How to set realistic and achievable goals

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The New Year is right around the corner. Which means it’s the time of year when most people start to think about their resolutions and the goals they want to accomplish in 2017. That includes us at Hearsay.

For me, learning how to set realistic goals and then working hard to attain them, is key to my success as a multiple small business owner.

Some people, however, don’t know how to set goals. Others struggle to go about achieving them.

What’s the big difference? It all boils down to goal-setting versus goal achievement. Both are important, but merely setting goals isn’t enough.

If you write your goals down and never revisit them, you’ve done nothing but waste your time. Instead, action is necessary to achieve your goals.

Each December, I go through a simple process to determine my goals for the New Year. In the spirit of the season, here are my tips for setting achievable goals.

Commit to the process

Let’s be real, everyone wants to be great. We all want to reach lofty achievement milestones and be recognized for our tremendous efforts—whether we admit it to ourselves or others.

However, not everyone is willing to commit to the process that being great requires.

In fact, many of us give up after one try. Or even just one failure. We settle for being average when faced with adversity, rather than striving and working to be great.

Which means we fail at meeting our goals.

Before you even decide what your goal or goals may be, make the commitment to yourself to stick with the process of reaching your goals.

Timing is everything

Regardless of what the Rolling Stones say, time is not on your side as far as goal setting goes.

In fact, I’m a true believer that the first step in setting successful goals it to eliminate the ability to dawdle and invite the emotion of worry into your goal-setting process.

Ready to get your goals written down? Start by setting the timer on your phone for five minutes. This length of time is perfect for forcing you to write your true goals down quickly and without overthinking any part of them.

Only five minutes? Yes, only five minutes.

Why? Because it’s human nature that, once we consider the goals we want to achieve, we immediately start thinking about reasons we can’t reach those goals.

Obviously, there will be roadblocks to consider and a million other obstacles standing in the way. Now is not the time to worry about those things.

If you give yourself five minutes, that time span will force you to focus and write down the milestones that are truly in your heart rather than allowing you to waste time on challenges that may come down the road.

Write them down

Is your timer set? Great!

The next part of the process is to write down up to ten goals you want to achieve by this time next year.

No more than ten. Remember, #goalgetter, the point is to achieve them all.

Just as it’s not good for your health to be all work and no play, I feel it’s better to include a balance of family, wellness, leisure, financial, and business goals on your list.

Are you noticing a theme in your goals? Is there one goal that stands out or tugs at your emotions more than the others?

Make note of themes or larger goals after your five minutes of time is up. You’re subconsciously shaping how your New Year will be.

Play favorites

In life and business, we’ve all been taught to never play favorites. I can’t think of something more wrong when it comes to goal setting.

Trust me, you need to play favorites. Playing favorites will help you achieve of your goals.

On your list of ten, circle the one goal that has the potential to change the course of your current life/career path or trajectory. Let that goal serve as the catalyst for achieving every other goal on your list.

When I first adopted this process, I had recently left Corporate America spur of the moment with no actual game plan. My major goal at the time was to land one freelance PR consulting gig. I knew that achieving that major goal would help me reach every other goal on my list and drastically change my entire life.

Boy, did it.

Set your action plan

After you’ve identified your favorite goal from the list of ten, start brainstorming a step-by-step action plan of all the things that must happen for you to achieve that particular goal.

Then, start transferring one to two tasks a day onto your daily to do list in order reach your favorite goal. Each day, these simple steps will help you take massive action as you relentlessly pursue your goal—getting you to where you want to go.

Once you have your game plan ready to go for this specific goal, move on to your next goal. And so on down the list.

Seem daunting? It can be.

Most people don’t think about what they need to do to achieve their goals. By even thinking about what is necessary to reach your goals, you’re putting yourself in the small percentage of high achievers.

This will significantly increase the odds of your success.

Goal-setting has completely changed my life. Believe me when I say that it can do the same for you. I hope you find these simple steps helpful as you set your goals for 2017!

What are some of your goals for the New Year?

Want more helpful tips like the ones above plus more? Check out The Buzz: A Media Darling’s Guide to Press Coverage or sign up for exclusive Hearsay content.