It is never too late to set goals and make plans – you can do it even at the time of retirement. But it is always better to make goal setting a lifelong habit, starting at an early age.

Effective goal setting and the passion to chase one’s dreams are often rated as the key difference between success and failure. Simply put, if you want to reach success, you should live a goal-oriented life.

It’s long been known that people with clarity about what they need to do in their life have a greater chance to succeed in life. To bring more clarity to your life, you need to start setting goals.

Listed are some golden rules that can make goal setting more effective.

1. Set Realistic Goals

One of the biggest disappointments in life is failing to achieve your goals. Make sure to set realistic goals that will motivate you to action. The feeling that your goals are achievable not only instills a can-do attitude but also boosts your self-esteem. In case of unrealistic goals, it will do the opposite to you.

Successful people set realistic goals, achieve them, feel satisfied, and then set new ones, thus keeping the process of goal setting going. In fact, many successful people claim that later in their life, following this process was actually more important to them than achieving the goals.

2. Set Clear Goals

Your goals must add clarity to your future life and your path towards success. They must be very specific. For example, “I want to find a job in the next 6 months” is a vague goal. On the other hand, “I want to find a job in a specific company before the end of March” is a specific goal.

Similarly, “I want to score top marks in the final exams” is a vague goal. When the goals are clear, they are doable and easy to stick with.

Another activity that will help with goal setting is writing them down. It is a fact that people who follow written goals are 50% more likely to achieve them compared to others. This is the first thing taught by life coaches and self-improvement gurus – set realistic goals and write them down.

As a thumb rule, always set measurable and time-bound goals as they work best. Here is a quick checklist for clear and S.M.A.R.T goals.

  • S – Specific
  • M – Measurable
  • A – Attainable
  • R – Realistic
  • T – Time Bound

3. Share Your Goals with a Close Friend

It may sound strange, but sharing your goals with your close friend and updating them regularly about the progress can increase the chances of achieving your goals. It is an established fact, according to a recent study by Gail Matthews at Dominican University.

The study revealed that those who share their goals with their friends and keep them updated achieve their goals 75% of the time. Just make sure that you share your intentions with someone you can trust.

This should be a person who wants to see you succeed and will encourage you – someone you can call a true friend. Remember that sharing your plans and goals with the wrong people can have an adverse effect.

4. Goal Setting Is Not Enough, You Also Need an Action Plan

Goal setting itself is only half of the job as you also need an action plan. Setting a goal is the first step of a process that also includes taking real actions to turn your intentions into a reality. In simple words, you also need to think over a path towards your goal.

The recipe for success is simple – brainstorm a detailed and well-described action plan and stick to it. The best way to achieve this is to make a to-do list and follow it with devotion. Goal setting also allows you to manage your time and plan your life more effectively.

Some businessmen hire virtual assistants to delegate small tasks and have more time for their business priorities. Some people invest early in their lives to meet their retirement goals. This is what effective goal setting does.

It brings clarity to your life, motivates you to follow an action plan and helps you manage your time in a smart way.

To sum up:

  • Carry your goals with you. The best way to do this is to write them down on your phone or use apps that can help you follow the action plan.
  • Set goals that motivate you. Start with small goals and make sure they are realistic.
  • Achieving the goal is not that important as enjoying the process.
  • Achieve goals, set new ones, and repeat the cycle until it becomes a habit.

If you ask successful people about the secret of their success, you will find one thing in common. They all had clear goals in their life with well-defined action plans. So do you want to be successful too?

Implement the above-described goal-setting rules today and you will thank yourself tomorrow.

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