set goals

How To Set Goals You Can Actually Achieve

I’m a sucker for goal setting. I love it. As I paint grand pictures in my head of what I want to accomplish for myself, I get a literal rush. It’s so easy to envision myself running a marathon and downsizing the stuff in my house to only the things I love and cherish.

But I’m an adult who has failed at a few of the New Years Resolutions I’ve set for myself before, precisely because I fall for the fantasy in my head and fail to figure out a plan of action. If you’ve ever seen my Instagram stories, you know that my office gets messy frequently. Thinking pretty thoughts, or staring at what someone else has, does nothing to bring you those things.

A few months ago I confronted myself about how I set goals and how I worked towards them. I needed to get out of my own way, slow down, and do things differently. I’ve totally changed the way that I set goals, and as a result I’ve been able to achieve more than ever before.

No More Than Four Goals

The worst habit I’ve had to break myself from is biting off more than I could chew. I used to be the queen of making endless to-do lists. It was like scrolling through Twitter, except with a bunch of hard shit I was expecting from myself.

Instead of getting things done, I was drowning in my own goals. Scaling back was immediately helpful. It felt like a cop out at first; expecting less from myself felt like I was being lazy. 

I realized that was totally bonkers when I started being honest with myself that pushing myself to do ALL THE THINGS ALL THE TIME was completely backfiring. I didn’t feel excited or challenged; I felt overwhelmed and sad. Having too many goals was dividing my attention span. Plus, there was always something I could be doing, so I felt guilty for taking time off, anxious for not getting everything done, and I always had a reason for negative self-talk. 

No more! I was driving myself bonkers. Cutting back to four annual goals and five daily things on my to-do list means I get more done overall.

Set a SMART GOAL

Goal setting is all in the details. You have to know exactly what you’re trying to achieve in order to actually achieve it.

You can grab the Bravely goal setting worksheet right here, which helps you set a SMART goal. SMART is an acronym that breaks down into Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Time sensitive goals. By fleshing out the details of your goal, you’re much more likely to reach it.

Block Your Time

Time blocking has changed my life. Assigning a task to a day and time seems so simple but has jumpstarted a whole paradigm shift in my life. I’m a whole new me.

I assign days and time to everything. For example, if your goal is to learn Spanish by the end of 2018, you can carve out from 7-9am each Tuesday morning to study and practice Spanish.

Once you’ve blocked off the time, hold it sacred. Don’t compromise it, because you’re compromising your goal.

Bonus: by assigning each goal to specific time, you’ll probably feel less stressed. Knowing that you’ve created time and space to work on each of your goals means you don’t have to stress about finding that time, or feel guilty when you’re doing something else.

Get The Tools You Need

I’ve found success through a combination of organization, setting smaller goals, AND GETTING THE TOOLS I NEED TO DO MY THING.

When I started paying off my student loan debt, I was not the money ninja in front of you now. In fact, I was hella broke and very sad.

So I looked for experts in the field and consumed their content. Maybe I was broke but I could READ, you know?

I could track my spending. I could journal about my debt payoff. I could interact with people on Twitter or Instagram about debt and get support.

Finding the tools and information to speed up my debt payoff timeline helped me pay off $18,000 in ten months. It was worth every penny and second I spent educating myself, because it came back to me in literally THOUSANDS of dollars and MONTHS of time.

What are you working towards this year? How do you set goals? Let me know in the comments!

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3 thoughts on “How To Set Goals You Can Actually Achieve”

  1. “One failure doesn’t mean that goal is forever unattainable. One misstep doesn’t mean you should take yourself out of the race forever. Any type of achievement is an experiment in trying and failing. You learn from each trial, take that knowledge and strike out again. Set goals and work continuously towards them and I pinky promise you’ll see results.” — Yes!!

    I’m reading The Willpower Instinct right now, and one of my big takeaways so far is forgiveness. If you fail to do something you meant to do and berate yourself for it, you’re more likely to say “to hell with it” and abandon your larger goal all-together. If you acknowledge you made a misstep and forgive yourself, you’re more likely to succeed. True for eating habits, true for exercise — true for money! I find it helps to talk to myself as I would a friend. 🙂

    I’ve got a few blog-related goals this year, and besides that want to publish a basic Android app and continue exercising 3x a week. 😀

  2. FinancialMillennials

    I definitely have a hard time setting only a few goals. But you are so right that it is important. I like being able to focus on a few number of really important goals. That way I don’t spread myself too thin and can dedicate more time to each goal.

    Great read! Thank you!

    1. I still struggle with that myself. I rush ahead with a bunch of goals and then realize how stressed out I am. ? By narrowing down my goals I actually get more done.

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