“A goal is a dream with its work boots on.”

Dave Ramsey

Setting goals is the first step toward actually accomplishing a task and making progress in your life. We need goals (and Jesus 😉) to guide us, otherwise we would live in complete chaos with no direction. Goals provide order and allow for our dreams to come true.

Sounds cheesy, I know. But I believe that goal setting is one of those secrets to success that anyone can do!

The Simple Formula to Set and Accomplish Your Goals

What do you dream about for your life?

Do you dream of having a family, traveling the world, living on a farm, owning a house, or starting your own business?

Are your dreams small, like buying a new pair of shoes or getting a new haircut? Or are your dreams so big you can barely dream them, like becoming a UFC champion or building a multi-million-dollar company?

No matter what you’re dreaming about, you won’t accomplish it without setting a clear goal first.

The good news is that you can make your dreams a reality by learning the skill of goal setting, creating a detailed plan, and making consistent progress.

As John C. Maxwell famously says: “Consistency compounds.”

This means that by making small progress consistently, eventually you’ll achieve exponential results. You’ll be accomplishing your dreams in no time!

What is goal setting?

Throughout my life, I have spent a lot of time learning the best ways to set a goal. Some say that you must use the SMART goal setting process, while others swear that SMART goals have too many flaws.

In case you haven’t heard of it before now, the “SMART” acronym for setting goals stands for:

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Achievable
  • Realistic
  • Time-bound

Try not to get too caught up in the details of goal setting. Everyone is different, so focus on what works best for you. Below I will list what techniques work best for me and you can try them out until you find the right process for you.

Tips and tricks for accomplishing your goals

Physically write your goal down.

Writing things down with pen and paper has been proven to help with memorization. Not that you need to memorize your goal verbatim, but it helps to remember your goal so you can be constantly working toward accomplishing it.

This is especially useful for financial goals like paying off debt. You’d love to forget that goal when lunch time comes around or you see a sale at your favorite shop. The temptation of spending money happens all day, every day, and you need to combat that temptation with constant reminders of your big goal.

Keep your goal front-of-mind.

Write down your goal on a sticky note and post it on your bathroom mirror, in your closet, on your desk at work, in your wallet, on your fridge, and anywhere else you look daily so that you can be reminded of your goal often.

Along with physically writing your goal down, it is helpful to have several reminders in order to avoid overspending on unnecessary items. Do whatever it takes to avoid sabotaging your goal.

Know your why.

What is motivating you to work toward completing this goal? What motivated you to even come up with this goal? Why do you want to accomplish your goal?

Stay focused on ONE goal at a time.

When I don’t stick to only one goal, I am easily distracted anytime I am faced with a challenge. I’ll move on to another goal and focus on that until I hit a roadblock, then none of my goals ever get accomplished. Every goal will have challenges, so focusing on only one goal is a good way to force yourself to work through challenges as they arise rather than avoiding them.

Once you have accomplished your main goal, then you can move on to the next. Trying to achieve multiple goals at once, especially if they are conflicting goals, often wastes both time and effort.

For example, losing weight and paying off debt can be conflicting goals if you choose to spend extra money on things like healthier foods and a gym membership. Spending money intentionally is a positive for your weight-loss goal, but a negative for your debt payoff goal since you should rarely be spending any extra money.

Be specific and make a plan.

Try to avoid the mistake of focusing on more than one goal by getting really clear on your specific goal. Outline all the steps it will take to accomplish it and plan out when you will complete each step. Then, make a commitment to yourself that you will not start another goal until this one is complete.

Do research and prepare for any obstacles.

In any goal, you are likely to run into a hurdle that you don’t know how to get over. Make sure to take the time to research and prepare for this. Learn consistently from others who have achieved your goal. If you want to lose weight, follow a weight-loss expert. If you want to save money or pay off debt, follow a financial guru. There are experts everywhere and many even offer their expertise for free.

Set a time-limit, give yourself a little more time than you think you’ll need.

For many, having a time-bound goal is imperative for accomplishing it, because they need the pressure of a deadline to get going. For others, a time-bound goal can feel like a constraint that adds unnecessary pressure, causing them to panic and give up.

