How To Choose The Correct Goals [An In-Depth Overview]

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Choosing which goals to set is never easy. It’s a lot of back and forth, and for many, it’s a game of never getting started at all. The amount of potential that can sometimes be squandered by individuals is more mind-blowing then the human eye probably recognizes. Most people have dreams and aspirations but never take any active steps to do anything about it.  Why is this? It’s a combination of many things. A big part of it, however, is just not knowing how to choose the correct goals.

Getting started on the right foot and choosing the correct goals from the get-go is a massive boost in the correct direction and where it can go wrong for so many individuals. Many factors go into choosing the correct goals and placing them in an excellent order to achieve and reach the more significant milestones. We talk about this often in many of our other posts.

What’s Our Goal and Plan for You Today?

This post is designed specifically to help guard you against choosing the wrong goals, to begin with, and to get on a path toward setting the right goals right out of the gate. The hopes being that if you have a leg up on what to expect and can effectively choose goals that are obtainable and fit your mindset, that we can be on the path toward success and achieving them.

By no means does this make the process easy. Achieving anything in life that’s worthwhile or leaves lasting impacts takes hard work, discipline, and the correct mindset. No worries, we will cover all these factors and get down to the small details. Following this post, we want you to be locked and loaded and ready to steam through some small wins, build some confidence and completely shift your thinking about goals. Anything you want to achieve, you most likely can. Let’s get down to business.

Understand the Three Types of Goals- What Are You Looking For?

Before doing anything, you need to understand what options you even have. You have short-term goals, long-term goals, and lifetime goals. Sometimes you also have what’s known as mid-term goals. If you don’t have a clear understanding of this, you can visit our post about long-term and short-term goals here.

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Once you have a clear understanding of the differences, it’s essential to get a blend of them all. This is when synergy and focus will come into play. You see just a few short-term goals is excellent. They are achievable and don’t take a crazy amount of time to complete. What happens when they are done? Now, where are you going?

I can give you a clue. Most likely nowhere. Short-term goals should be built toward achieving long term goals which ultimately lead to achieving your lifetime goals (the most important goals). Gain a solid understanding of the difference and picture each form of goals as your Lego/building blocks toward achieving the next step up. This is an example of proper planning and execution. During this process, don’t ignore what’s known as smart goals. Let’s break these down next.

Consider A Smart Goal- 5 Smart Goals to Consider Before Moving Forward

A smart goal is something that seems to be coming out of the woodwork much more in recent time.  A smart goal ties in perfectly to the point we are trying to illustrate in this post. When using smart goals, you are going to go through a series of smart planning and evaluation of your goals and ideas.

Here is How A Smart Goal Is Broken Down

S- Specific

With smart goals, the idea is to be as specific as possible. Being general is when these goals begin to falter. We have used this example before but let’s use it again. Let’s say you set a goal that states, “I want to lose 40 pounds”.

This would be considered a general goal. With smart goals and planning, you would restructure this into something more specific. Here’s an example. “I want to lose 2 pounds a week over the next 20 weeks”. From here, the planning becomes much more comfortable to the roadmap and get into gear.

Asking even deeper questions during this stage can help immensely as well.

  • Why exactly do you want to achieve this goal? Health? Physical Appearance?
  • How are you going to do?
  • What setbacks can you expect to pop up along the way?

M- Measurable

The second letter and phase of smart goal setting come down to choosing goals that are measurable. Don’t worry, we are going to dive deeper into this later in the post as well. Your goal needs to have natural methods of measuring progress.

Can you track the calories you will consume? Can you trace the time you spend in a gym and weigh in weekly? Yes. You can. This would be a good start with a smart goal due to the simple fact that the progress is easily measurable.

A-Attainable

Your goals need to be possible and realistic. We will also touch on this later in this post. Is the goal you are setting out to achieve something that’s doable? To figure this out, you need to understand your limitations and yourself. Will you be able to handle the work involved? Do you have the fight inside of you to push through tough times and rough patches? If it’s not, you need to adjust. If it is, you can move onto step 4 of setting smart goals.

R-Relevant

The goal you are setting needs to be relevant. Does it even make sense in the big picture of what you are trying to achieve? Will it lead to results that will truly impact your life? How does it tie into other goals and other areas of your life?

T-Timely

Goals should be obtainable in a specific and short enough period that you can track progress and see results. In life, time is too valuable not to factor this into goals. You need deadlines for your goals. Hard deadlines. We as humans naturally need to get things done to feel some self-accomplishment and build momentum toward future endeavors. Is your goal something that can be obtained in a reasonable amount of time or is likely the clock will run out on you chasing this dream? I hate to say it but being realistic about issues and items like this during goal setting is an absolute must.

Once you have implemented some smart goal setting approached and techniques, it’s time to dive into yourself a bit to see what makes the most sense for you. Let’s get into your head a bit and see what this looks like.

Understand What You Really Want and What Would Benefit Your Most

Understanding what truly matters to you is one of the most crucial pieces of the puzzle. If the goal has no meaning and you aren’t excited day in and day out toward achieving something more significant, your goal may ultimately die and become nothing more than a week-long dream. Why are you trying to make and what you are setting your goals for? Why is it important and how much of an impact will it have on your life?

