Goal Setting Activity – Steps to Set Goals

This goal setting activity provides six steps to setting goals that excite and inspire you. These are easy steps, but they are NOT simple. For these steps, and your goal setting, to be effective, you should take the time and effort to follow each step completely. . . no short-cuts!

1. Understand Yourself

The first step in our goal setting activity is really the foundation. Take time to really reflect on who you are and why you are here. Too often, we set goals that are important to others rather than ourselves. Step back and ask. . . What is it that excites you? What gets you up and moving in the morning? How do you currently spend your time? What are you doing when you feel most fulfilled?

2. Identify What You Want

You would think this next step in our goal setting activity would be easy, but often times it is not. In fact, I believe the single-most reason we do not get what we want from life is that we do not KNOW what we want! This step WILL be easier if you've spent some time getting to know and understand yourself (Step 1). Write your goals down and take the time to describe, in as much detail as possible, what you want from your life. Describing your goals in detail helps to make them real to you.

3. Determine Your Goals

Here's where we get to the "meat" of our goal setting activity. Be sure your goals are specific and measurable. Making goals measurable erases the doubt of knowing when you have accomplished your goal. SMART Goals describes five key criteria for establishing effective goals.

Write your goals down on paper. Research has shown that the physical activity of writing our goals helps solidify them in our minds – consciously and sub-consciously.

It is also important to write down WHY you want to accomplish each goal. The key here is to create a strong emotional trigger to the goal. This will help reinforce your actions and can help you through any challenges or obstacles. Just knowing something is important or the "right" thing to do is not enough. . . I can give countless examples of having the knowledge or information to do something, yet people do things that actually hurt instead of help themselves.

  • The quotations about Excellence really charge me up for setting my goals.

4. Develop Your Action Plan

The next step in our goal setting activity is to create an Action Plan that details the steps you will take to accomplish your goal. Include deadlines for completing each step and the resources you will need – time, money, information, other people, etc. Sometimes, acquiring the resources will need to be added as a specific step, however gathering this information for your goal will help you see how you might need to manage and prioritize limited resources.

5. Take Action

As Nike says, "Just Do It!" Here's where it's really important to have a strong WHY for each of your goals. Review these often and build momentum to carry you forward by taking action!

6. Review and Evaluate Your Progress

Periodically, review your progress toward achieving your goals. This will help let you know that you are on track, or it may trigger that you should consider making mid-course corrections to your Action Plan.

You may even determine that you goal has changed. This is okay! Life circumstances change and different things become more or less important in our lives. Don't be afraid to change your goals as you change. Otherwise, you will likely lose energy and momentum trying to pursue goals that are no longer as important to you.

Finally, don't forget to CELEBRATE. Not just when you accomplish your goals, but as you make progress toward them. You will often find the journey is more meaningful than the destination.

  • If you're tempted to skip this step, take a look at the Learning and Failure quotes to reinforce the benefit of reflecting on your efforts and the results they produced.

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