How to Set and Achieve Your Goals: The Complete Guide

Imagine the changes in your life when you achieve your goals. Maybe you tried this six months or a year ago, but have not seen results yet?

Most people know how to reach their goals. However, that doesn’t happen.

The problem is not knowledge, it’s action. Your goals are not determined by what you know or who you know. The key is how you act.

In this article, we’ll hack the goal-achieving process. You’ll learn what to do and not to do along this way. And of course, we’ll ensure you know everything about the goals. Correct setting and motivation matter too! Now let’s begin.

Goals: What are They

A goal is a result a person intends to achieve through their actions. It can be almost anything that depends on them.

This vague definition is the reason goals don’t have uniform strict classifications. They can be categorized based on any factor that works for you. However, if you don’t know which classification to start with, here are two common approaches.

Deadline-driven goals are disciplined better. So people often tie them to the implementation period. This classification includes:

  • short-term goals (expected results within a year at most),
  • medium-term goals (the planning horizon is 1-5 years),
  • long-term goals (taking over 5 years).

The second frequency classification focuses on goal outcomes rather than processes. Based on the tangibility of results, the division can be into:

  • pragmatic, material goals: a good salary, a spacious house, a nice car;
  • intangible, spiritual goals: quality relationships, a new skill, habit kicking.

Material goals are more common in business. However, successful companies don’t forget intangible goals. Let’s learn more about how the right goal setting helps them succeed.

Why Should You Set Goals for Yourself and Your Team?

Setting goals is an investment in your future. In this way, you can reach the point where you only want to be today, as well as make your daily routine more fulfilling from tomorrow.

Whether you set personal or team goals for yourself or your entire team, they can help:

  • optimize work processes and life. Goals are like guiding stars. They give us directions and told us what “route” to take.
  • boost efficiency. Goals force you to cut out what doesn’t contribute. And in reverse: to find something that makes you closer.
  • get what you want. In fact, a goal is a desire a person is trying to fulfill for themself.
  • keep motivated. Remembering the goal makes fulfilling the tasks it sets easier.

How to Motivate Yourself to Achieve a Goal

Sometimes even smart goals turn out to be impossible to achieve for a long time, and we find ourselves treading water. It would be easy if we could justify our lack of activity with simple laziness. Sometimes all we need is a magic kick in the butt from someone or… ourselves.

You can arbitrarily divide self-motivation methods into two types: positive and negative. In simple words, you can help yourself accomplish your goals by using the carrot or the stick.

The basic components of positive methods include stimulation, instigating motivation and a sincere desire to act. These methods work great, but take more effort to make yourself interested in a goal, as you may not be able to pinpoint the necessary incentives right away.

Negative methods can work better, but they can’t be considered long-term, as they put pressure on us. On the other hand, it’s never a problem to find incentives in order to start following the goal course.

Keep your peculiarities in mind

Right now, we are talking about the peculiarities of your temperament and mindset. You probably know that men and women motivate themselves to reach their personal goals differently. What makes a woman act does not necessarily motivate a man. And vice versa.

For instance, women often resort to positive methods by rewarding themselves with sweets and nice things. For men, sufficiently strong motivation can be another step up the career ladder or a possibility to achieve a goal for personal fulfillment, harsh necessity, great profit or a chance to prove their importance.

Praise and anchoring off even the smallest progress made

Making any goal progress, as is known, boosts motivation. Even the smallest achievements promote your desire to move forward. And such moments absolutely have to be anchored i.d. reinforced with praise or rewards. Those can be little things that in no way diminish the priceless effect of anchoring overall.

Personal motivators

We all have our own magic bullets that help us achieve our goals. These may be books, movies or videos, or a personal example.

Competing against yourself

This method can help you overcome the mundanity of any job with no exertion. Turn goal reaching into a game, a competition against yourself. It makes things so much simpler and more enjoyable.

Ambitions

Sometimes those work better than anything else. ‘Am I really worse than the others, or more stupid? Or weaker? Or lazier? No way! I will accomplish my goals despite them all and despite my laziness’. Appealing to yourself and your own ambitions is arguably the best incentive to overcome difficulties.

Past successes

Often they are closely associated with ambitions. It can also happen so that you will compete against you from the past. ‘I used to achieve much more difficult goals. How am I any worse now?’

A bit about productivity

A long list of self-motivation principles can be supplemented with a few tips on increasing your own efficiency. By heeding this advice, you can help yourself focus on the process toward goals as much as possible.

Do not ignore your biological rhythms – there is a reason most types of flowers unravel into full bloom in the morning, and this is when birds and animals are waking up. A human being is not an exception, he is also in sync with the biorhythms of the wild nature and lives according to them.

