How to make smart goals you can achieve

Lisa Raleigh setting smart goals by writing them down and meal prepping

While it might be easy to think about all the goals you'd like to achieve in your life, setting smart goals that you can reach is the hard part. Because the truth is, many people set unrealistic goals and new year's resolutions, and feel like a failure if they don't achieve them by mid year.  

However, this doesn't mean you should give up on setting smart goals. Studies show that you're more likely to achieve your goals if you write them down. But before you do this, take time to meditate and really think about what you want to achieve in the year ahead. (This doesn't always have to be in the month of January... it can be anytime!) 

Ask yourself if your goals reflect your values and the vision you hold for your future. It's also important to consider if you have the time, support and resources to achieve your goals. 

Try these tips to set smart goals (and achieve them!) 

Keep them attainable

Learn to prioritise your dreams. This means figuring out which ones are most important. Remember that you’re always moving towards action and achievement – not only dreaming.

But be realistic about what you're able to achieve. Set goals that you believe will challenge you, but are also within your capabilities. Resolutions are small behavioural changes, or new habits, that are supposed to be things you can actually do. If your goals seem too daunting, you risk dreading the actions you'll need to take to achieve them. You should be excited to achieve your goals. 

According to research, those who are successful at doing something, are more likely to repeat this behaviour. Set reasonable short-term goals to motivate you to achieve your long-term ones. Use the “Goldilocks approach” by not aiming too high or too low with your goals or resolutions – find something “just right” for you!

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Stay committed

If your goal is well-defined and you really want to achieve it, believe that you can.

If you have trouble staying committed, track your behaviour to remind yourself of your progress. Use a calendar, Fitbit, app, journal or diary. Keep reminding yourself of why you set your goal in the first place.

Stay positive to stay committed. Focus on what is working in achieving your goal, and what isn’t, and adjust your behaviour to achieve results. Also celebrate small achievements and milestones to remind yourself of how well you're doing! Don’t only wait until the end result to congratulate yourself.

If you slip up, forgive yourself and move on. Most people make mistakes or have bad days. Instead of dwelling on your mistake, remember that you can always get back on track and try again. Good habits require perseverance and persistence. Don’t give up!

Be personally and emotionally connected to your goals to ensure you're committed to them. As much as you may want to impress others, more long-lasting change and satisfaction will come if you're achieving your goal for yourself. 

Have boundaries

As a mom, I can acknowledge that most times, we put others before ourselves. And when it comes to parenting, this is unavoidable. However, learning to put boundaries in place, and saying no to others when you can, does not make you a bad person! Sometimes it's important to set boundaries to establish your priorities.

Also think twice before giving away your time and energy to others or tasks that don't serve you. We only have so many hours in a day. How often have you used the excuse “I didn’t have time”? It’s critical to pay attention to who (or what) is getting your time and how you spend it if you want to achieve your goals.

Be specific

When it comes to setting smart goals, it's essential to ask yourself “How?”. For example, the goal of being healthier or losing weight  is vague until you specify how you're going to achieve it.

The key is to be organised and prep and plan as much as you can. Think about each step you need to take to achieve your goal, including how long it will take and what you need to do daily. For instance, if you're on a bidget

Lisa Raleigh enjoying healthy living by eating an apple and gardening 

ALSO SEE: 7 tips for healthy living

Picture success

One of the most effective ways to be successful is to constantly visualise how you want to be or what you want to achieve. Come up with a story of your life and envision how it would change once you achieve your goal. If it helps, watch movies or videos about people who have already achieved the goal you are working towards to get inspired, and possibly get additional tips from them.

This not only motivates, but also inspires the law of attraction or self-fulfilling prophecy in attracting what you want while you're also doing the work. Manifest your goals and hold on to that feeling.