If you read my other blog, MoneySavingMom.com, you probably know I’m a big fan of setting goals. I’ve experienced firsthand the fruit and fulfillment that comes from setting a goal and working hard toward it.
I’ve also learned that without goals, you’ll usually have nothing that you’re aiming for — and complacency and floundering are typically the result.
Goals give you passion, purpose, motivation, and drive. You wake up each day with intention; you have a plan and you have direction.
While you might not end up as far along as you’d hoped to be at the end of the year (like I was this year!), if you set goals and whittle away at them each month, week, and day, I promise that you’ll be further along than if you hadn’t set any goals in the first place.
So how do you get started with goal-setting? Well, here are 5 steps to successful goal-setting:
1. Determine Your Priorities
It’s pretty near impossible to decide what route you need to take if you don’t know what your final destination is supposed to be! Therefore, goal-setting and living an intentional life requires you to first know what your priorities are.
So, before you make a list of goals for this coming year, first spend some time creating a list of five or six priorities in your life. These are the most important hats you wear or roles you play or the things you want to wrap your time, life, and energy around.
2. Create a List of Focus Areas
Once you have your list of priorities written out, take each area of priority and determine 4-5 specific things you want to focus on for that priority item.
For instance, if one of your priorities is improving your financial situation, maybe you decide you want to set a goal to save a specific amount of money, to set up your retirement accounts this year, to read books on improving your financial situation, to go through Financial Peace University, or to start a frugal friends group.
If you want to grow your blog, perhaps you decide you want to: create dedicated blogging time in your schedule, set up a freebie offer on your site, take a course on social media, develop 4 relationships with other bloggers, and have 10 guest posts published on other sites.
3. Lower Your Goal-Setting Standards (at first, at least!)
Change can be scary and uncomfortable. But the only way to change something is to get up and change something. As the adage goes, “If you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you’ve always gotten.”
So if you want to pave a new path, carve a new way, grow your blog, or build a new you in 2018, it starts with taking tiny intentional steps in a different direction.
Notice I said tiny, intentional steps? This is not a competition. There are no awards being given out for setting the biggest goals.
One of the biggest hindrances to goal-setting success is that people set their sights too high in the beginning. They are so gung-ho about goal-setting that they up and lose their sense of realism.
A surefire way to experience goal-setting failure is to try to set goals that are just way too audacious and overwhelming, which is why I encourage you to do yourself a tremendous favor and simplify your goal-setting.
I know it’s not as exciting to only choose a few goals and to keep those goals realistic and doable, but trust me, you’ll have a much greater chance of follow through if you do.
And remember: If you only change one small thing this year and you stick with it, that’s so much better than setting out to accomplish 10 HUGE things and not doing anything at all because you felt stressed about trying to figure out where to even start in the first place.
4. Create a Plan of Action
Once you have determined your goals, take some time to map out a plan for how you’re going to accomplish your goals. Write down the specific steps you will take each month to get where you hope to be in a year from now.
I like to break my bigger goals down into weekly and daily goals. For instance, one of my goals in 2018 is to run 500 miles. In order to stay on track, I know that I need to aim to run 1.5 miles every day. I might not hit that every single day, but if I aim for 1.5 to 2 miles every day, I should be close to 500 miles by the end of the year.
We also set a goal for increasing the gross income of our business this year. In order to do that, we have a daily goal that we’re trying to hit for earnings. We won’t hit this goal every single day, but by having it, it motivates us to be creative, helps us come up with fresh ideas for ways to bring in additional income streams, and helps us know whether we are on track or not.
When you look at a goal as a whole, it can seem impossible or unrealistic. But when you break it down into tiny pieces, it becomes much more doable!
5. Get Some Accountability
Accountability is the key to follow through. Start with simple ways to keep yourself accountable: write your goals out (Don’t just keep them in your head! The act of writing them out is powerful!) and then put them somewhere that you’ll see on a daily basis (such as your bathroom mirror or above your kitchen sink or on your fridge.
I also recommend finding an accountability partner to check up with you on a regular basis and see how you’re doing. Not only can they serve as a cheerleader to keep you moving in the right direction, they can help you get back on track if you start veering off course.
If you’ve failed at goal-setting in the past, it’s easy to convince yourself it’s not even worth trying again because you’ll probably just fail yet another time. Do not let the fear of failure keep you from taking the first step in the direction of success.
You’ll probably tweak some of your goals as the year goes on. You might even throw some goals out the window entirely. That’s totally okay.
Whatever happens, though, don’t give up. If you get knocked down, pick yourself back up, dust yourself off, and keep going.
Little bit by little bit, you will change your life… all from the simple act of getting brave, being willing to change, and setting a few small goals!
What are YOUR blogging goals for 2018? Tell us in the comments!
P.S. You can read more about my business Goals for 2018 here + how I changing the way I blog on MoneySavingMom.com.