7 Goal Setting Tips for Success

These 7 goal setting tips for success can be the reason why one person loves what they do and moves up the ladder of success and the other finds their work or life lacking purpose or vision. Do you find that you set goals only to set them again, and again. It can be frustrating to set your goals only to find that you are falling short. Here I provide tips to set and achieve your goals. These tips include:

  1. Setting SMART goals
  2. Putting pen to paper on goal setting forms or investing in goal setting software to do it for you
  3. Setting short-term goals that align to your BIG JUICY long-term goal
  4. Not setting and forgetting your goals
  5. Ranking your goals and focusing your attention on the top ones.
  6. Set process and performance goals, not just outcome goals
  7. Set STRETCH goals that are motivating

Whatever your goal, hese goal setting tips provide you with a success mindset to achieve.

1. Set SMART goals

Often inexperienced goal setters will set quite vague goals. Goal setting theory and personal experience with clients suggest that the more specific your goal the stronger the goal and the stronger your commitment to the goal. This makes it important to set SMART goals which you can do with our printable template.

For example, setting a goal to:

  • “To sail around the world” is a general goal and could be stronger by transforming the goal to “To have sailed around the world by March 2014”, or
  • “Getting fitter” is a vague goal that could be more specific such as “I want to exercise 5 times a week for 30 minutes each time”

By setting specific and measurable goals you have a clear target that you can focus on and you know exactly when you have achieved it (or not).

Goal Setting Tip: When setting goals think of words such as: how much, number of times, distance, lost, gained, how long, and so forth. Goal setting software helps in measuring and tracking your goal progress.

2. Put pen to paper or use goal setting software

SMART goals should be changed to SMARTI goals.


Because your goals are much stronger when you have put the Ink to paper.

The weakest pen is better than the strongest memory when it comes to goal setting.

By writing your goals down on these goal setting forms you bring your goals from the abstract to the concrete, from the subconscious to the conscious.

Alternatively consider Achieve Planner's 30 day free trial of goal setting software.

3. Set short-term goals

When I examine the goals of athletes, students and work professionals, a common mistake they make is that the do not set short-term goals. They have these BIG goals…I want to win the Olympics, become president of the company, or lose 40 pounds.

While these goals are great, you are much more likely to achieve goal setting success if you have a blueprint of supporting actions that move you step-by-step towards your goal.

These goal setting templates help you to break your BIG JUICY goals into easier and more immediate short-term goals.

4. Focus your attention on the most important goals

Don't let your motivation for setting goals frustrate your ability to achieve them. One of the natural mistakes that people often make is that they set too many goals too soon.

It is not uncommon for the people that I see to set 10 specific goals. But this usually has negative results. If you have too many goals your attention and effort is less focused and you are likely to feel overwhelmed.

In short, you spread yourself too thin.

Take a closer look at your goals and prioritize them with this goal setting activity. Alternatively this goal setting worksheet enables you clarify those life areas that are most important to you.

Goal setting tip #5: Don't set and forget your goals

Life happens….over time your priorities and circumstances may change and you need to be flexible in your approach to goal setting. This does not mean that you change your goals every time something crops up....of course not.....but it does mean that you regularly review your goals.

Research on athletes and top business people show that regularly reviewing your goals maximizes your chances of goal setting success. Goal setting software is a great tool for monitoring and adjusting your goals.

Goal setting tip #6: Set realistic goals

Easy goals are easy to forget. On the other hand, goals that are too difficult set you up for failure and dampen your self-esteem. For example,

  • if you are a couch potato there is little use in setting a goal to run a marathon in two weeks.
  • if you have just left college you can’t expect to land a job as the CEO of a company.

By setting unrealistic goals you are setting yourself up for failure. The types of goal that you want are STRETCH goals.

If I could get you to picture a cookie jar on the top shelf....just out of reach! But if you stretch you can just touch that cookie jar, and if you get on your tippy toes...This is the type of goal that you want to set.

One of the best goal setting strategies is to set stretch goals so that if you really focus and try, you have a good chance of success.

Goal setting tip #7: Focus on performance and process goals, not just outcome goals

When I ask my clients to set goals, they generally set outcome goals. They have a goal of

  • winning the Olympics, 
  • becoming a CEO of a multinational company, or 
  • getting the best mark in the class.

This tremendous emphasis on winning can be destructive to your goal setting strategies. Outcome goals are somewhat out of your control. You cannot control another person’s ability or performance. The only thing you can control is your performance.

So try to set goals that are less outcome based, and more focused on your own individual success.

Some other goal setting tips include:

  • Frame your goals in positive statements
  • Write your goals where you can see them and reward yourself
  • Pick goals which are most important to you
  • Have goals that are in line with your vision or your company’s mission
  • Setting goals in areas that you can control
  • Make a public commitment to your goal (note choose your person carefully).

If you liked these goal setting tips then you will also like this goal setting course.

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