How to Set Goals- And Achieve Them

Before you set a goal, you need to know what it is, and why you want to set it. We want to be smarter than smart when we set them.

The first step in goal setting is knowing what your goal is. Duh, right? But when we set goals, we tend to look too small your goal needs to stretch you, it needs to be a little uncomfortable.  When you’re setting your goals, think big, think life changing, and, most importantly, keep your why in mind- Why are you setting this objective? What will achieving it allow you to do? How will you feel when you achieve the goal? Relieved? Happy?

When you’re setting big life-changing goals, it’s easy to get ahead of yourself. But I recommend no more than six big ones, for your career, finances, relationships, fun and recreation, health and fitness and personal goals. Anymore than this can get too overwhelming and if you get overwhelmed you mightn achieve any. 

When we set our goals, we want to be smart. Smarter than smart.

S.M.A.R.T.E.R.E.S.T.  Yes, I know that’s not a word. No, I don’t care.

S- Specific

You need to be as specific as possible. Consider how you’ll achieve your goal. Research how other people did it to find a method that’ll work for you.

Write it down.

I will become fit, and strong by doing push ups, dips, squats and leg raises, as well as walking.

Good goals are not ambiguous, and vague only works for first draft ideas. But a first draft is a good idea, if you’re serious about achieving your dream life. That way you can work on, and be sure that it’s a good (phenomenoal) goal for you to hit. 

M is for measurable.

How will you know that you are making progress? How will you know when you have achieved?

Write that down too.

I will become fit, and strong by doing pushups, dips, squats and leg raises, as well as walking. I will achieve my goal when I can do 100 technically correct push-ups, dips, squats and leg raises.  I will achieve my goal when I can walk 5km/hr.

Don’t forget to reward yourself, or your team when you reach each milestone on the way to achieving your goal. Reevaluate your goals when you miss milestones- how far out are you? Why? If you get your milestones early, is it too easy? Are you still doing your best work? Or are you slacking off?

A is for attainable

Unfortunately, you do need to be able to achieve your goal, so consider whether you can actually do it. What resources will you need to access to achieve this goal, both right now, and for future milestones?

Impossible goals may push you forward for a little while. But not achieving them can have far-reaching consequences. A severe jolt to your confidence may lead to stagnation in other goals you’ve got going on right now, and a failure to set goals in the future.

R- Relevant.

When you visualise your life in 5 or 10 years, how will this goal benefit that life? Your goals should also be synchronised with the personal attributes and skills that you want to learn- How will your goals help you become the person you want to become.

My objective of becoming fit and strong will also mean I become healthy. I’ll have more confidence in myself, both from achieving a big goal, no matter what it is and from being able to dothings I’ve only ever dreamed.

Push-ups are hard okay!

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I’m sure you’ve heard all these before, but that’s because they do work when you put them into practice.

Time-bound is pretty self-explanatory, you need to know when you are going to achieve the goal by.

I will become physically fit, and strong by doing pushups, dips, squats and leg raises, as well as walking. I will achieve my goal when I can go 100 technically correct push-ups, dips, squats and leg raises.

I will achieve this by August 31st, 2019.

I will achieve my goal when I can walk 5km/hr.

I will achieve this by October 31st, 2019.

Now we get into the good stuff; you don’t have to write these bits down, although I personally still would, because it’s useful to look back at both when you’re feeling discouraged, and when you’ve achieved them. But you do need to consider them as part of your process.

E- Educational

What will you learn by completing this goal? If you make it educational, at least on some level, you will get something out of it even if you fail. (You won’t fail.)

My goal of becoming healthy and strong is educational to me because I will learn how to do technically correct body weight exercises, and how to increase my walking speed. I’ll learn about nutrition, and about sticking to a workout regime. I’ll learn perseverance, tenacity, and other things like that. 

The goal only has to be educational to you. Perhaps you will learn a new skill or gain new personal attribute. For goals that are particularly difficult, or take a long time, consider that you will learn to be patient, and to be tenacious.

You will learn not to give up when the going gets tough.

Again. And again. And again. And again.

R- Reasonable

You need to be able to break your big goal into reasonable steps so that you can work towards it every day.

Try not to break the steps down into teeny tiny steps though, so that you don’t get overwhelmed.

Research how other people have achieved a similar goal, what steps did they take to reach it? How can you improve that? If you have a big goal, mind map all the elements that need to happen to achieve it and try to put them in steps.

E- Entirely in your control.

Your goal needs to be entirely in your control. This the step that will make or break many, many, many goals that seem almost perfect.

If it’s not entirely in your control, you could do all the right things, and still not achieve it. For example, if your goal is something like, “I will have 100 Instagram followers by…” that goal is not entirely in your control. You could do all the “right” things, and have nobody follow you.

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Welcome to Life.

If you want 100 followers, set your goals as the things that you believe will give you those followers. Same for any social media metric, and focus on something like “I will post 2x a day..” or “I will leave 5 genuine and useful comments on other people’s posts.”

If your goal depends on other people, especially, there is no guarantee that you will achieve it.

If your goal depends on you, and you alone taking action and working hard you will not fail, not if you put in the hard work.


The goal needs to be significant to you, and to your ideal life. Why will the results matter? Will it make a difference to your perfect life if you don’t achieve the goal? Why?

T- Tractable.

Your goal needs to be a little flexible. If you don’t manage 100 push-ups by that exact date, keep working at it, evaluate how far from your end date you are, and reset the goal. Keep working don’t give up.

Your goals themselves are also allowed to change, maybe 100 push-ups were more accessible than you thought, or perhaps you were talking to some mates down at the pub about how much they can bench, and you’d sooner join a gym.

For these reasons, your goals need to be able to move and be changed. When you set goals, you aren’t writing a contract, and you aren’t signing in blood. Your goals are guidelines for things you want to achieve.

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Setting goals using the SMARTEREST method my seem tedious and take some of the excitement out of your amazing, life changing goals. But truly it’ll allow you to be certain that you can achieve them, no matter what. 

Main Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash

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