Goal Setting Steps

"The secret to productive goal setting is in establishing clearly defined goals, writing them down and then focusing on them several times a day with words, pictures and emotions as if we've already achieved them."

~ Denis Waitley


Goal setting steps are an important part of the process to achievement. But without a clear understand of the proper goal setting steps, you may feel unsure as to where to begin.

Goals provide us direction and focus. A goal without a measure or an action plan is just a hope or dream.




Setting goals is very important for both short term as well as long range desires, and is essential for accomplishing what you want in life. You will experience great satisfaction once you achieve your goal. Whenever you see anything worthwhile being accomplished, it is because someone is behind it with a passion, a belief and a goal.

There are a few specific goal setting steps that, if you follow, will make your goals more attainable.

The S.M.A.R.T. method is one formula of goal setting steps. The S.M.A.R.T. acronym stands for:

  • Specific

  • Measurable

  • Attainable

  • Realistic

  • Timely

Specific: Be clear and concise about your goal. The goal should be as specific as possible, with a benefit to attaining it. You may also want to list the result of not reaching the goal. This will strengthen your resolve to take the necessary action to achieve your goal.

Measurable: Quantify your goal. You should be able to see exactly how you are measuring up as you proceed with your goal.

Attainable: You should make your goal reasonable. It is important to set high goals, but goals that are unattainable are more detrimental than helpful. Make sure your goal is something that you can really accomplish.

Realistic: Your goal should be practical. Even though your goal may be ambitious, you should be able to reach it with the resources that you have available to you. Once you reach some of your goals, you will be motivated to continue with other, larger goals.

Timely: Set a timeline to achieve your goal. You should also prioritize each goal in time frames. You could give your goals time frames such as: immediate, within six months, one year from now, five years from now, ten years down the road, or even longer.





There are a variety of categories you can focus your attention on in the goal setting steps. They can include:

*Tangible Things - buy a new car, own a vacation home, have a boat

*Personal Development - learn to play the piano, study a foreign language, take a cooking class

*Academic or Education - take a college course, earn your degree, have a 3.5 GPA

*Health - lose weight, get fit, stop smoking, eat healthier

*Spiritual - meditate daily, attend your place of worship more often, pray more, feel closer to God

*Career - get a raise, receive an award, become head of a department within your company

*Financial - pay off your debt, increase your savings, have “x” amount in your retirement account

*Relationships - find a mate, spend more one-on-one time with your spouse, or get engaged or married

*Travel - tour Greece, visit the Grand Canyon, ride a motorcycle across the U.S.

You should visualize your goal as if it has already been accomplished. Try to be very detailed in your visualization. Close your eyes and envision how you will feel after having achieved that goal. Breathe deeply as you experience the pride of having realized your goal and being able to enjoy the end result. Smile, and take a few moments to soak in that feeling.

Positive self talk is also an important factor in accomplishing your goals. For more information, go to our positive self talk page.

I suggest you always write your goals down. This is one of the most important goal setting steps. It is well known that those who write their goals down are much more likely to accomplish them.

You can write them down in a goal journal or type them up on your computer and keep them in a file. When you write your goals down on paper or type them onto your computer, you are able to be much more detailed than you would be by simply stating them.

Your ultimate purpose is not just creating your goals and setting them, but achieving them in the end. Read tips for setting and achieving goals here.

Once accomplished, you will not only reap the benefit of what you have gained, but the feelings you will have of empowerment and accomplishment.



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