Most of us have a vague idea of what we’d like to accomplish, but few have true, concrete goals. A goal is analogous to a target. Without a goal, you’re just drifting along hoping for things to improve. With a goal, you have a definite direction and purpose.

Though we’ve all been told how important targets are, few of us have ever been given specific directions regarding how to formulate an effective goal.

Give your goal the following characteristics and you’ll be on your way to success.

Specific. Acquiring a new car isn’t specific. Acquiring a 2019 silver Honda Civic with the navigation package and luggage rack is specific. Be as specific as need be, but not more. If your goal is to meet the man of your dreams, does he really have to be over 6 feet tall and have a dimple in his chin? It’s important to have a clear target, but too much specificity limits your options. Stick to the important characteristics.

Time-bound. Without a timeline, it’s unlikely you’ll ever get started. Having an endpoint date creates focus and urgency. The endpoint date should be no more than 12 weeks into the future. Anything beyond 12 weeks will cause your focus to wane. It’s too easy to procrastinate with goals set too far in the future. If your goal will take longer than 12 weeks, break it into smaller goals.

Possible. If you don’t believe you can achieve your goal, you won’t pursue it. Start with a goal small enough that you can believe it can be achieved within the set timeframe but will cause you to stretch to reach it. Ask yourself if you have the necessary resources and time to reach your goal before the deadline.

Measurable. If you can’t measure it, how will you know when you’ve achieved it? How will you be able to determine if you’re making progress? Goals that deal with bodyweight or sales calls, for example, are easy to quantify. Goals that deal with less tangible characteristics, such as emotional states, can be more challenging. You might have to develop your own measuring scale. Be sure your goal can be measured before you get started.

Reviewed regularly. One of the most effective ways to prioritize your goals is to review them at least daily. With so many thoughts and ideas flying around in your heard, a daily review of your goals will keep them at the forefront of your focus. Take a few minutes each day to review your goals at least once. Allow enough time to read, rewrite and visualize your goals.

After you’ve created your goal, write a list of actions that will lead to attaining your goal. Too many of us believe we can keep it all in our head, only to find it gets lost in the mental noise. Things change only when new actions are taking place. Start at the end and work your way back to the present. What step could you take today toward reaching your goal?

When you’ve completed all the steps, your goal should be a reality!

Goals are the key to reliable achievement. Effective goal setting is crucial to the successful completion of your goals. Ask your successful and unsuccessful friends about their goals compared to the results in their lives. Those with goals regularly outperform those without. If you haven’t practiced goal setting previously, now is a great time to start. It will make a world of difference!

If you would like more information on effective goal setting, contact me to discuss how I can help you with your goals.