Many biological processes occur in our bodies all the time, practically directing our activities to reach goals. For instance, throughout the day, our levels of testosterone, cortisol, melatonin and other hormones keep changing. Each of those hormones handles specific processes that form part of our daily activities. Without delving into medical terminology, a high level of testosterone in the morning hours helps us be active to achieve our goals, creative and energetic. The stress-related hormone cortisol, which is at its peak in the morning, makes it difficult for us to control our emotions and act rationally. And when it decreases – from 9 a.m. – you can effectively increase goal progress and conduct business negotiations without worrying about your self possession.

Melatonin – the hormone of sleep – is at its minimal levels in the period from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. When its levels increase later in the evening, it’s time to think leisurely and draw conclusions.

Move towards your goal with pleasure
There are people that “serve the time” at work, but also plenty of those working with a twinkle in their eye: they love their job, meet like-minded people at work, make friends and.. have no doubts about the value and significance of their job. Now guess who will find it easier to achieve a goal? You have got to love whatever it is you are doing, be sincerely interested in the process, achieve results and anchor them… And then you will grow a set of wings to overcome any obstacles in the way.

Afford the luxury of daily napping
Now, doesn’t that sound strange? The thing is, just 40 minutes of napping around lunch time can make a huge difference in your productivity and goal progress. Daily napping reboots our brain and makes us more active, productive and efficient.

Let your eyes rest
Rebooting your eyes is just as important as rebooting your brain. Overstraining your eyes for several hours in a row not only affects your vision, increases your intracranial pressure and gives you headaches but also lowers your efficiency in goal attainment. Catch a few minutes of break to reboot and give yourself the much needed rest. By the way, our Live Start Page will cope with this tricky task beautifully.

Just make sure you maintain the balance when reaching goals without hitting the extremes – from doing nothing to working yourself to the bone. The latter can cause burnout, including a professional one.

5 Mistakes You Should Avoid to Achieve Your Goals

When we are unsatisfied with our productivity and goal achieving levels, it is common to blame our environment and lifestyle. We have to shop, pick up the kids from school, chat with friends about plans for the evening, and then, ‘like’ a few cute puppies on Instagram.

Here is the first mistake: we don’t realize the real reasons. When we look for the causes of our goal failures, we usually find familiar excuses. Now it’s time for identifying the real five reasons you’re not reaching your maximum level of productivity.

№1: Doubting in yourself

We fall into procrastination over and over again because we don’t believe in our ability to handle anything new, or even things we’ve been able to deal with before. We fear making a wrong decision so don’t make any at all. This reduces our productivity and performance in achieving goals even further. Besides, it seems that if something goes wrong, we will always regret it.

The human brain thinks the consequences of acting towards reaching goals can be worse than the consequences of doing nothing. As a result, it tends to choose the “safer” option. This behavior also helps us avoid inconveniences we think are impossible to deal with, like disappointments, rejections, conflicts or new scary responsibilities. All of this is completely out of our control, giving us a sense of helplessness.

However, you need to realize: these problems are just a part of normal human life. Our control is limited, so we often have to deal with givens that cannot be changed. Doubts, obstacles and unpredictability are normal. Knowing this makes managing circumstances much easier and more efficient. You can handle challenges, but you will never learn about it if you’re constantly avoiding daunting goals. And it’s an important lesson.

№2: Being a control freak

When you are proving to yourself that you can handle new difficult goals, don’t forget that handling doesn’t mean performing perfectly. Many of us might be prone to perfectionism in one way or another. Many even consider it a virtue. Let’s stop lying on one, two, three! And here it is – perfectionism is a mask for the malicious fear of disappointing others – sad but true.

That’s why we always want to increase our productivity. We often have two problems with perfectionism:

  • it may take us weeks to find the perfect planner, write the perfect goal plan and create its design, while the main task – executing the plan – is put on hold;
  • if we have a feeling we could do better, we don’t consider a mission accomplished and keep returning to it for any tiny improvements.

As for the first problem, remember that a planning bout is a slippery slope to procrastination. Any plan you write isn’t conceived to satisfy your perfectionism but to help your productivity increase and achieve more goals every time.

If perfectionism prevents you from letting go of an imperfectly completed goal task, think about who’s identifying what “perfect” is. There will always be dissatisfied skeptics, but often the work that we consider small can make a big impression on people.

№3: Not assessing achievements

When it comes to reaching your full potential, it is not enough to rely on your willpower alone. In order to manage the execution of goals, you will need auxiliary tools and actions. These should help you clearly control the time spent on important tasks and coordinate daily work to bring tangible goal results.

A scorecard is the best way to measure your actions effectively and learn about your goal progress. Every week evaluate your productivity using two parameters:

  • performance indicators – a ratio of completed actions to planned ones;
  • final results – how effective those actions were, what achievements they led to.

Design your goal report as simple or detailed as you like. Write text notes, diversifying them with highlights, heading sizes and section breaks.

Forming a group of like-minded members for writing goals may be another effective method to avoid procrastination. Arrange meetings in your favorite cafe at the beginning of each week. Don’t blame each other for lack of productivity. Just feel free to talk about mistakes, help focus on what’s important and praise your friends for their successes.

