Saturday, February 24, 2024

How To Set Goals And Achieve Them? Steps By Step Guide To Achieve Goals

Have you ever struggled to set goals and achieve them successfully? Maybe you wanted to lose some pounds but failed to set goals so that it drives you to attain them. Whatever the reason might be, the truth is, there’s the significant importance of goal setting in achieving any type of success in life. Knowing the proper way to create goals will guide you to achieve them and help you grow as an individual.

This post will delve deep into the science behind goal setting, the importance and types of creating goals, and the guide to achieving them practically.

Let’s dig in to know more!

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What Is The Definition Of Goal?


A goal is a desired result that a person envisions, plans, and commits to achieve. People strive to reach set goals within a set timeline by setting deadlines. A goal must be specific and measurable to execute them successfully.

We set goals for our careers, our health, and our lives in general. Goal setting is about choosing the rewards you want to enjoy and the costs you are willing to pay. Without sacrifice, it’s impossible to set goals and taste success in life. Hence, you must be willing to pay the price to achieve your desired goal.

For something to indeed be a goal, you need to know when you get there. When you reach it, those are the kinds of plans that set you up for success.

Types of Goals

Here are a few types of goals that can help you in setting them according to your needs. 

  1. Time-based goals.
  2. Life-based goals.
  3. S.M.A.R.T goals

1. What Is a Time-Based Goal?

Time-based goals refer to those goals which are set to achieve within a specific time.

Time-based goals can be categorized in three ways:

  • short-term,
  • long-term,
  • and lifetime goals.

Short Term Goals

Short-term goals are the goals we create to achieve monthly, quarterly, or yearly. In contrast, the purpose behind setting long-term goals is to reach them by meeting short-term goals. In short, it is the short-term goals that lead us to achieve bigger goals in the long run.

For example, setting a target to increase your income by 20% within the next three months is a short-term goal.

Long Term Goals

An example of a long-term goal is buying your own house. It could be achieved in 3, 5, or 10 years from now depending on factors such as your age, income, and living style.

To achieve this long-term goal, you have to implement short-term goals, thereby intend to increase your income every three months so that you can have your dream home down the line.

2. What Are Life-Based Goals?

Life-based goals are set with a motive to determine success in different areas of your life. It is related to health, relationship, career, money, family, etc.

Life-based goal setting provides you with clarity about the areas you need to improve in your life. It is a holistic approach to lead your life in a meaningful way.

However, the accumulation of short time and long time goals leads one to achieve lifetime goals during their lifetime.

For instance, your lifetime goal could be traveling to more than 100 countries in the world, for which you can set a short-term goal to travel to at least five countries every year.

3. What Are SMART Goals?

S.M.A.R.T goal is a proven strategy to attain your goals more feasibly. To certify that your goals are attainable, they should be:

  • Specific: Goals that are specific and only involve one task at a time.
  • Measurable: A goal should be measurable that help you keep track.
  • Achievable: A goal that is achievable and something that is not hard to accomplish.
  • Relevant: A goal should be realistic, propelling you to act on it and not run away from attaining it.
  • Time-bound: A deadline to achieve your goals at a specific time.

The Science Behind Goal Setting

Did you know that studies have shown that people fail to achieve 80% of the New Year resolution?

Further, a study by the Statistic Brain Research Institute revealed that only 8% of people accomplish their New Year’s goals, and the rest, 92%, end up failing to complete them.

Many things go on the consciousness levels that restrict one from achieving their goals. However, one of the significant causes of not attaining them is not having a concrete plan.

Apparently, people who write their goals down with proven strategies to complete them are ten times more likely to achieve success than those who don’t have any plan mapped out for them.

The science behind goal setting is fascinating. Furthermore, goal setting has a significant impact on the brain’s structure.

According to the research carried out, it’s prominent that goal-setting restructures the brain to make it more functional.

  • The amygdala that is the emotional part of the brain, assesses the intensity of a goal that is important to an individual.
  • The frontal lobe responsible for the cognitive skills determines the distinct needs of what the goals demand.
  • The amygdala and frontal lobe come together to keep you focused on your goal, surpassing situations and events that don’t align with your targets.

This is why we feel more motivated to reach goals that have an emotional resonance because your brain will overcome obstacles more constructively.

Why Is Goal Setting Important?


The importance of goal setting is paramount, and the way you set them determines the result. Goal setting is about choosing the rewards you want to enjoy and the costs you are willing to pay.

We need to set goals to improve our career, health, and overall life in general. These are some of the importance of goal setting in life.

1. It Gives You Direction

A Harvard Business Study has shown that 3% of graduates who had their goals written down ended up earning ten times more than the rest 97% put together ten years down the line from their MBA graduating class.

Goals provide you with a sense of direction if you write them down to set a date for achieving. It pushes you forward and continuously reminds you of what you need to plan and work to reach them by further propelling you to move forward. 

2. Goals Help You To Be Accountable

Accountability is crucial to accomplish any success. Whether it’s in the workplace or your personal life, accountability allows you to value your work and the people around you.

