Setting Amazing and Attainable Goals in 5 Steps

Three years ago, I started getting very serious about goal-setting. I saw behaviors in my life that didn’t match up with my dreams and desires. I realized I wasn’t who I really desperately wanted to be and I decided to change. Wanting to change is one thing, but actually doing the work and learning the self-discipline it takes to get where you want to be is another. I wanted so badly to change, but I knew it wasn’t going to happen overnight. That’s when goal-setting became a huge part of my life. They provided structure and amount to get me where I wanted to go. It changed everything. Here is what I have done for three years to create amazing and attainable goals.

Step one- I created a life goal list.
In order to map out a trip, you have to know your destination. Goals are no different. I wrote out my life goals on a lined sheet of paper. I wrote out who I wanted to be, what I wanted to accomplish, and all the big “when I grow up” dreams I had since I was a kid. This was eye-opening for me because the beginning of my journey, I wasn’t even close to the dreams I wrote down.

Step two- I made a realistic timeline for those goals.
Some of my lifetime goals are going to take my entire life to attain. For example, being generous and giving to others in need or being willing to take risks are not things you accomplish and then are done. They are goals I will be working on for life. On the other hand, some of my life goals I knew I could begin to accomplish within a year or two if I worked really hard at them.

Step three- I broke these larger goals into baby steps.
I created a year long list of baby steps, divided into months, then weeks, that I could take (like following a map) to make progress each day toward my lifetime goals. Sometimes my goals were really small. I did this purposely to build habits and self-discipline. You need both to accomplish larger goals. For example, I want to be a successful artist one day. This is a huge goal for me. It is intimidating and scary. Instead of running away from this ambitious goals because of my fear of failure, I decided to take the large dream and put it into attainable baby steps. I now draw every weekday building the habit of drawing in order to practice and grow in this area. I am not a successful artist yet and I don’t believe it will happen this year, but I am taking the necessary steps to achieving one of my biggest dreams.

Step four- I created an accountability system.
This is going to look different for each person, but having an accountability system set up is vital. I personally use graphing paper to check off my goals everyday. This works for me. I am very specific and checking it off of my paper gives me accountability and satisfaction in knowing that I am one step closer to my dreams.

Step five- I take scheduled breaks and reward myself.
Goals are hard work. Building self-discipline is like working a muscle. It gets worn out and sore, but stronger every day. I know what burn out feels like so I schedule in breaks. Using the example of drawing from before, I choose not to make myself draw on weekends. Because I do this, when Monday comes, I usually have new ideas for my drawings. I also reward myself. I am a rather frugal person, and sometimes the benefits that come with accomplishing a goal is enough, but there are times when I choose to reward myself with something special when I reach a specific goal. At times, is just what I need to stay motivated.

These steps have been life-changing for me. I have been able to push past my own expectations of myself and I am on my way to becoming the best me I can be. Try using these 5 steps the next time you want to set amazing and attainable goals for yourself.

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