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8 Steps to setting personal goals for 2020

Have you thought about where you will be or what you would likely be doing in five years time?
Jane Njoku
In the midst of your expectations for the future, you can get really frustrated when you plan and not see results, feeling like you are walking in circles

Setting personal goals is not some form of magic that will suddenly make your dreams come true with the snap of a finger, but they have the power to make your life more purposeful and give you something to look out for.

This is why people set personal goals.

If you have had challenges setting or achieving the goals that you have set already, continue reading...

I will share with you tips on how you can set your personal goals.

How to set your personal goals


Setting goals is not about writing unrealistic wishes about what you want for yourself, it is about challenging yourself to achieve more (but realistically).

Step 1: Think about what you want


Many people have only a broad idea of what they want for themselves to have a good life.

It is not bad to wish to have a good life, but it is vague. If you have this kind of goal it will be difficult for you to achieve results.

It is important you think about what you want. If you ultimately want a good life, then you should be able to pen down what a good life means to you. Once you can describe what a good life means to you, then it would be easy for you to build goals around it.

Asking yourself these questions to help you narrow down what you want:
  • What are the things that make me happy?
  • Why do these things make me happy?
  • What are the things that I can stop doing that will help me achieve ‘my happiness’?
  • What are the things that I do already that make me happy?
  • How can I do more of the things that make me happy?

At this stage, it is good for you to take a notepad and a pen and put down all the things that you love to do, and things that are important to you.

Step 2: Set 'Big Picture' goals or 'Life Time' goals


When you have an understanding of what you want ultimately, then you can now go ahead and set big-picture goals or life goals.

Setting lifetime goals or big-picture goals gives you an idea of what you want to achieve in your future. It gives you an overall view of different aspects of your life.

To set a big-picture goal, you may have to consider different areas of your life and what you want to achieve in those areas.

Consider the following:
  • Education – Is there any other knowledge that you want to acquire, what do you need to achieve that goal.
  • Career - What level do you want to get to in your career and what do you want to achieve
  • Finance – How much do you want to earn, at what stage, is it related to your career goals
  • Family – Do you look forward to being a parent, what do you need to achieve that goal.
  • Physical – Do you want to achieve physical fitness, what area of physical fitness do you want to concentrate on.

These are just a sample of big-picture or life goals that someone can probably set. You can come up with a better list of your own.

You will have to spend more time to brainstorm on the goals and select one goal that best reflects what you want to do. You can also cut down these goals so that you can have specific goals that you want to focus on.

Quick Tip: Make sure the goals that you have set are goals that you sincerely want to achieve.

Step 3: Set smaller goals


Once you have successfully set your big-picture goals or lifetime goals, then the next thing for you to do is to set smaller goals that would help you reach your big-picture goals.

To cut down your goals into smaller actionable ones, you can break it down into the following:
  • A 5-year plan goal that will help you achieve the big-picture goal.
  • A one-year plan goal.
  • Create a six-month plan goal.
  • One-month plan goal.
  • Weekly goals.
  • Daily to-do-list.<

You should keep in mind that each of these smaller goals should be based on the big-picture goals, and should also help you work towards the ultimate goals that you have created.

You can review your plan from time to time and make sure that they fit into the way you want to become.

Step 4: Set ‘SMART’ Goals


‘SMART’ refers to Specific. Measurable. Attainable. Relevant. Time-Bound.

Understand what each means:
  • Set Specific Goals


    Your goals should be specific, clear and well defined. Setting generalised goals will make it difficult for you to achieve success because the goals will be neither here nor there.

    Remember that you are setting goals to give you a sense of direction, so you should make it possible to achieve that by setting specific goals.

  • Set Measurable Goals


    It is important for you to set timelines for the goals that you created so that you can measure the degree of your success.

    For example, if your goal is to increase revenue for your business and you don’t set a measurement plan, how would you know when there is an increase or otherwise.

    If you just leave your goals at increase revenue for my business without setting up a measurement plan, you would not know the following:
    • When you achieve a revenue increase for your business at a particular month or year.
    • When you experience a decrease in your business revenue.
    • The plans or strategies that helped you achieve success.
    • The things you did wrong and what you should learn from.
    • If you are achieving your goals on arithmetic or geometric progressions.


  • Set Attainable Goals


    Don’t set unrealistic goals. You should make sure you set goals that are possible for you to achieve. If you set goals that are unrealistic and unattainable, you will end up feeling like you have failed at achieving success, and this can affect your confidence too.

    Notwithstanding, you should not set goals that are too easy to accomplish. You should set goals that are realistic yet challenging.

  • Set Relevant Goals


    You should set goals that are relevant to the direction you want your life to go. Keeping your goals aligned with the direction that you want your life to go will help you stay focused on achieving the bigger picture.

  • Set Time-Bound Goals


    When you are setting a goal, you should set time bounds or deadlines. Setting a deadline will help you know the following:
    • When you are lagging behind.
    • When you achieve success and when you should celebrate
    • Setting deadlines helps you develop the spirit of urgency that will push you to do more and eventually achieve more.

  • Step 5: Set Priorities


    It is important that you set priorities when you set goals especially if you set multiple goals. You should give each goal a priority.

    Setting priorities for each goal will help you stay on top of all your goals and will prevent you from being overwhelmed by setting too many goals. It will also give you a sense of direction in your goals.

    If you have several goals, you should set a scale of preference for your goals and how you want to achieve them.

    For example, if you have these goals:
    • Start my ACCA Program.
    • Start planning for a family.
    • Increase marketing for my business.

    You can now re-structure it based on your scale of preference. Some goals should come before others based on their importance.

    Step 6: Make an Action Plan


    As much as it is important to set goals, it is also good for you to have an action plan that will help you achieve the goals that you set.

    This is one of the most important aspects of setting goals. Many times, people are always focused on the outcome of their goals and not on the process that will lead to achievement.

    Writing out the individual steps that will lead to achieving the ultimate goal, and then crossing each step as you complete it will give you the direction you need to achieve your goals.

    If you set a big or demanding goal, it is important that you write down the steps so that you can re-visit it when you are confused.

    Step 7: Focus on Your Action Plan


    It is one thing to set a goal and it is another thing to make sure you achieve the goals. It is important for you to know that setting a goal is not an end on its own, but it is a means to an end.

    So if you don’t follow the processes that you made on your action plan, it may be difficult for you to achieve the ultimate goals.

    When you have created an action plan, try and build a reminder to keep yourself on track. It is good to make out time to review your goals.

    Step 8: Keep Track of Your Progress


    Writing down your goals and the processes of achieving them will help you keep track of your progress. Re-visiting your goals and the processes will help you take note of particular successes. Knowing that you are progressing with your goals will encourage you to work harder.

    Sometimes keeping track of your progress may not be easy, but you can even set up a process that will help you track your progress.

    For example;
    You can ask a friend to help you keep track of your progress depending on what you want to achieve. If you want to achieve working out every day, you can ask a friend to remind you of your plans and keep track of your processes.
    You can get a journal or a notepad to help you check progress along with the timelines that you have set.
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