How to Set and Achieve Your Goals

Very few people understand how to set goals. Even fewer people know how to set goals effectively. Great people in every generation used goal setting as a strategic tools to arrive at their mission and ambition. When considered in comparison, goal setting is similar to a road map that guides a person on a journey to a destination. A lot of people believe that goal setting has nothing to do with success and achievement. They even site examples of people who reached great heights without setting goals. It is true that dozens of people make significant progress in life without any formal goal setting procedure, but research proves that every great achievement is backed by a level of mental picture of the predictable outcome.

One can achieve success without formal goal setting, but no one can achieve significant success without consistent goal setting and appropriate metrics. The essence of goal setting is to have a definite system of performance accountability. Goal setting in the cooperate world is called target, while in the academic world, it is referred to as grades. In the military, it is called a mission. Every successful organization has a system of keeping its staff and workers committed to a specific, measurable, realistic, and achievable target. This target, in essence, is a type of goal. If a person does not write down his dreams, it doesn’t mean they don’t have plans. Even though most people don’t write down their goals, they still chart a path in their minds to guide them on the journey to their dreams and vision.

Some who set goals often find it challenging to reach their goals, and some even experience difficulty staying consistent in pursuing their dreams. The frequent failure in achieving stated objectives results from several underlying reasons: indiscipline, lack of personal accountability, poor concentration, incompetence, etcetera which are evident in the life of people who fall short of their goals. A lot of valuable frameworks exist today which could serve as a tool for practical goal setting: The most widely used framework being the SMART framework. The SMART framework has been around for quite some time now, and many people have come to accept it as an excellent tool for practical goal setting. SMART is an acronym derived from the first letters of these words: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound.

When setting goals, it is essential to follow this framework: especially if one wants to set practical goals. Doing so would make it easy to set goals strategic goals that yield results. This article explores essential steps that can enhance realistic goal setting and how to apply these steps. But, Before setting goals, it is crucial to start with the end in mind. Goal setting is not an end in itself; it is a means to an end. The purpose of goal setting is not just to undertake the actions; it is a practical way of designing a path that leads to the desired vision, dream, or destination. Hence, it is vital to hold a picture of one’s aspiration in mind when setting goals. Holding this vision in mind would ensure that the set goals would result in the desired destination. Here is a step by step break down of the SMART framework:

Set Specific Goals.

Every goal-getter knows and understands the importance of being specific when stating a goal. Make your goals short and simple. When setting your goal, you need to include every detail that would ease the execution of the plan. A specific goal would answer all the “wh” questions: Who, where, what, how, when, why. By being detailed, it makes it easy to plan every action that would result in the realization of such a goal. Specificity in goal-setting aids clarity and focus. Everyone Involved in the goal would understand the details of the plan. Here is an example of a specific goal compared with an unspecific goal.
I will eat tomorrow morning:

what would you eat?

This goal is unspecific, and this shows why this person would waste considerable time in the morning thinking about what to eat instead of just going straight to eat.

I will eat bread and butter tomorrow morning.

What would you eat?

Bread and butter: a definite goal.

A Goal Must Be Measurable

Before one can judge a goal as successful, there must be an accomplished result. When setting a goal, clearly state the expected outcome of every action. There must be some stated criteria that would measure progress. Considering the previous example;

I will eat bread tomorrow morning.

How would you judge success or failure?

If he eats bread and butter, he is successful.

If he eats anything besides bread and butter, he failed.

Even if he eats bread alone, it is a considerable failure.

A Goal Must Be Achievable

Merely stating specific goals with measurable milestones is not enough. One has to consider the set goal. Is it possible to achieve this kind of goal? Considering resources available and obstacles to surmount, is the goal within the limits of your abilities? Without the help, capacity, and competence to achieve a goal, failure might be unavoidable. SMART goals must be attainable. The best way to check if a goal is achievable is to break it into smaller steps. If each of these minor steps is achievable, the overall plan would be feasible.

A goal must be realistic

Goals are not wishful thinking and extraordinarily ambitious dreams. Compare smart goals with previous achievements of great people: If a goal is sounding too supernatural, it might be an indication of an unrealistic goal. One of the most significant indicators of an overambitious goal is to consider if something similar exists. Look around at other people’s achievements, what they have done; this should give a hint of how realistic a goal is. If no one is doing what you dream of doing, you should be careful with such dreams. It might be at the extreme end of ambition. There must be humanly possible means of reaching your goals.

A Goal Must be Time-bound

A smart goal has a specified time limit. There should be a time boundary to guide the duration within which a goal comes true. A smart goal should have an open date when it starts and a close date when the result shows up.

Mind Your Goal:

Minding your goal here is not interpreted as being careful of your plan; it is, instead, a pun that should mean keep your goal in mind. Writing down your goals can prompt you to file them away or close the book and forget about them. This action would quickly lead to unrealized dreams. After writing down your smart goals, you must constantly revisit your goals to keep them fresh in your mind and maintain a sense of urgency. One way to ensure that you mind your goals is by reading them constantly. Napoleon Hill, the author of Think and Grow Rich, advised that a goal-getter should read through the list of goals at least twice a day. Grant Cardone, one of the most outstanding sales experts globally, suggests that one should read through the goal at least once a day. Constantly reading through the list of goals helps you develop a sense of purpose and a new surge of motivation. Another way to mind your goal is to get an accountability partner. The essence of the accountability partner is to give you a person that would constantly follow up with you to check if you are consistent in
the pursuit of your goal.


Every race and journeys of life would happen between two steps: the first step and the last step. When you finally set your goals, you need to take that first step that would lead you towards your goal, and you need to understand that, no matter the obstacle on your path, your goal goal is not realized until you take that last step that finishes the goal. It only starts at goal setting; it is not over until the last step.