Is it game-changing or just kind of “blah” if you achieve the goal or if you don’t? Make sure to understand your wants, needs, and personality when setting goals and have an apparent reason why and a clear image in your head of the benefits that achieving this goal would provide you and your family.

Critically Think About Who Else Your Goals Will Impact- Not Just Yourself

Sometimes our motivation comes from a deeper place. I love this when it comes to goal setting. It means you can remain selfless and not display pure selfishness. Listen, achieving goals for you and you only is necessary, and it should be front of mind. However, achieving goals because of the impact it can have for others is equally motivating and a great place to start.

If you achieve your goals, will it impact your family, friends, church or community? These are worthy and great goals and provide plenty of sparks to push through and make a difference in the world. Be sure to have an apparent reason behind goals as stated previously and understand who all will be impacted by your goals faltering or being achieved.

Determine and Differentiate Business Goals Vs. Personal Goals

Some people have a tough time realizing that these are two completely different things and categories of setting goals. One side of the fence is apparently going to advance your business, and the other side of the wall is going to make a big difference in your personal life.

Now, keep in that mind that although they aren’t interchangeable, they can work together. Business goals can undoubtedly impact and improve your personal life and vice versa. It’s essential to have both but don’t lose sight of the big picture. Learning to categorize and prioritize goals is a “must-do” task in the process.

Let’s take a dive one step deeper in the process and discuss habits.

Critically Analyze and Understand Your Habits and Personality

Your personality and personal habits can be a sure-fire way that goals can come to a screaming halt. They can also be a driving force as to why goals can steam forward and be accomplished. The problem isn’t necessarily the habits you have but your failure to recognize your strengths and weaknesses. Are you easily distracted or terrible with time management?

This is a problem and needs, and your goals should be adjusted accordingly. Are you OCD and an early riser who merely knows how to get **** done? This can be a tremendous strength, but failure to recognize you are this person will still serve you nothing positive. Understand yourself and tailor your goals to exploit and take advantage of your positives. Ignore the rest.

If you have a weakness, ignore it for now and double down on strengths. Learning to recognize these traits and utilize them is a significant edge over the competition and a significant leg forward toward achieving goals not just now but for years to come.

Now let’s revert to the some of the beginning statements of the post and determine if what you are chasing is something you will ever ultimately be able to catch.

Be Honest with Yourself. Is Your Goal Sustainable Long Term? Will It Work?

Now it’s time to look at the person in the mirror. Does your goal even make sense and is it something you can honestly not only see yourself accomplishing but staying interested in? You see, everyone wants to set these monsters goals and all they picture is the washboard abs that may come with a healthy diet and workout plan. They don’t factor in how long it could take or all the failures you may experience in the future trying to achieve these goals.

Is your goal sustainable and is your goal something that can honestly fit into your personality traits, lifestyle and free time that you have now? If it’s not, you should adjust before starting. This doesn’t mean to just give up on the idea altogether but what it does say is to adjust in a manner that makes sense such as setting a small, short-term goal or even writing down possible failures you are going to face along the way so that you are prepared.

Stay honest with yourself and make your goals are something you can genuinely picture achieving. Now let’s move into if you even have the resources available to accomplish your goals.

Do You Have the Resources in Place to Achieve These Goals?

Understanding your limitations and resources is another great way to make sure you set the right goals. Do you have time to pursue what you are chasing? If you don’t, are you willing to make time or give up something else in life that currently eats up the clock?

Do you have the money to expand to 25 employees this year? If not, how do you intend on getting these funds? These are examples of why it’s so important to have proper planning and deep digging into goals before just chasing a blind dream around in circles. Make sure you have the resources in place and if you don’t make that goal #1. Obtain the funds toward reaching your dream and aspirations.

Will You Remain Interested or Get Bored and Give Up?

Is your goal something honestly interest you? If it’s not, this is a clear-cut answer that you shouldn’t ignore. This plays a significant role in making sure you are choosing the right goals before beginning. If you have the goal of starting an online business that’s great. However, do online business and marketing appeal to you? Do you get lost for hours for no reason at all reading and researching ways to do this and find pure joy in the process?

This is purely just doing what you love, so it never feels like work. If you do this, you will reach much taller mountains. Make sure your goal fits your personality and has interest to you. If it doesn’t, it will be squashed at roadblock number 1 or the first time you hit a roadblock. Find your passion and get started.

Now we need to get into some of the more delicate details and logistics of goals setting before going any further.

Can Success, Failure, and Issues Along the Way Be Tracked and Recorded?

We touched on this some previously, but it’s essential to re-discuss it. Can you track your goals? Can you log and clearly see when you have failed and when something has gone right? If you can’t, how do you know how to adjust and make the correct decision the next time around? You don’t, and this is a huge problem when you run into this situation.

If you are brand new to goal setting, this is even more important. You need the ability to measure progress because if you can’t, things will get lost along the way and you won’t know when something is moving in the right direction. Sometimes a success feels, but if you can’t duplicate the process, the overall chances of keeping this flow moving in a positive direction are slim to none.