Similarly, it immensely helps to guide you ultimately where you want to be in life in terms of goal-setting. When you write down a goal with a timeline, you can re-evaluate your path if you fail and eliminate the areas that don’t align with your vision.

Goal-setting guides you to be accountable for your actions to make them come true and avoid obstacles that cause distraction.

3. Believe In Yourself

Did you know? When you set practical goals in life and successfully achieve them, it sends a signal to your brain, which boosts your confidence that again directly improves your self-esteem.

Self-belief is an integral part of life. It makes you feel fulfilled from deep within about the work you do. Without self-belief, you won’t ever feel the push to pursue something you love.

That’s why goal setting is crucial because it makes you believe in your capabilities. Setting up goals with a timeline helps fuel your ambition and gives you the inspiration needed to aim for things you thought to be insurmountable.

4. Goals Help You To Know What You Want In Your Life

Goals setting helps you identify the things you want, and it guides you to further achieve them by getting to the root of questing your desires. When you are continually reassessing your goals, you gain clarity, and the better clarity you have, the more precise you get about the steps you need to take to attain them.

Practical Guide To Set Goals And Achieve Them


1. Find The “Why” And Purpose Of The Goal

It’s essential to find your purpose or why when setting up your plans, as this will be the driving force that will push you forward to achieve your goals, especially during periods of struggle when the goal seems impossible.

It would be best if you kept your why front and center at all times. Doing this will give you the motivation you need to keep going and not give up when things don’t go according to the plan.

2. Brainstorm

If you’re totally unaware of what you want to achieve or what goals you want to set, simply start with the following brainstorm techniques:

  • Brain Dump
  • Mind Map
  • To-Do-List Methods

When setting up a goal, you should start with a brainstorming brain dump session.

A study conducted indicated people who do brainstorming show more creativity than those who don’t. A brain dump is an act of pouring out all the thoughts that exist in your mind.

Thoughts and beliefs that can eventually help you to set goals are:

  • with regards to bettering your life,
  • changing things,
  • improving your health,
  • getting rid of your old life,
  • improving your finances or career,
  • or anything your brain comes up with meaning to achieve in life, etc.

First, it’s advisable to do a brainstorm brain dump session to create a list of goals you want to achieve regardless of the time frame. At this point, it’s okay for the plans to be written out in complete sentences or phrases.

You can further break down your goals with a more specific and action-oriented order to achieve the set-out goal.

Here’s an example:

If your goal is to get a new job, your mind map brainstorming session will develop a small action-related to-do list to help you get a new career, such as:

  • updating your resume,
  • networking,
  • and performing online job searches.

3. Break Down Long-Term Goals By Setting Short-Term Targets

study done by Scranton University in 2018 found that as high as 92% of people who set New Year’s resolutions fail to achieve them. This means only a tiny 8% of people reach the goals they set.

That’s why it’s essential to break down long-term goals into short-term goals. When you achieve the short-term goals,  it’s much easier to reach the more prominent, long-term goals in the end.

Breaking down your goals helps you evaluate how far you are in your journey in achieving the setup goals, both short and long-term goals. Also, it allows you to determine how long you still have to travel to reach your ultimate destination.

When long-term goals are broken down into smaller tasks, which are action-orientated, it will help achieve the bigger target much more comfortably.

4. Set S.M.A.R.T.E.R Goals

To make sure your goals are clear and reachable, each one should be:

  • Specific: It’s good when your goals are more specific. You will be able to accomplish them no matter what method you use. 
  • Meaningful: Your “why” should be robust, front and center on your set goals. Because when your dreams have a deep enough meaning to you, you’ll not give up and will do whatever it takes to achieve them.
  • Achievable: Pick goals that you can achieve in the short term. This helps in your journey of achieving long-term goals.
  • Relevant: Set goals that are relevant and with what you truly want out of life. The goals should be reasonable, realistic, and results-based.
  • Time-bound: How far did you reach in achieving your goals? When your goals are time-bound, you will see your progress. It holds you accountable by measuring the plans on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis.
  • Evaluate-: You are more likely to achieve your goals when you evaluate them every day because short-term and long-term goals are more likely to be ignored if they are not assessed daily.
  • Re-adjust: When your original plan is not working, you try to find different approaches until you find yourself getting closer and achieving your set up goals.

5. Power Of Micro Habits

You can make tremendous changes in your life by achieving your set goals through making a series of small ones.

New research indicates that habit can be created if you understand the science behind habit formation. These are small automatic behaviors that you do every single day without thinking.

habit loop-forming habits-habit building

When creating a new habit, it’s advisable to start with the small tasks first before gaining momentum. That’s the idea behind micro-habits.

In the process, you can build your self-confidence and belief, which will propel you to achieving your goals in life.

Just remember, all you have to do is the small thing that will result in accomplishing more significant goals.

6. Reward Yourself After Achieving Each Short-Term Milestone

It’s important to reward yourself when you are successful in achieving each short-term milestone.

