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How successful people set goals

Wellness |

You’re keen to make 2020 your best year yet, and you probably have some goals you want to nail this year. But given the low success rate of new year resolutions – something you may have experienced in past years – you’ll need to make your goals as failsafe as possible.

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You’re keen to make 2020 your best year yet, and you probably have some goals you want to nail this year. But given the low success rate of new year resolutions – something you may have experienced in past years – you’ll need to make your goals as failsafe as possible. Understanding how to achieve your goals largely comes down to insuring them against potential failure, says confidence and career coach Alison Shamir. 

There are three common mistakes people make in goal setting, Shamir says:

  • Not being clear on the driving desire behind the goal. “It’s the ‘why’ that will keep you motivated on the tough days so it’s important to truly understand why you have set this goal and why it’s worthy of your time,” she says.
  • Going too big, too soon. “It’s great to have big audacious goals, but they often take longer to achieve than six to 12 months,” Shamir warns.
  • Not having an end date. “A goal without a timeframe is just a floating thought,” she says. “Timelines need to be realistic and are there to help keep you accountable.”

Tips for achieving goals

At this time of year, it’s tempting to dream up a complete overhaul of your life, but Shamir says effective goal setting is about limiting yourself to no more than two to three goals, starting with a shorter one.

“Pick a goal for one month, three months and six months. This will allow you to celebrate some wins in a shorter timeframe and generate some momentum,” she says. “Momentum also helps keep you motivated and your confidence will grow as you take more action. Then you can set the bar higher or set a long-term goal.” 

One of the best ways to stay on track with goals is talking to others about what you’re aiming to achieve.

“Find a coach, mentor or friend and share your goals,” she says. “Having an accountability buddy is the perfect way to stay on track, keep motivated and get any help you need along the way.”

Another great tip for staying on track with goals is to reward yourself along the way.

“It’s important to pat yourself on the back,” Shamir says. “This can be as simple as booking a massage, buying those shoes you want or taking a long weekend for some R&R. Little rewards are great motivators.”

What if you hit a roadblock?

Staying on track with goals isn’t easy. If you’re coming up against an obstacle, check in to see whether it’s because your goal is unrealistic or unachievable in the near future.

“It’s important to remember that goals can be flexible and that sometimes circumstances change which impacts goals. It is perfectly fine to revise them if this happens,” Shamir says.

“However if you’re someone who is struggling to achieve your goals due to a lack of accountability or focus – and it’s important to be honest with yourself – then I would seek some help from a coach, mentor or friend who will be able to help you get back on track.”

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