How to Set Goals and Achieve Them? Let’s Find Out In This Goal Setting Activity

I’ve always wanted an answer to the question – “How to set goals and achieve them?”

Actually, all of us know that clear goals are important to achieve anything, don’t we?

Obviously, if a runner thinks: “I want to run 1 mile in 4 minutes by May 31”, he will have a greater chance of doing that compared to his saying “I’ll just run better”.

There is no doubt that when you define a clear outcome and really, really put efforts towards that outcome, you achieve something big.

Many famous people have written about why goals are important. Steve Pavlina and Chris Guillebeau are some amazing people who’ve written cool things about how to set goals.

And having said all of this, let me come to my BARE confession.

I have never SET and ACHIEVED a clear goal in life.

I have either not set a clear goal and achieved something I didn’t really want (like when I cleared the IIT entrance examination – I never set a goal but got through), OR I have set goals and not achieved them (like generating $ X by a particular date – I failed).

Now I know, that what I have written above is quite a bare confession but then I am sure there must be many of you like me. Of course you might have desires and dreams. All of us have them. But maybe, just like me, you too have never really set a really clear goal and given your all to achieve it.

And that is why, I am doing something interesting today.

I am setting 10 small BUT slightly tough goals today that I plan to achieve by May 31. And I am setting these goals publicly – in front of you. Till May 31, I will try my best to achieve all of these 10 goals and I will keep posting updates related to where I have reached with respect to which goal AND what I have learnt.

If you too have always wanted to set goals and achieve them but haven’t really got down to doing it, why don’t you join me? Pick one goal or two or however many you like that you want to achieve by May 31. And start working on them. Make that goal public here and tell us all about it. Track your progress by writing about how it is going here. I am sure you will feel amazing if you achieve your first real goals by May 31.

My Goals

So, what are those 10 goals that I will achieve by May 31?

Here they are!

1 Optimize Google Adsense on this site using techniques learnt from the book ‘The Adsense Code’.

2 Post 8 genuine, heart-felt articles.

3 Revamp the Tier-2 pages (the pages that link from the home page) of this site and make them more genuine and interesting.

4 Write 5 WikiHow articles, build 5 Squidoo lenses, post 5 answers at Yahoo Answers, 10 blog comments, 10 forum posts and submit 1 guest post to promote this site.

5 Analyze the performance of the Book Store and the T-Shirt Store on this site.

6 Wake up at 6 AM for 10 days at a stretch.

7 Visualize my dream life every morning for 10 days at a stretch.

8 Post at least 1 genuine and inspiring update on Twitter and Facebook every day for 10 days at a stretch.

9 Work on this website for at least 2 hours daily for 10 days at a stretch.

10 Come up with the idea of at least one new monetization model and perform atleast one action to start implementing it.

Most of these goals might sound technical. And many may sound boring πŸ˜‰ But yes, they are ALL things that I really, really want to do by May 31. I think that’s one thing that really matters when you are working towards goals – you must really want to achieve them.

What are the goals you want to achieve by May 31? You might not have 10 like me, you might have just one. And you might have goals related to relationships or physical fitness or anything that interests you. Your wish. But you can write them down. Before you set the goals though, you can read the next section…

How to Set Goals: What I Have Learnt So Far

I have set many goals in the past and failed and that has taught me some things about goals. I have also read a lot about achieving goals and have picked up valuable tips. I want to keep these points in mind while achieving my goals this time.

1 Set a Goal That Inspires You

If you set a goal to run 10 miles a day but don’t care about running (like me πŸ™‚ ) then of course you won’t achieve the goal. If on the other hand, you want to learn how to play the guitar and you really want to do that – then that goal will be interesting and inspiring for you.

So, the goal should be something that gives you the “kick”.

I love writing on this website. I love working on it. I also want to generate income from the website and become financially independent. All my goals – the ones I wrote above – are in some way related to this website and they inspire me. When I think about them – yes, I want to achieve them.

Of course you might find my goals to be boring :P. But do choose a goal that inspires you. πŸ™‚

2 Choose a Goal That is Small and Achievable BUT Stretches You

I know – they always say – set BIG goals. Set goals that are beyond your dreams.

I think they’re right. BUT they’re right when you are already in a positive mindset and have achieved some smaller goals. If you have never achieved goals you have consciously set – then setting really big goals might confound you and you might end up frustrated. Some years ago, I remember setting goals like “I’ll generate a million dollars from the website in one year” and other super-big goals. The problem was that I was a guy who had never achieved a real goal in life – and so setting super-big goals made the goal so confusing for me that I eventually gave up.

