Setting goals for your personal and professional life can be exciting. However, that feeling can fade away as soon as you actually start working toward that goal.
Goals in general can be challenging as they often prompt you to change your life in a major or minor way. The key to reaching your goals is to be consistent when working through the process. Day 1 and the final day don’t matter nearly as much as the journey does.
Success starts with a solid strategy. Have you tried setting goals in the past and things didn’t work out? What strategy were you using if any? Below are some of the best goal-setting strategies (recommended by experts) that will help you finally break through.
1. SMART Goal Formula
One of the reasons why you haven’t been reaching goals in the past could be the fact that you’ve been setting the wrong goals in the first place. If you don’t know where to start when it comes to setting goals, start with the SMART goal formula.
SMART goals is an acronym to describe goals that are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-Bound. For example, setting a vague goal such as “I want to lose weight this year” probably won’t give you the best results.
Instead, you can say, I want to lose 40 pounds in 10 months by getting on a low-carb diet and exercising 4 days per week. That’s a much better goal that follows the SMART formula. You’re being specific by saying how much weight you want to lose, giving yourself a deadline so you know when to expect results, and specifying how you’ll reach your goal and measure your results over time.
RPM is a method coined by Tony Robbins that helps procrastinators finally get focused and get more done. Tony Robbins is a best-selling author, entrepreneur and talented motivational speaker who helps entrepreneurs get unstuck and reach their goals. He believes that success is 80 percent psychological and 20 percent strategic.
The RPM method serves as an alternative to traditional goal-setting methods and has 4 main steps.
Step 1: Write It All Down
Humans can only keep track of a few things in their head at one time. This is why it’s best to write things down. This initial step is important because a common reason why people fail to reach their goals is that they are overwhelmed and don’t know where to start. Writing down your ideas, action steps and so on allows you to get organized and clear up space in your mind.
Step 2: Start Chunking
It’s no secret that I’m a big fan of chunking your time for efficiency. In this step of Tony Robbins’ RPM method, you’ll group a few things in like categories which will create less clutter for your brain. Start with your list of ‘musts’ as they relate to your goals, then work your way down. That way, you’ll experience less stress and can avoid burning out while going after certain goals.
Step 3: Create Your RPM Blocks
Each RPM block represents a specific goal along with your plan for reaching the goal. You can start by naming your block with the category it falls under and record the results you want. Then, write down the purpose behind that result. Finally, you’ll create a list of priority actions that will help lead to your desired result. You can continue to follow this process for any additional goals you’re focusing on.
3. Start With Your Action Steps First
This isn’t a strict goal-setting formula per-say, but it is a unique way to approach goal setting if you’ve tried everything in the past and still failed.
Normally, when we set goals, the goal itself is our starting point. In his book, How to Change a Habit, Scott Young explains how sometimes we lack the understanding of how much work and effort it will take us to reach that awesome end goal.
We set goals, start to work on them for a few months. Then, realize things are a lot harder than they appeared originally and there’s no way we’ll reach the goal in the time allotted. Experiencing this can make you feel like a failure, but it’s not uncommon.
Instead, Scott recommends starting in the middle of the goal process by actually taking the action steps and working toward the results you want. Give yourself 30 days to a few months to do this then you’ll have a clearer understanding of how much time, effort, and dedication will be required on your end to meet that goal.
If you feel like you’re up for the task, only then can you move forward with setting a specific goal and process.
4. Run a SWOT Analysis
When setting your goals, you may want to run a SWOT analysis which can help you set more realistic expectations for the process. A SWOT analysis is often run in a business setting but you can use this method for your professional and personal goals.
SWOT is an acronym that stands for strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. When setting your new goals, you want to run it through this process to identify what you might face in each of the 4 areas.
It’s obvious that you have strengths and weaknesses and it’s important to be aware of how they could affect your ability to reach your goals. You also want to analyze any opportunities you may be able to take advantage of along the way along with any potential threats.
It’s nice to think that nothing bad will ever happen through the year but life is unexpected and often doesn’t work that way. By identifying potential threats and risks then preparing yourself, you can overcome them and get back on track when slip-ups do occur.
Being able to actually reach goals you set doesn’t have to be a lost cause. These 4 goal-setting methods barely touch the surface. If you’re ready to start making progress and stop feeling like you failed, I encourage you to test out different strategies to find the best goal-setting method for you.