The same can be said for failures. If you can’t learn from mistakes or notice them when they are happening, this can be a huge problem. Half of the goal setting is merely learning how to pivot and adjust when something goes wrong. If you don’t, you can never grow or move into the next level of success. Make sure, especially in the beginning, to pick goals that are easily trackable and measurable so that you can make the proper adjustments when necessary.

Now, we need to understand the punches you are about to take straight to the face. This part is never fun but it’s coming and being prepared is key towards doing things the right way.

How Many Potential Goal Hazards and Roadblocks Will Your Goals Face?

Learning to recognize what’s about to blast you square in the nose is a huge advantage in goal setting. If you are planning on launching a new business and out-competing everyone, who will be throwing the punches? If you plan on quitting smoking, who will be the friend that tempts you to have a cigarette from time to time? What’s going to be the first roadblock and how are you going to swerve around it.

Without a plan in place ahead of time, you most likely take the bait and get derailed from time to time. However, if you can evaluate and execute and have a plan of action for when that punches are traveling toward your face, you may be able to make that slight pivot to avoid, and it strikes back. Careful planning and knowing what’s to come will always go a long way when trying to reach success.

Stay focused and disciplined and anticipate what’s ahead. Now we need to cover the difference between being smart and collected but still having the potential to explode and take massive action.

Can You Take Massive Action but Still Remain Calm and Collected?

When choosing the right goals, you want to attempt to strike a nice healthy balance. What do I mean by this? Well, you need the ability to wake up and spring out of bed jacked up and ready to go. However, you also need the ability to downshift and stay calm and collected. Can you get excited and take massive actions toward your goals? Can you also learn to take a step out and downshift into critical thinking and problem-solving mode?

You see, being excited day in and day out is the entire point. However, in most circumstances when problems arise that excitement can cool down and you need the ability to make fast rational decisions and figure out what’s next. Do your goals have this ability to allow you to do this? If they don’t, want changes can we make to get them more aligned toward being a great goal to set?

Is Your Goal Real or Just A Dream?

Are you just daydreaming, and your goal can never realistically be accomplished, or you know in your heart you will never have the courage to act or do something about it? If so, you are just dreaming, and it’s tough to translate this to actions, steps, and anything that progress can be measured with.

Be sure to understand if your goal is a real accomplishment you can envision making happen or if you are just daydreaming while watching “Shark Tank.” There is a big difference. Dreams are just dreams and will lead to disappointment, but goals can make things happen.

Remember that and get busy. Now we need to see the end game and what potential you really have before choosing the correct goals to set.

Can You Picture the Ending Point or The Top of The Mountain?

Can you see the end of the road? Can you see yourself standing on top or accomplishing these goals? This can be a long way away, but it’s essential you can picture yourself in the driver’s seat and taking full control of your goals. Do you have a clear path of climbing the mountain and when you reach that point, can you sustain it, and do you know what you’re going to do next?

Analyzing these scenarios clarify if what you are chasing is achievable and if you can realistically use the law of attraction to will your goals and dreams into reality. If you struggle with this aspect of goal setting, it may not be a flaw in you but a weakness with the original goal you have set.

Have You Found the Reason Why Before Goal Setting?

It’s tough to write any blog posts about goal setting and to achieve dreams without mentioning this portion of goal setting. The reason why. It’s so important and always be. No apparent reason why behind a goal is a guaranteed way that it’s not going to happen. If it does happen, it’s likely you find a way to allow the results to diminish or fade over time. You have to dig deep, and you have to a strong reason to set the goals in the first place. The reason why will always be the fuel in the tank, and he is driving force behind all well-chosen goals.

Not to mention, “the reason why,” will always be a fighting force to all the other caveats with goal setting. A strong reason will defeat and overcome failures, naysayers, time management issues and much more. It’s your one-way ticket to being able to move mountains if it’s strong enough. Take a minute and reflect why you want to achieve these goals so bad and make sure it’s a damn good reason.

When you learn this skill and execute accordingly, you can become unstoppable in a hurry.

Putting It All Together- Choosing the Correct Goals from Day 1 Is Imperative

You see, although challenging, useful goal setting is more straightforward in nature than many believe. It takes some careful planning and analysis in the beginning stages, but this is short lived. Once you know that you have some worth-while goals set and an action plan in place, things become much more comfortable.  Breaking goals down in the fashion we have illustrated above is a great start.

You always want to ensure that goals are achievable and fit your personality type. Also, understanding your inner-self and if you can handle the challenges upcoming gives you a leg up over the competition and an added advantage against yourself. Sometimes it’s only you that you are competing with. Change your mindset, develop a work ethic and stay laser focused and you will be cruising toward new accomplishments way sooner than you may have expected. Although challenging, it’s that easy folks.

Now, get after it! What are the best goals you have set in the past? Did you use a similar approach to determine if they were the best fit possible for you and your personality/aspirations? Drop a comment below and best of luck toward achieving your dreams.

About the author

Joshua Martin


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