So, set a goal that stretches you but is also achievable. If you can lift 5 kg, set a goal to lift 7 kg for your first real goal. If you can run 10 miles, set a goal to run 15 miles. Something that you want to do, something that stretches you but something that is still within your imagination.

Later, when you have achieved your first few goals, I think that is the time to start thinking bigger and bigger.

3 Make Sure the Goal is Crystal Clear

Ah, I have been guilty of not doing this so many times. πŸ™‚

Yes, your goal must be just so clear – that anyone should know exactly what you want to achieve by looking at your goal.

There were times when I set goals like this: ” I want to improve my self-discipline”. Another one was ” I want to have a fulfilling career”.

Those goals were actually good, but I didn’t achieve them because I wasn’t even clear about exactly what I wanted to achieve. I have spent a lot of time therefore, clarifying exactly what I want this time.

“I want to work for 2 hours a day on this website for 10 days” That’s one of my goals this time and thankfully, that’s clearer. πŸ™‚

Whatever goal you have set – just make sure it is crystal clear and states every detail.

4 Track Your Goals Daily

I have read about how important it is to track goals and I have seen how I have failed miserably without tracking.

Goal tracking means – asking yourself everyday – how far have I reached with respect to my goal? Am I going good? If not, what shall I change? What can I do to make sure I achieve my goal?

In this goal experiment, I am doing three things to track my goals.

Firstly, I am blogging about my goals on this website. Every few days, I will post where I have reached and what I have learnt.

Secondly, I am maintaining an Excel spreadsheet with my goals written on it. In this excel spreadsheet, I will plan what I want to achieve every week with respect to each goal. I will also write down EVERY DAY what percentage of each goal I have achieved and what percentage of time has passed. That will give me a clear idea about exactly WHERE I am heading.

Thirdly, I am maintaining a journal to record my progress towards my goals. In this journal I will keep writing what I have achieved so far, what changes I need to make, whether everything is on track etc. This journal will be a place where I will DISCUSS my progress with myself.

Whatever your goal is, do something to track it everyday. If you don’t track your goal, you will forget it and it will slowly slip away from your mind. Our mind is fickle and keeps getting distracted by a hundred things everyday. That is why looking at your goals everyday, writing about them and seeing where you have reached is important.

5 Reward yourself When You Achieve A Goal

Of course, we all love rewards. We love it when we get something nice that we feel we have EARNED.

Of course, you can’t set goals only for the reward – the goal must motivate you in the first place – but still having a reward does provide an extra boost. If my motivation to achieve my goals is 9 on 10, then having a reward makes it 9.5 on 10. πŸ™‚

I have set 6 rewards for achieving my 10 goals. When I achieve more than 4 of my goals, I will earn one reward. Then, for each goal achieved, I will earn one reward. For example, one of my rewards is eating vanilla ice cream topped with coffee powder. I LOVE it. πŸ™‚ Another reward is going out on a royal date with my wife.

What’s your reward if you achieve your goals?

My Goal Tracker

Here’s a picture of my goal tracking system.

As you can see, there is a column that indicates what percentage of the goal I have achieved. There is also a column that tells how much time has passed. And of course there is the rewards column.

Everyday, I will write down how much percentage of each goal has been achieved. This will give me EXACT details about where I am with respect to each goal.

Apart from all other things I’ll do, I am sure this excel spreadsheet will keep me motivated. πŸ™‚

You can also have your own tracking system because I think “tracking goals” is the single most important point towards really achieving goals you want to achieve. You may not use that excel sheet I have used or you may. You may journal or you may write down your progress on paper. Upto you. But do track your goals.

All The Best to (You and) Me!

Throughout this goal setting article, I have written down “important tips” on how to set goals as if I am a “goal achievement expert”. While all these tips are genuine and are based on my failure to achieve goals in the past, the truth remains:

This is the first real set of goals that I will achieve.

I will post whatever goal setting tips I learn right here on this site.

A Goal Setting Tip: Make Your Goals Public!
Another Goal Setting Tool: Track Your Goals Everyday
A Change in Goals, a Setback – and an Update on the Experiment
Yet Another Goal Setting Stratgey: Make Goals a Priority
Positive Self Talk is a Goal Setting Technique That Helped Me Stay on Track
A Goal Setting Guide: 10 Things I Have Learnt About Goals
And the Goal Experiment Ends!
7 Steps For Goal Setting: Choosing Goals That Resonate WIth You