How to Set Goals and Achieve Them (Goal-Setting Template)

How to Set Goals and Achieve Them: A 10-Step Goal-Setting Template 

A Goal Is A Dream With A Deadline. – Napoleon Hill.

If you have an idea or a dream and don’t know where to start to “make it happen,” or if you’ve been working hard towards a goal for some time and don’t see much progress, well, this article will show you how to set goals and achieve them in ten steps. 

Perhaps you think that planning is boring. 

It used to bore me to hell.

Until one day, I realized that my lack of it kept me stuck and prevented me from living my dream.

As a creator, I am, well, very creative.

I think a lot (too much). I have many ideas continually popping in my head, and because of that, I often get distracted. I tend to jump from one idea to another, and I have difficulty finishing what I start.

Projects that are supposed to take a few weeks often take months, while some are simply abandoned along the way.

I believe this is the reality for many creators and dreamers. We often lack structure, organization, and planning. In fact, we tend to avoid them because they feel constricting. 

But goal-setting and goal-planning are the bridge between an idea and its achievement. They are the bridge between creativity and action. They are what allows a dream to come true.

We can be creators and dreamers and still have a plan. Dreamers don’t have to be drifters.

That’s when I fell in love with goal setting and planning.

In this article, I’ll share a 10-step goal-setting template that will help you transform your ideas into goals and make them come true.

You can pick an important personal goal and do the exercise as you read if you’d like.

Let’s begin.

Gratitude Journal Prompt Ideas

Step 1: Know What You Want

The first step when setting goals is to be clear about what you want. Clarity is the foundation for all the other steps.

You want to state exactly what you want (your goal), clearly enough to explain it to a six-year-old. You also want to be specific (make your goal measurable) and add a deadline.

For example, you could say, I want to lose 15 pounds by February 1st1s.

Then, transform it into a positive statement in the present tense. For example, I am at my ideal weight of ______ by February 1st.

“I want” reinforces that you haven’t attained the goal, that something is lacking. “I am” stipulates that you have already achieved it. It makes the attainment of your goal more believable to your subconscious mind and reduces any resistance that you could otherwise experience.

I like to set goals for six months and twelve months.

For example, one of my goals for this year is to replace my salary with my own products’ sales.

My 1one-year goal is to make $5,000/month in net revenue from the sales of my products (the products that I create) by January 1st, 2021.

It’s clear and measurable, and it has a deadline.

Step 2: Define Why You Want It

Then, you want to define why this goal is important to you. “Why” you want something is the fuel that motivates you to move forward even when it gets difficult or when you don’t feel like it.

Being clear on the reasons behind your goal will help you be disciplined and will reduce the chances that you’ll procrastinate on the important tasks that need to get done.

Step 3: Write It Down

If you haven’t done it yet, make sure to write your goal down. Studies on goal-setting have shown that we are 42 percent more likely to achieve our goals if we write them down. Personally, I have my goal written on a magnetic whiteboard that’s on my fridge.

Goal setting template

Step 4: List All the Ways You Could Possibly Achieve Your Goal

In this step, you brainstorm all the ways you could attain your goal. There’s usually more than just one path to achieving a goal. For example, there are many methods to lose weight.

When I did this exercise myself, I realized that to attain my goal (of making enough income to live off my products’ sales), I needed two main things: a product and buyers. Knowing that, I brainstormed possibilities for each of these two things. I made a list of potential products I could sell and ways to find buyers.

For example, to find buyers, I could do the following:

  • Build an email list from scratch and eventually sell products directly to my email subscribers.
  • Use paid ads (for example, using Facebook or Google ads.
  • Use existing marketplaces, such as Amazon and Skill Skillshare.

Then, I went deeper. For example, I listed all the different ways to build an email list (for example, guest blogging, posting videos on YouTube, etc.).

Step 5: Choose Your Path

Next, organize the items on your list in order of importance. The most important item is the one that will have the biggest impact, the one that will move you toward your goal faster.

For example, I started this YouTube channel because I love making videos. But is it the ONE thing that will help me attain my goal of having a profitable business faster? No. YouTube is usually a very long journey.

