THE BLOG
12/31/2015 01:38 pm ET | Updated Dec 31, 2016

7 Ways to Set Better Goals

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Every year millions of people make promises to themselves about how the year will be different and better than the last. They set goals only to fail to reach them. In fact, most goals are discarded within six weeks.

If you want to reach your goals, set better ones. Here's how...

#1 Set shorter goals.

Most goals do not take a year to accomplish, yet people automatically use that time frame. How long will it actually take to reach a goal like, "Lose 10 pounds?" It doesn't take a year. It can certainly be done within two months. And it's much easier to focus for two month rather than twelve. Determine the shortest amount of time required to reach your goal and set it for that.

#2 Set wiring goals.

How are you wired? Do you start fast then fade? Are you slow and steady? By setting goals that match your personal makeup you will reach more of them and stay on track.

#3 Set partner goals.

Going it alone is tough for almost everyone. Get a partner and set goals together. Create an accountability schedule and consequences when either of you does not follow through.

#4 Set stronger goals.

You've heard the saying, "Shoot for the stars and you will hit the moon." That works for some folks, but not for most of us because the stars seem so far away. However, think about your attainable goal, then make it a little stronger. What's the next level you can take it to that will require a little more effort?

#5 Set happy goals.

While we do need to set some goals that just need to be done, don't forget to set some that will just be fun. A few years ago a friend and I made a half-marathon goal. We trained for 8 weeks, entered, and finished. We weren't a threat to compete, but it was fun and reaching the goal brought some smiles.

#6 Set immoveable deadline goals.

Many of our goals are too easy to retarget. We might say we want to write a book in by March 1, and two weeks out we change it to April, then May. Set a firm deadline that you cannot move. When we ran the half-marathon I didn't get to ask the race organizers to shift the date because I wasn't in shape! It was immovable. Do the same for your goals.

#7 Set rewarding goals.

Whether your goal is a week, or three months, or a year - reward yourself when you finish. Set the reward from the start so you can look forward and anticipate how you will celebrate. Make it something that matches the effort, energy, and focus that your goal will require.

This year really can be different, if you and I will just set better goals.