How To Set Goals That Work

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What are your hourly, daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly goals? What are they?

If you want to go to somewhere special, if you want to run faster than your friends, if you want to be an extraordinary person, if you want to run a successful company, if you want to be a successful student, if you want to be an outstanding worker, you need a road map. In this case, your road map is your goal. You need a road map. You need a GPS system to lead you to where you are going. I don’t know where you are going to, but for sure you need a goal. And you need a strategy to get it done.

I am going to use my lovely quote from Thomas Carlyle. According to Thomas Carlyle, “A man without a goal is like a ship without a rudder.” It is exactly what it is. There is no better way to put it. Have you seen somebody that made it to the top without a goal? I haven’t. They had goals. They knew what they were pursuing. They knew where they were going. If you don’t have your own goal, you are not going anywhere. How can you get from point A to point B without a goal? It’s impossible. Even if it does happen, you will be wandering around in a cycle. You need a goal to exit that cycle you are in.

When setting your goals, try not to be too rigid. Be flexible. Life is not rigid, it is changing everyday. Your goals have to match our changing world. For example, the jobs people are doing today are not going to be available in a few years from today. If your job is affected by this rapid change that is happening as we speak, you have no other way out than to change your plan. If you refuse to change, your goals will be obsolete. John Dewey said: “Arriving at one goal is the starting point of another.” This is true because good goals compound. They build on one another. When you finish one goal, set another one.

Once you have decided to set your goals, make sure they are SMART goals. Make sure your goals are based on your needs and wants. If you set goals that are not going to answer your life’s questions, you are wasting your time. Let’s talk about SMART.

S= SPECIFIC. Make sure your goals are specific. Don’t be a generalist. When you are a generalist, you can’t achieve anything. Your goals will be too broad to focus on. If they are specific, you will know exactly what to do to succeed. Also, specific goals provide clarity.

M= MEASURABLE. You should be able to measure your goals. You should know where you going and how long it will take you to get there.

A= ATTAINABLE. This is very important. Attainability is what I am talking about here. You should ask yourself these questions: “Do I have the knowledge, skills, abilities, and confidence to achieve my goals?” If not, can you develop it? Do you have the right strategies to get things done? How are you going to implement your plans? Those are important questions that you need to honestly answer before moving forward. I hope you do.

R= REALISTIC. Are you being realistic with your goals? Are they too broad or too thin for you? Are they your goals or someone else’s goals? Example of an unrealistic goal is, “I am going be an engineer in a month.” How? A realistic goal should read, “I am going to be an engineer in 5 years.” As you can see, the second example sounds realistic. Ideally, it takes 4-5 years to earn an engineering degree. Don’t deceive yourself. Set real goals for yourself, and pursue it with all your effort.

T= TIMING. I call it timing. You can call it what you want. Is your goal a long-term or a short-term goal? If so, when are you going to finish it? You should attach a time frame to your goal. Time creates a sense of urgency. It forces you to get things done, even when you don’t want to. In order to do this, you need to learn how to manage your time effectively.

This brings us to time management. For the sake of this article, I am not going to go into in-depth analysis of time management. I will do that in another article.

So, what is time management? Time management is how we use the 24 hours a day given to us. Common tips that will help you manage your time effectively are:

Know how you work. If you know your working style, you will be faster than anyone you are working with.

Prioritize your work. Do things according to urgency, not according to importance. Everything is important, but some things are more important. In human life, oxygen is everything. Without oxygen, there is no life. Same is true of time management. Without time, there is no life.


Manage distractions. We have more of these today than ever before. If you want to get things done, find a quiet place to get them done.

Be organized. Your job is easier when you plan things out. Don’t wait for the last minute. Label things. Put things away according to their importance. Write things down. Always clean up your desk. We will talk more about organization in another article.

Manage yourself. How disciplined are you? What about your emotions? What about procrastination? What about your health? What about your working style? If you are able to manage those things, your life will be much easier.

Have a to-do-list. A to-do list is important. What is even more important are the things on the list. Why? It is clear that not everything on the to-do-list is important.

Have a not-to-do-list. This will help you to focus on what is critically important to your immediate survival. For example, oxygen is to life as learning is to human growth.

Learn how to discriminate. Learn how to say “no” and still keep your job. Learn how to say “no” to what is not important to you. Don’t feel guilty after you have said “no.”

Exercise yourself. You need exercise to remain mentally and physically fit. It releases the “feel good” (dopamine, endorphins, and serotonin) hormones into your system. They are also called happiness hormones.

Meditation. You need meditation to remain calm and focused.

Putting it Together:

In order to move forward, we need to have a clear goal, and a comprehensive commitment plan to get it done. A good goal is a good motivator.