THE BLOG
01/12/2015 04:02 pm ET Updated Mar 14, 2015

How to Make Your Goals a Reality

Have you already made and broken resolutions this year? Pretty typical. I used to set resolutions. Setting resolutions is fun, but they often are not measurable or realistic, and amount to nothing more than vague wishes. Inevitably I did not follow through.

Yet I want to hold myself accountable for my dreams and desires.

Enter goal setting.

I have discovered that if I don't set goals for myself (big and small), I'll spend each day putting out fires and handling my normal daily routine, without accomplishing anything new or special. Sound familiar?

If I set goals for myself, I will accomplish all the normal daily tasks, PLUS a few of my bigger projects. Without those concrete goals (and subsequent action steps), it's too easy to get caught up in the day to day busyness of life.

Today I'd like to encourage you to sit down for fifteen minutes and think about what you'd like to accomplish (or finish) in the next twelve months. Not your daily tasks, but the bigger things that you've been putting off. Write them down.

Take a look at your finished list -- are the goals realistic? Do you have too many goals? Too few? Will completing them improve your life? Do they feel good? If you can answer yes to all of these questions, then you have your final list of goals.

Knowing what you want to accomplish feels good, but creating a goal doesn't do you much good if you don't work towards achieving it. How do you make that happen?

There are dozens of theories and books available on goal setting and time management. I geek out on this topic, so I've studied numerous methods, and I've created my own mashed up system that works!

Here it is:

Once I have my list of goals finalized, I pull out my planner (I like old school paper, but you could use an electronic version instead), and think about when I'd like to accomplish each of my goals. I put a target date next to each goal and then copy that goal into my planner on the target date -- something like "Launched new coaching program" written down on September 15 as an example. Then (and this is the critical step to accomplishing your goals), I take each goal and break it down into smaller "to-do's." These need to be small, actionable steps that don't take you more than a few hours or a day at most to complete. Once I have the action steps drafted out, I simply transfer the first few specific "to-do's" for the big goal for THIS week into my daily planner. Back to my example, I might add "decide on format of program" to Monday of this week, "determine ideal participant" on Tuesday, and so on. Next week I'll review my entire list and transfer the next set of "to-do's" to that week. Continue to do this every week until you've reached your goal.

It is a pretty simple and intuitive process, but it keeps me moving towards my goals in bite sized steps -- I don't feel overwhelmed and by accomplishing a few new steps each week, the target dates get met!

Any more good goal setting (and achieving) tips out there? I'd love to hear how you meet your goals in the comments!