This article has all the goal setting tips you need to make your plans happen! So if you’ve never set goals before, learn how to do it with these simple strategies.
Goal setting is something I find super exciting, especially when the new year is basically banging at the door. Today I want to share some tips on how to best set goals and how to plan for those goals to happen.
Because you don’t want to write down those goals to forget about them in 2 days. You want to make a plan and take action. But I’m getting ahead of myself!
Below I’ll share some simple strategies that actually work when it comes to planning and setting goals, whether you’re using worksheets, a goal planner or just a pen and paper.
How Setting Goals Has Helped Me
5-6 years ago I was one of those people who never had set goals for anything. In fact, I had never, ever heard of goals before. Well, I guess that’s around the time when most of the personal development content basically made BAM and brainwashed us into delusion. Not a huge fan of personal development to be honest with you…but I still do love setting goals for the year.
And these tips do work, because here I am, achieving many of the things I once wished to accomplish.
For example in 2019 one of my biggest goals was to start this blog, grow its traffic and hopefully start making some additional income from it. I didn’t have much experience and didn’t expect the workload that came with creating and growing a blog. At times, I had my doubts about it, because it’s a very saturated corner. But it worked out, I’m so grateful to say that I stuck with it and actually achieved that goal and it feels so good.
And now that I’m updating this content 3+ years after starting the blog, I’m so thankful that I put in the effort. It brings me so much joy, it’s creative and it’s become a source of income for my family. So investing into your goals and continuing to trust your vision will pay off!
Goal Planning using The Printable Goal Planner
Whenever I decide it’s time to set new goals, I use my own goal-planning template in order to not just identify, but also make a realistic plan for my goals. A goal planner is a super useful tool to help you create the vision, your plan for the year and to break down your goals into actionable steps.
After you lay out the plan, you can then track those actions that you need to stay consistent with for 90 days. This will give you accountability and keep the goals on your mind.
It’s such a great tool and it really works. It has helped so much in my own life and is very practical if you want to dive deeper into creating a vision and a detailed plan for the year.
In this specific goal planning tool, you’ll find a yearly overview, a template for setting your quarterly goals, a page where you can break down a goal into actionable steps, a 90-day progress goal tracker and so much more. If you wish, you can check out the goal planning printable here. Make sure to use the code NTB20 to get 20% off your purchase.
How To Set Goals & Achieve Them
1. Create The Vision
What do you want your life, your year to look and feel like? What do you want to achieve? Where would you like to go? What would you like to learn? What would you like to build?
Make the vision specific and think about how it will change your life. A good vision will be one that makes you want to take action, even when it’s scary!
2. Choose wisely
We live in a world with almost endless opportunities right now. Therefore we need to be very picky about the things we want to put our attention on. So, choose your top 3 goals wisely. Your biggest and best goals will be things that improve your life long-term and involve changing your daily habits.
For example, if I’m overweight and say “This year I will lose 20 pounds”. This will
1) make my life a lot better, it will improve my confidence and health.
2) I will need to start exercising every day and develop healthier eating and sleeping habits.
I recommend setting goals in different categories in order to have a more balanced life. You don’t want to make fitness all you focus on, because then your relationships and your work might suffer. Define goals in different categories.
3. Be Picky About The How
Once you’ve picked the goals, get even pickier. Because it’s time to make a choice how you want to achieve each one of your three goals.
For example, if one of your goals is to make some extra money every month…you’ll have plenty of options to choose from. You can start a blog, you can make physical products, online courses, teach piano lessons locally, or become a freelancer offering basically anything you’re good at…
There are so many opportunities, so many ways to do things and I bet you have more than one hobby or skill that you can monetize.
But here’s the thing: You can’t do it all at the same time. It will not be sustainable. So pick the thing you can sustain – the thing you will want to do every day.
The same goes if you set a weight loss goal. When it comes to exercise, you can do yoga, HIIT, lift weights, go to the gym or work out at home.
Choose the thing that is most realistic for your schedule, seems like the most fun and the one that will bring the best results. It should be something you would like to actually do long-term.
4. Make A Plan
Now it’s time to list the tasks that come with this and create a plan for the goals you’ve set.
For example, if you want to improve your health and fitness you can’t just do random workouts every now and then and expect results. It’s best to make a workout plan, decide how many times a week you’re going to work out and which workouts you’re going to do.
Same for blogging or any type of side hustle. Decide how many times a week you want to write, what you’re going to write about what platform you’ll use. Be very clear and specific about those things.
Also, list out any other actions you need to take! Be specific and write them down with a deadline.
I recommend planning and reflecting on that plan on a weekly and monthly basis. This way you will keep yourself on track. Set mini-goals, milestones and tasks along the way, so you can record the process and notice the progress. When you see how far you’ve come within a month, this will motivate you and pull you through hard times. Even if your progress is small, it is still a step in the right direction and small steps add up.
By “setting mini-goals” I don’t mean saying this month I have to lose 10 pounds or I have to make $1000 from my side hustle. I mean what actions can you take? Can you go to the gym 3 times a week and eat out only once? Can you free up time so you can work on your side hustle? Maybe find more clients? What changes can you make, so that you come closer to your goal this week?
Setting weekly mini-goals has changed everything for me!
6. Prioritize Weekly and Daily
The main difference between a goal you achieve and a goal you don’t achieve is how much you actually do about it. Nothing will happen if the tasks you planned for in order to achieve that big goal are last on your list every day.
Don’t get me wrong, it might be first on your mind. It might be all you’re thinking of. But if you don’t do anything about it? Nothing will happen. Make those small actions a priority – build them into habits. Maybe not every day, but most days of the week.
7. Bite the bullet
I bet when you break down your goal into smaller action steps, you’ll identify some to-do’s that you just truly don’t want to do. But you know they’re crucial and must be done for that goal. Accept it.
In order to grow, you’ll need to do things that are new and scary and you don’t feel comfortable doing. It’s okay, you’ll get over it. Don’t overanalyze, don’t overthink, don’t procrastinate.
Just push through. Even if you don’t feel ready, even if it’s scary, even if you think people will point and laugh. Do the things you know you need to do. Life will reward you for it.
8. Be flexible
Understand that even if you make the perfect plan and actually do everything according to that plan, you probably still will have to face some disappointments along the way.
Sometimes things won’t go as planned. It’s called living in the real world where things out of your control happen.
Be ready to change direction many times and to make decisions on the spot. Trust me you’ve got this as soon as you let go of your expectations for everything to go perfectly. Be ready for that. And trust that it’s for the better and everything has its place and time.
9. Have Patience and Be Persistent
Finally, if you have set a big goal, it will probably not happen a week after you set it. You will need patience and persistence.
And you’ll find those in knowing that this is what you want to do and believing it is going to work out. If you enjoy it, you’re seeing progress, even if you’re not quite there yet, you’re going in the right direction. Things just take time.
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I hope you found these goal setting tips helpful, let’s make our biggest goals happen this year!
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This article was originally published in January 2020 and updated with new tips and ideas in December 2022.