Every new year we set a number of goals we want to achieve by the end of the year. But when the end of the year comes around most of us didn’t achieve any of those goals we wanted to. Some of us don’t even set goals. We just live day by day in hopes that one day we’ll be successful.

Without goals, you won’t have a focus or direction. Goals allow you to take control of your life and gives you a benchmark to know if you are succeeding.

What is your goal? Where do you see yourself five years from now? What do you plan to achieve this year, next year or in five years? If you couldn’t answer these questions, it’s time to take goal setting to the next level.

To accomplish your goals, you need to know how to set them. Goals are not just a list of what you want to have or become. Rather, it is a carefully-made decision of what you want to achieve within a specific period of time. Goals have steps to achieving them, and metrics to measure them.

The first mistake we make in goal setting is not writing them down. To learn how to set and achieve your goals you need to first start with writing it down and making it a plan.

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8 Ways to Plan Successfully in 2016

Read on as I explain how proper goal setting can help you achieve your dreams.

1. Let Your Goals Motivate You

Before setting your goal, make sure that it is something that motivates you. This is very important. Make sure that whatever you want to achieve, there is a value in achieving them. You won’t succeed in the pursuit of your goals if you have little interest in the outcome, or they are not relevant to the larger picture.

Motivation is the key to achieving goals. Determine what your priorities in life are and set goals that are related to them. Note that goals require commitment and sense of urgency. You need to feel like you don’t have enough time, an attitude like “I must achieve this before Christmas”. Your goal-setting is dead on arrival if the goal does not motivate you.

2. Focus On Less

If you have way too many goals, you will eventually burn out. You will forget and eventually give up on all your goals and may end the year with achieving nothing at all. We only have so much willpower. Daily habits require lots of willpower and changing your complete lifestyle in a short time period will drain you. Instead of trying to change everything right now focus on a select few. What are the top 2 or 3 things that you constantly find yourself dreaming about for your future? These should be the ones you should be focusing on. In achieving your dreams and goals, less is definitely more.

3. Set SMART Goals

I’m pretty sure you have heard about setting S.M.A.R.T. goals. This rule is very important if you are serious about achieving any goal. A SMART goal means that your goals are Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-bound.

All these elements need to be present in your goal. You must have a clear and well-defined goal that you want to achieve within a specific period of time. Your goal must be achievable, not one that is going to overwhelm you, it must be attainable and measurable. Without a way to measure your success, you may miss out on the celebration that comes knowing that you are on course to achieving your goals.

4. Put Your Goals in Writing

Just to make sure that you don’t lose focus, it is important you put your goals in writing. I have a planner where I carefully stated what I want to achieve. Writing down your goals will help you see them every day. You are more likely to achieve them if you can see and work towards them.

5. Break Down Your Goals into a Proper Action Plan

Nothing can succeed without proper planning. Now that you have a goal in mind, it is time to plan how you want to achieve that goal. You need to write down actionable steps that are necessary to achieve the main goal. (I’ve included a free downloadable goal action sheet for you down below!)

This may mean having smaller goals or milestones. For instance, if you want to buy a house by the end of the year, your goal will be to save money every month. Thus, writing down a certain amount money you plan to save every week and month – these are smaller goals necessary to achieve the main goal. Creating an action plan is very necessary especially when your goal is big and demanding.

6. Take a Break

Feeling overwhelmed, stuck or unmotivated? Take a short break, step away from the pursuit of your goals for a day. Do things that aren’t related to your goals for a day to refuel your energy and vigor.

7. Celebrate Every Win

Pursuing a larger goal can seem overwhelming; don’t forget to celebrate little successes you achieve on your way. For instance, if you want to save $250,000 to buy a house, celebrate when you have saved the first thousand, and keep celebrating every milestone, this will motivate you into achieving more and brings you closer to your goal.

8. Keep it Visible

Don’t lose focus, keep your goals somewhere where you will be constantly reminded of it. Use your planner and write down your big goals and refer to it every month, week and day. Stick with your goals and don’t be tempted to change them anytime you have a small bump. Every time you look at it you will feel the pressure to do something about it.

9. Review Your Progress Regularly

Make regular time-slots available to review your goals to stay on track. Keep a journal and log in it daily about how you felt, what you did or didn’t do to get you closer to your dreams. Things may get difficult along the way, but don’t lose sight of what you are pursuing. Ensure you understand the reasons why your goals are so important to you. Stick to your goals, review them on a regular basis and you will achieve them with time.

10. Don’t Tell Everyone About Your Goals

People who talk about their intentions or goals before completing them tends to trick their brains into thinking that they already have achieved it and lose motivation to work towards it. So until you’ve accomplished the goal keep it to yourself!

11. But Do Find One Accountability Partner

An accountability partner is someone who will make sure you’re going out there every day and doing the things that you promised yourself. This person will constantly nag you to accomplish those goals. Create a thread where you can constantly track each others’ progress.

Tools for Setting Proper Goals

Some great tools I found very helpful when it comes to setting and achieving goals is a goal planner and an actionable worksheet. I love my digital planner for goal planning. It has a goals overview page in the beginning of the planner that I refer to often whenever I feel like I don’t know what to work towards. Every month also has a section for notes, to do lists, important dates and goals to help you plan out your goals every month. And the monthly section includes  habit trackers and reviews to stay on top of your goals everyday!

Check out this guided goal setting worksheet and how it can help you in achieving your goals. Print it out, fill it out and use it to reach your dreams!

Download this free goal planner printable to help you plan out goals and reach your dreams. I’ve included the planner in letter, A5 and A4 sizes.

If you want a completely guided goal setting workbook then you have to check out this Slay Your Goals Planner! It will walk you through setting your intentions, breaking down and planning out your goals, and reviewing them to keep you on track. It’s one of the best workbooks and planners for helping you to reach your goals. You can learn more about this planner and get yours here.