Having a well-written goal can make a difference between success and failure.
You may generally know what you want to do, but if you don’t have it written and written well, you are reducing your chances of success.
So what makes a well-written, great goal? That’s what this article is about. It’s a checklist you can use to check and adjust your goals as needed.
Let’s dive in.
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Your goals should be simple, clear, and concise
Simplicity is huge. You want your goals, simple, clear and concise. You want it to be as short as possible.
There’s no need for jargon or explanations or anything of that nature. When you look at your goal, ask, is it simple? Could anyone reading it, even a 3rd grader, know exactly what your goal is without thinking about it?
Are you using words to look smart or are you focused on being clear and concise?
The more simple, clear, and concise your goal, the more likely you are to make it happen.
Keep it to one sentence
Some guides will tell you to take the SMART framework and write a sentence for every letter or to explain your how and everything else.
Don’t do that.
The longer it is, the more complicated it gets and the more confusing it gets (remember simplicity). When a goal is a long paragraph, it makes it harder and more time consuming to read.
One suggestion for helping you accomplish your goals is to reread and rewrite your goals every day. However, if it takes you 20 seconds to read it and a couple of minutes to write it, guess what’s going to stop happening?
And again, simplicity is key. You don’t need to add all the how’s and what-not – those may change anyway.
You want to be able to look at your goal and within a couple of seconds know exactly what it is (or remind yourself what it is).
Make it specific and measurable
Your goal needs to be specific. You need to know exactly what to accomplish.
Vague goals don’t push you to action because they are vague – you don’t really know what you are trying to accomplish.
For example: get in shape or make more money or learn Spanish.
What does get in shape mean? When you say make more money, will $1 suffice? What are you aiming for?
You need to be specific about what you are trying to do and accomplish.
Similarly, you want your goal to be measurable (and it often gets that way when you are specific). You can use a number or percentage (25% or 300 more) or a milestone (run a mile without stopping).
Without a measurement, how will you know you’ve accomplished it? How will you be able to see how you are coming along with your goal?
Your goal needs a deadline
You need a deadline for your goal. Without deadlines, it’s easy to keep putting off the task till later.
Deadlines give you motivation to get it done. Make sure to have a deadline on your goal.
Run a mile without stopping by June 1st.
With this deadline (and measurement), you know every time you run how far along you are coming. If you find that June 1st is coming up and you aren’t quite there yet, it’s okay, just move the deadline a little. It can be flexible if needed (but don’t use that as an excuse to not work toward your goal).
Your goal should challenge you
Easy goals aren’t motivating.
If you run a mile in 8 minutes, setting a goal for 8 minutes and 5 seconds wouldn’t be motivating, because you know you can do it.
If you know you could easily make it a little faster if you just pushed yourself a little more, 7:59 wouldn’t be much of a challenge either.
What if your goal was to shave off 10 seconds? Or 30? Now, those are more challenging goals that can motivate you.
Don’t make it impossible for you where it’s so challenging you quit, but do set a goal that pushes you a little.
You have to believe it possible
Setting some crazy high, impossible goals can be great. They can push you forward past your limits and do amazing things.
However, if you don’t believe that you can accomplish your goal, then you won’t put much effort toward it.
Even if it’s a simple exercise or work go, if you have doubt about it really being able to happen, you won’t try to make it happen.
Make sure you believe your goals are possible and that you can do it.
If you have low belief, start on some smaller, easier goals to build up those victories and confidence.
A couple of extra tips
These aren’t necessarily on how to write it, but they are an important aspect to think about as you choose and write your goal. Consider it a bonus.
Know your why
Do you know your why for the goal? Are you passionate about it? What’s your motivation for doing it?
What benefit will you get out of doing this goal? How will it impact your life and those around you?
Having a why can keep you moving forward, even when it gets tough.
If you get a goal that someone else puts on you (such as work), finding your own why, your own purpose, for those goals can help motivate you to do them.
Make sure it’s your goal
If you are pursuing someone else’s goal, when the going get’s tough, you likely won’t push through. Make sure you are choosing a goal that you are passionate about, not someone else.
If it’s a goal you must do or need to do, then find your own why for it.
Make sure it’s the right time for it
We all go through different seasons of life. A good goal for one season may not be a good goal for another. You are likely to have different goals when you have little kids than when you have kids in college.
Examine your goals and make sure they are right for the season of life you are in now.
Having the right goal is not enough – you also need to write it well.
Follow these guidelines, and you are a step up on accomplishing your goals.
Now to you: After you’ve looked at and rewrote your goals, share them with us in the comments below!