THE BLOG
01/06/2013 10:36 am ET | Updated Mar 08, 2013

How to Set Goals: 4 Steps to Making Things Happen

We all have things we want to accomplish. We may want to start something, or maybe we want to stop doing something. Perhaps we want more of one thing but less of another. Losing weight, making money, better relationships, obtaining inner peace, all of these things have to start with one thing: a decision. We need to consciously decide we are going to have, be, or do whatever it is that we desire, and then determine the steps that are going to make that happen. This is where good goal-setting comes into play.

Why is it important to set goals? It is important to set goals because in order to make something happen, we need to be able to envision it with clarity before we can make it a reality. What do you want? Ask yourself, what would I go for if I knew I would be successful? Once you have an idea in mind, I have identified four important steps to start making things happen:

1. Identify Your Goals. To identify what specific goals make sense for you, begin first by writing down what specific things you want in your life. How much money do you want to earn? Do you want to lose a certain number of pounds? Do you want a new car? To take a vacation? Maybe you just want to pay off your debt? Decide what you want, and set your goals.

2. Be Inspired. In order for a goal to hold our attention, it must inspire us. Once you have determined what you want, practice feeling what it will be like when you achieve your goal. Attaching a feeling to a goal makes it real. Now, mentally rehearse the feelings you will have once you achieve it. Is it joy? Happiness? Relief? Pride? Remember, your desire to achieve that feeling is why you have this goal. We need to shed the limitations we have unconsciously have set for ourselves by changing the way we think about ourselves and what we can accomplish and always believe that you are confident, capable and worthy.

3. Have No Fear. Sometimes we are afraid to set goals because we are afraid of disappointment or failure. Failure is just an opportunity to redefine our goals. We need to have flexibility to notice that as we move in the direction of our goals, there are sometimes more worthy goals that are revealed. We need to be able to adapt, redefine, and restructure our goals when appropriate.

4. Break It Down. So I don't get overwhelmed, and to better understand the steps it will take to accomplish my goals, I use a flowchart method. I draw boxes on a piece of paper and work backward through charts to better understand the steps I need to achieve the goal. For example: Write your goal down and make a box around it. Now ask yourself, "What needs to happen to make this happen?" Once you have determined what needs to happen, create a new row of boxes underneath the box with your goal, and write down all the action steps necessary. Now, what needs to happen to make that next level of boxes happen? Continue to break down all of the action steps necessary in as many rows as you need. Once you have broken down the action plan to the lowest level, you know exactly where to start and exactly what needs to happen! You have created "mini goals" to help you reach your main goal.

If you want things to change, you have to decide to make things change. Just as we need to establish what our goals are, we also need to make a commitment to those goals. You must set goals that are important to you, and then you need to identify the steps necessary to accomplish them. What can you do now that will move you toward your goal? What kind of positive action will lead you to the attainment of the goal? Break it down and get started!

For more by Denise Scarbro, click here.

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