№4: Setting weak personal boundaries

Many of us find it impossible to say “no” to questions, requests or assignments. The reasons are different – from the reluctance to deal with feeling guilty to the fear of becoming unnecessary. Here’s what you can do to start setting personal boundaries and building healthy relationships with your colleagues right now.

When you are already at your maximum productivity and there is no time for your manager’s new task, you may feel uncomfortable saying no. One solution is asking them for help in prioritizing your goal list. Take them through everything on your plate and ask how you should write up the plan to fit in the new task. Thus, you’re providing your boss with options for their buy-in, but without sacrificing your boundaries and taking on too many goals. Seeing you are at capacity, they’ll reduce your workload, or even get someone else to do it.

This approach won’t lead you to be low on collaboration or productivity. Instead, you will increase your reputation as a valuable employee who manages time effectively to achieve their goals.

№5: Avoiding the first step

Scientists have discovered that the human brain responds negatively to uncertain situations. Each of them is seen as a potential danger that must be prevented. Thus, it tries to stop the process toward goals before we’re able to do something “risky.” That’s when procrastination comes.

The first step is to build a picture of your perfect future. People tend not to take such visions seriously, but they are very important. It adds an emotional connection to dry plans of strategies and tactics. So you won’t complete tasks just to check the box. You won’t even want to achieve the goal as such. You will want to achieve a better life that will come after achieving this goal.

Imagine and write down what will happen if you achieve your goals:

  • how you will feel;
  • what benefits you will get;
  • how your environment will react;
  • what will change for you, your family, friends, co-workers, etc.

Make the description as detailed as possible, and review it to increase motivation and productivity whenever a goal task seems impossible to complete. No task is impossible to complete for you, especially if it’s just the first step.

How to Achieve the Goals You Set

We’ve already discussed what goals are for and how to set them correctly. Now it’s time to explore the other half of the process – achieving the goal. Both are equally important for us to be successful and self-directed.

Breaking up large goals into sub-goals

Any large-scale project can crush our motivation with its perceivable size alone. However, by breaking it up into smaller parts, we can easily handle them. As for the truly global life goals we may have, they are easily achievable as long as you can break them up into shorter stages. First, that way you make the clearer and bigger picture of achieving the main goal. Second, it facilitates the process of achieving those goals. Third, it gives us confidence and a positive attitude as we consequently achieve every sub-goal.

Correcting the goals

Nothing stands still. Our surroundings change, the world itself changes, and we change too. It’s normal that somewhere down the road, we may change our perception of the world, which will also affect our goals. There is nothing shameful in correcting your goals from time to time. Some of them may be eliminated, others will undergo substantial changes. Correcting your goals will help you soberly assess reality and economize your own resources (than you would otherwise waste on trying to achieve a goal that’s no longer relevant).

Forming a plan to implement your goal

Review the resources you may need to achieve the goal. Assess how realistic it is for you to take advantage of external resources at the time (if you need them to achieve your goal at all), think about possible sources to use. It’s nice if you have a few of those, as that way your chances for success increase significantly.

While trying to achieve the goal you set, always make sure you are moving along according to your plan, making a sober assessment of the situation at hand at any time. So, what do you need to form an action plan?

  • Visualize your present situation and what you are willing to achieve. Compare the two in order to understand how realistic the goal you set is. It’s possible that even at this stage, you will need to adjust your action plan to eventually achieve what you want.
  • Investigate potential external obstacles. It’s preferable to be prepared for a few scenarios if some external factors will stand in the way of you achieving your goal. Often this helps to properly correct your goal from the very beginning or choose a slightly different way of implementing it.
  • Consult a professional. If your goal lies within a specific area (business, law, finance, commercial activity), in order to come up with a smart plan, you absolutely need a sensible outside perspective to gain as much relevant information as possible. This will in turn save you time and effort on your way to the goal and articulate your plans.

How to Achieve Personal and Business Goals with Nimbus

We’re almost there! If you still don’t know what your first step towards your goal is, start with planning. With Nimbus Platform, it’s definitely going to be an easy task since Nimbus has everything you need.

  • Create your goal plan in Nimbus Note. You have checklists, tables, highlights, and everything you need a click away.
  • Adjust Nimbus templates to your work. You can also copy your favorite blocks to your page or just get inspired for your own design. After each goal attainment, you can work on your Nimbus templates and improve them.
  • Create a shared Nimbus workspace for your goal-oriented team members and add your records. You can communicate via chat or leave comments for others right in the notes.

Nimbus Platform will support your goal setting at every stage. And when your business grows, your Nimbus pages can grow with it to meet its needs.

We hope these goal setting tips will help you concretize your goals and plan your actions in order to achieve them with pleasure and a great deal of motivation. But enough talking, let’s make it happen!

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