Having a plan is important, but it is also important not to be too strict with your time-limit. The most important thing is to accomplish the goal, so who cares if it takes a week or two longer than you planned. Instead of setting a strict time-line, try setting a loose structure with a lot of space and wiggle-room.

Maybe you’ll accomplish the goal faster, or maybe slower, but you’ll accomplish the goal and that’s all that matters. Plan “buffer” time in your schedule for catching up on any tasks you might have fallen behind on. Life gets chaotic sometimes, so try not to be too hard on yourself.

Start small and take action.

Take one to three small steps each day to set yourself up for success. Eventually, you may have to invest more time to your goal, but starting is the hardest part.

Find an accountability partner.

It is also a good idea to tell someone else about your goal who will hold you accountable. Choose someone who you trust and know will encourage you. This doesn’t work for everyone, but at least give it a try so you’ll know what works and what doesn’t.

Having a friend who will check in with you regularly about your goal can be a great way to motivate you to keep making progress, even if it’s small. Depending on your personality, try choosing someone who will effectively motivate you.

Someone who is strict and might punish you for not meeting a deadline may be a good choice if you need that extra push. If you already put a lot of pressure on yourself, someone who is kind and gentle with their encouragement may be a better option.

Cut yourself some slack and be patient.

Change is hard, so remember to go easy on yourself. I am still working on this one myself and it is a constant battle. But at the end of the day, I remind myself that I am far better off than I was 5 years ago, 1 year ago, or even 1 month ago. As long as you work to constantly improve and make progress (to be slightly better 😉), you’ll achieve whatever goal you are working toward. Slow progress is still progress, friends!

Remember this great quote from Dave Ramsey: “Crock pot mentality always defeats microwave mentality!”

Related Post: How To Apply Grace in Your Life to Help You Achieve Your Goals

Celebrate the wins.

This is going to look different for every goal, but be sure to reward yourself for the progress you make along the way. You should be having fun! This is your life after all.

Is your goal to become debt-free? Let me help! Sign up for my FREE eBook (plus, get exclusive updates about our website):

Limiting beliefs

A limiting belief is something that you tell yourself repeatedly that prevents you from making progress in a specific area. These beliefs hold you back from making your dream a reality.

For instance, if you want to start a business, a limiting belief might be that no one will pay for your product or service. Believing this will likely prevent you from working toward that dream or goal.

First, you must identify any limiting beliefs you have regarding the goal you’ve set. Then you’ll be able to come up with thoughts you can tell yourself, contrary to your limiting belief.

Instead of thinking “no one will pay for this product or service”, you can train your brain to think “I can help someone with my skills, talents, product, etc.”

You’ll have an easier time coming up with specific, positive thoughts when you are clear about what limiting beliefs are holding you back. The point is to remove any negative self-talk that will prevent you from making progress toward your goals and dreams.

Finding happiness along the journey

Setting a goal with the hope that you’ll find happiness once you achieve it is like searching for the pot of gold at the end of a rainbow. It doesn’t exist, because happiness doesn’t come from anything external.

“Once I reach this goal, then I’ll be happy.” People think and believe this lie, but if you aren’t happy now, you won’t be after one small change. Happiness is a choice you make internally.

Instead of trying to reach your goal and then finding happiness, make the choice to be happy while trying to reach your goal. Find happiness in the journey.

Having a daily gratitude practice is a great way to improve your happiness, because you’ll become more aware of the things around you that bring joy!

Another way to find happiness in the journey is to hold a growth mindset. If you don’t already live this way, decide right now to shift your mindset toward constant learning and growth.

By focusing on learning, growth, and self-improvement every single day, wouldn’t that take away the anxiety or stress of constantly striving for the finish line?

Remove the finish line and think thoughts like, “I have today to take as many small steps toward my goal as I can. If I don’t meet today’s goals, I still have tomorrow.”

As long as you never stop moving forward, you will eventually reach your goal.

And if you are happy while you’re doing it, at the end of each goal you’ll simply start a new goal. What you accomplish will grow exponentially!

Make your dreams come true, and be happy while you’re doing it.