too vague to be goals. What’s the exact outcome you want?

Let’s look at some examples of how to get specific with your goals. Instead of saying “I want to be better with money,” what if you decide to pay off your debt? That’s one area of money to focus on.

Instead of saying, “I want to get fit,” say, “I want to start running.”

The next two steps help you break things down even more.

3. Make them measurable.

Okay, so you know you want to pay off debt. Now it’s time to pick an amount—something you can measure to know if you hit the goal or not. You look at your budget and your debt and decide you want to pay off $15,000. That’s a measurable goal!

Measurable doesn’t have to be numbers, though. With that running goal we mentioned, your measure of success could be to train for and run a race! Then you can come up with a training program to get you prepped and ready to reach that bigger goal.

4. Give yourself a deadline.

If you don’t have a deadline, you’re just working toward “someday.” And guess what? Someday won’t cut it. It’s too easy for someday to fall off your radar.

You need to give yourself a deadline and make it reasonable—but also challenging.

Let’s look at our examples again. When do you want to hit your debt payoff goal? If you want to pay off $15,000 in one year, you’ll need to pay $1,250 a month on your debt to do it. Is that possible but also a bit of a stretch? Good! 

Now, about that 5K. Find a 5K to sign up for, and then . . . go do it! As you work toward your race date, just follow your training program to start running, bit by bit, day by day, to build up your stamina until you can run a full five kilometers.

Breaking your goals into bite-sized chunks keeps you motivated. Every time you cross a tiny part of the goal off your list, you’ll have the momentum to keep going until you reach the end!

5. Make sure they’re your own goals.

It’s easy to look around at what other people are doing and feel like you should be doing it too. But when we start comparing ourselves to other people, we’re playing a game we’ll never win.

When you set goals, make sure they’re the best choice for you. In other words, just because all your friends are taking out second mortgages for renovated kitchens doesn’t mean you should. (P.S. You definitely shouldn’t take on debt for that reno.)

Just because they’re aiming to become the next CEO at work doesn’t mean that’s the best career path for you.

And just because they want to read one book a week doesn’t mean that’s something that works with your schedule, your family and your other life goals!

Put the blinders on, focus on your lane, and cross your own finish line. When you follow the tips and teachings in this guide, you can set—and reach—your goals!

And remember—you’ve got what it takes to make your goals a reality. Will it be work? Yes. Will it be worth it? Absolutely!