Knowing that, I consider my channel as a hobby/potential business. Therefore, right now, it’s not my most important task regarding building my business because it’s not the activity that will help me attain my goal faster.

Some better (more efficient) options would be to use existing marketplaces to sell my products or to do guest blogging to build an email list.

Step 6: Use Your Intuition

Once you’ve put the items on your list in order of importance, go through the list from the most to the least important and mark those that are more appealing to you. What “feels right”? You must enjoy the process (the journey) towards your goal.

For example, even if Facebook advertising is a proven and effective way to build an email list, it’s not something that I am interested in doing. Therefore, I chose something else.

goal setting template

Step 7: Define What You Need to Achieve Your Goal

Next, you want to make a list of everything you can think of that you’ll have to do and learn to attain your goal. Think of the information and knowledge you must acquire, skills you must develop, people you must connect with, and actions you must take.

Then, organize the items on that list by sequence and priority.

  • A sequence is what you must do before you do something else. For example, before submitting an article to a publication, I must first search for publications that fit my topic, have my target, and accept guest bloggers.
  • As for a priority, it refers to the activity that will move you toward your goal faster.

The 80/20 rule or Pareto Principle stipulates that roughly 80% of any result (for example, attaining your goal) comes from 20% of the inputs (for example, the actions you take). Your priority is the biggest impact task or activity; it’s the 20% of your inputs.

Step 8: Reflect on Why You Haven’t Attained Your Goal Yet

If you’ve been working on a goal for some time and don’t see much progress, it can be useful to reflect on the reasons why you haven’t attained that goal yet. Is it a lack of time or motivation? Is it fear? Self-doubt? The impostor syndrome? Perhaps laziness?

When I asked myself this question —why haven’t I achieved my goal yet? —after having worked on it for over two years, I realized that I didn’t even have a product to sell. I also hadn’t made any effort to build an email list or find buyers.

I had spent two years working on building a website and creating freebies. And since I had defined in step 4 of this exercise, I needed to achieve my goal: a product and buyers.

And since I had none neither of those, the answer to why I hadn’t attained my goal became pretty obvious.

It’s crazy how obvious it is when you look at it this way. It’s also obvious when you look at someone else’s life. But when it’s our own life, we often fail to see the obvious. I believe that’s why having a coach can be a great idea.

Goal Setting Step 9: Create Your Action Plan

Now, it’s time to plan. Write down what you will do next year, six months, month, and week to move toward and attain your goal.

Now, it’s time to plan. Write down what you will do next year, six months, month, and week to move toward and attain your goal.

  •   What will you do in the next twelve months?
  •   What will you do in the next six months?
  •   What will you do this month?
  •   What will you do this week?
  •   What will you do tomorrow?

For example, if I had determined that the most important activity to attain my goal was to build an email list, and if I had chosen to go the guest-blogging route, I would probably be submitting articles to large publications.

This month, I would submit articles to smaller publications.

This week, I could make a list of small publications that share my target audience and look at their guidelines for submitting articles.

Tomorrow, my most important task could be to find four publications that accept guest bloggers.

On the first of each month, I plan for the month ahead and define my most important tasks for the month. Every Sunday, I prepare for the week ahead and schedule some of those tasks. Every evening, I schedule 1 to 3 of my most important tasks for the following day. Doing this has helped me stay focused and on track and avoid procrastination because I always know exactly what I should be working toward my goals. 

Step 10: Remind Yourself of Your Goals Daily

Make sure to read your goal statements often. As I said, I wrote mine on a magnetic whiteboard on my fridge. I read them every morning when I wake up and every night before going to bed.

I’ve also written why my goal is essential to me in a notebook and read them often. This way, I’m continually reminded of the positive impact of achieving this goal on my life and the negative consequences of not pursuing it.

. . .

And that’s it! I hope this goal-setting template will make it easier for you to set goals and achieve them. It might take you an evening to do this exercise correctly, but it’s well worth it.

Remember, goal setting is the bridge between an idea and its achievement. That’s what allows a dream to come true.

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