Posted by:
Rachel Hartman

Rachel Hartman

December 18, 2014

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Set Goals—and Reach Them

The sky’s the limit…but if your goal list takes up an entire notebook, you might be setting yourself up for disappointment. By establishing smart goals, however, you’ll be able to take charge of your life. Follow these steps to set practical, maintainable goals that will keep you feeling motivated and accomplished.

Write it down. Have you been dreaming about getting a raise or buying a house? Get your thoughts down on paper. If you have your goals written out, you’ll be much more likely to reach them. For a large goal, like getting a big promotion, jot down the steps you can take to get there. By laying out a path to follow, you’ll stay on track.

Be positive. After you’ve written down a goal, take a second look at it. Make sure it’s stated in a positive way. Having a goal such as “Eat healthier for the next three months” is better than “Don’t eat junk food ever again.” Positively stated goals will keep you feeling encouraged rather than disappointed with yourself.

Include time frames. Upping your salary is a solid thought, but if you’re not sure when that will happen, it can be hard to turn it into a reality. Try including times and dates in your goals to help you stay focused. Consider setting up a date when you’ll talk to your boss about a raise. If you’re self-employed, think about earning 10K more next year. Then decide what steps you can take to make that happen.

Start small. Want to earn six figures? Try breaking the goal into smaller steps. Think about what you can do for the next three months to boost your income. Then six months, a year, and so on. If you set small goals, they’ll be easier to reach. And when you cross off each accomplishment, you’ll feel a growing sense of power. Use that drive to continue on toward your top goal.

Check in. Setting goals can be a great way to build self-esteem and feel more confident. Check your progress periodically, and evaluate how far you’ve come. Knowing what you have achieved and what you are capable of will help you keep trekking down the path for success.

Reward yourself. Did you follow your plan and get a raise? Treat yourself to a great bottle of wine, take a friend out to dinner, buy a new outfit, or get the blond highlights you’ve always wanted. Take the time to look back at how far you’ve come. Then focus on the future and reaching the next level.