Setting Goals. And Reaching Them.

Some people have been so discouraged when they’ve failed to meet their goals that they’ve given up on having any at all, so that they aren’t disappointed by the “inevitable” failure. There’s a lot of advice available today on this topic, and there isn’t actually anything too tough or mysterious about setting and reaching your goals.

Here are five easy steps to follow for success.

Step 1: What are you aiming for? Write down your goals for the year. Keep the list to a few top priorities: Too many can dilute focus and scatter your energy.

Step 2: Take steps—even large, seemingly crazy ones—toward reaching your goals. The important thing is to kick-start the process. The fine-tuning can come later! Try to focus on actions that will advance more than one of your goals at once. For example, taking your kids to the pool or riding a bike with your spouse would promote staying fit as well as spending time with your family.

Step 3: Keep at it. You’ll probably fail periodically, but don’t give up: Pick up the pieces and start again! In fact, if you never fail, your goals are probably too easy and need to be revised.

Step 4: Have fun! Enjoy the challenge! Fighting your fears and weaknesses in order to achieve your goals can be difficult, but it’s also tremendously rewarding. Much of the appeal of running a marathon is the challenge. Make reaching your goals the “extreme sport” of your life.

Step 5: Review the progress toward your goals on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis. If you’re serious about it, you’ll put effort into it. If necessary, be open to tweaking your goals or the action you’re taking to reach them, but be careful to not water down your original goal!

Get Started

So many fail because they don’t get started—they don’t go. They don’t overcome inertia. They don’t begin. —William Clement Stone (1902–2002)