Framework, V3I1

The 5 ‘Musts’ of Accomplishing Goals

I like setting goals, which means I love the time around the new year. To me, it’s exciting to think of how I can push myself and accomplish something new, perhaps difficult, but definitely rewarding. You decide what you want to do, then count down the last days of December, and you’re off and running on January 1.

Being excited and passionate about goals are two very important parts to achieving them, but there is more to it. You need a plan.

When I was sitting in my office considering my 2017 goals, I began searching for some inspiration and came across a good video describing the five things your goals must be if you want to set and reach them. These have been around forever and have been espoused by the best teachers on this topic. They were great reminders for me as I set my goals for 2017.

If you haven’t set your goals yet, I would encourage you to make them and apply these principles to them today.

5 “Musts” of Accomplishing Goals

1. They must be PERSONAL. Your goals must be things that you want—not what someone else wants for you. If you are studying to be a lawyer because that’s what your father wanted you to be, please stop. You won’t be a good one and you’ll be miserable.

Goals have to mean something to you. They have to come from deep inside you and you have to want them. You can’t lose weight or stop smoking for someone else. Your goals have to be something you desperately want to accomplish for your own reasons.

2. They must be SPECIFIC. “I want to earn more money in 2017” isn’t a specific goal. Specific is “I want to increase my 2016 salary by 10 percent.” Saying you want to lose weight and get in shape in 2017 is nice, but it’s not specific. Do you want to drop 10 pounds? Do you want to run a half marathon or full marathon? Answer those questions specifically and make your goal precise.

When your goal is vague, it is not a goal. It is a dream. A wish. It’s totally fine for a goal to begin as a dream, but it can’t stay there.

Getting specific puts clothes on your dream and makes it more suitable for accomplishing. A good way to pinpoint your goal is to write it down at least three times, refining it each time. I want to get in shape. I want to lose weight. I want to lose 20 pounds. See how easy it is?

3. They must be MEASURABLE. Whether you want to see your progress by the day, week, month, or year, develop a goal that is measurable.

If you have $5,000 in debt and want to pay it off in five months, then you measure progress as paying off $1,000 a month.

It’s common in marketing to say, “what gets measured gets accomplished.” The person who has a way to measure his or her progress stays on track and gets to their goal.

4. They must have a TIME LIMIT. Walt Disney said, “Everyone needs a deadline.” You should have a specific time by which your goal must be accomplished. If you circle June 30th on your calendar and say “I’m running a marathon then,” your mind locks onto that date and you know to not waste any time between now and then.

A time limit subconsciously starts your engine and fires you up to begin working toward your goal. The clock is ticking.

5. They must be WRITTEN! There has been study after study confirming the power of a written goal. Goals you just talk about usually fade away with the conversation. But when you write your goal down and see it all the time, that reminds you that you have something to work toward every day. Pretty soon, your day won’t feel complete without going for a run or calling a certain number of prospective clients. That’s a good thing.

Once you’ve applied these five steps toward making your goals, there is just one more thing to do. You have to act.

The great Zig Ziglar used to say, “You don’t have to be great to start, but you have to start to be great!” A goal that is personal, specific, measurable, written, and has a time limit will not get accomplished without action—your action.

Finally, there is a benefit to accomplishing a goal that we haven’t talked about yet. I call it “the boost.”

When you make up your mind to achieve a goal, define it clearly, work toward it, and overcome the obstacles that are in your way, it gives you a huge boost of confidence and pride. You have something to look at—from a thinner waistline to no debt to a new job—and that something reminds you of the effort you put forth. No one handed you your achievement. You worked for it. It wasn’t easy, and that’s part of what makes it special.

That sense of pride makes you want to go out and achieve more. You gain the confidence to strive for bigger and better things. That belief in yourself opens up all sorts of possibilities in your life, career, and relationships that you may never have thought about before. You start thinking about what’s truly possible. That’s a huge step toward maximizing your potential and living an extraordinary life.

Remember, also, that no matter how big your goal is, you start toward it the exact same way. Determine something you want to accomplish that is important to you, be specific about what it is, write it down, give it a time limit, and measure your progress in small steps. Incorporate those steps into your daily life so that every day, you are working toward your goal.

Before you know it, you’ll not only be making the most of life, but getting the most out of life.


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