A study comparing people who are motivated to lazy people’s brains found that your brain releases a chemical known as dopamine in anticipation of a reward.

When you reward your progress, you can avoid disappointment and stay motivated. Dopamine makes you feel good and happy in the process. You are motivated and driven to achieve the set up goals.

Lastly, you will always look forward to doing the task because the reward attached to the job makes you feel good.

7. Identify Your Weakness Or Potential Problems

It’s essential to identify your weaknesses or issues that will hinder you from achieving the setup goals.

Being aware of threats or problems you may encounter in your pursuit of achieving your goals is an effective way to avoid uncertainties and stay focused on your journey.

These are the challenges you might encounter, limiting you from achieving your goals:

8. Refine Daily Habits That Keep You From Achieving Your Goals

We all have habits. Some of those habits can hold you back, while other practices can push you forward to become successful.

We are the culmination of our habits. When you want to improve your life, nothing can obstruct you from achieving set up goals. But to do that, you will need to create a better set of habits.

It’s essential to implement certain habits into your daily routine to make an enormous difference in achieving your goals.

These habits are also known as keystone habits because they act as a foundation to use, so other good habits can grow while ensuring to discourage bad habits.

For example, if you’re interested to learn to code, you will have to practice daily and network with colleagues to become an expert in the field. You may also need to attend code boot camp and conferences to gain more knowledge and experience.

9. Don’t Be Overambitious

It’s important to see growth in your life by setting up goals as it will motivate you to be excited about changing your life for the better. However, don’t be tempted to set the bar too high. 

Also, don’t set massive goals and expect faster results. You might set yourself up for failure.

The way forward is to start by establishing short-term objectives and celebrate each milestone along the way.

10. Set Deadlines For Your Goals

It’s significant to set timelines for your goals because it gives you the authority to control your actions and be accountable for your work.

Putting a deadline on a goal helps make big goals more manageable and achievable, irrespective of long-term or short-term goals. Setting a deadline will motivate you to go out and make the things you want to happen.

11. Take Action

When you want to grow to your full potential, you must learn to take action on every goal you set to achieve.

Be responsible, accountable, and understand where you are in life. Also, learn to accept the mistakes you made in the past, take the necessary actions to change, and improve to achieve your goals.

Remember, no one can do it for you except yourself when taking action to achieve your goals!

12. Do Not Procrastinate

When you procrastinate, you put your vision, desires, and goals on hold. It’s the enemy of progress. In the process, it leads to you not being motivated or excited to challenge yourself to achieve your goals.

Make sure to eliminate the word “someday” from your dictionary when you’re pursuing your goals.

Lastly, when a goal is essential to you, set up a timeline for achieving it. Start immediately to pursue the target goal without any further delay.


To conclude, practically implementing goal setting for professional and personal gain will positively change your life. Not only will you gain success but also live a happy, fulfilling life.

Once you start setting goals, the impossible becomes possible to achieve and instills you with a boost of motivation you most probably lacked before.

Key Takeaways On Setting Goals & Achieving Them Successfully

  • Goal-setting is a crucial step to achieve goals practically.
  • A goal is a desired result that a person envisions, plans, and commits to achieve, and Goal setting is about choosing the rewards you want to enjoy and the costs you are willing to pay.
  • Goals can be of many types but mainly: time-based, life-based and S.M.A.R.T goals.
  • Time-based goals refer to those goals set to achieve within a specific time, whereas life-based goals are set with a motive to determine success in different areas of your life.
  • Furthermore, goal setting has a significant impact on the brain’s structure.
  • Research shows that goal-setting restructures the brain to make it more functional.
  • The brain’s two parts- the amygdala and the frontal lobe, work together to keep you focused on your goal.

What is the importance of goal setting?

The importance of goal setting is mentioned below:

  • It gives you direction.
  • Goals help you to be accountable.
  • Proper goal setting instills a sense of self-belief.
  • It helps you determine what you want in life.

What are the types of goal setting?

There are mainly three types of goal setting. They are:

  • Time-based goal setting.
  • Life-based goal setting.
  • S.M.A.R.T.E.R goal setting

These are further distributed into subcategories like short-term, long-term, lifetime goal setting, etc.

What is the practical guide to set goals?

  • Find the purpose of your goal.
  • Implement brainstorm, brain dump, and to-do list methods.
  • Break down long-term goals into short-term goals.
  • Reward yourself after achieving short-term goals.
  • Identify the potential threats and obstacles.
  • Inculcate healthy habits in your daily routine.
  • Set S.M.A.R.T.E.R goals.
  • Use the power of micro habits.
  • Set deadlines for your goals.
  • Take action and don’t procrastinate.
Nihar B
Nihar B
With a decade of experience as a woman in tech, Nihar has worked with a range of companies from Fortune 500 corporations such as IBM, Accenture, Ericsson to H&M Group. Her diverse work-life enables her to share her knowledge to develop, grow, and succeed both professionally and personally in today's ever-changing world.

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