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How to Set Goals and Make Them Happen

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Goal setting is a powerful process that can help you turn your vision into achievable/actionable steps. To be successful in life and in business, it is essential to have goals. As Stephen R. Covey says in his book “7 Habits of Highly Effective People,” “To begin with the end in mind means to start with a clear understanding of your destination. It means to know where you’re going so that you better understand where you are now and so that the steps you take are always in the right direction.” Without a defined goal, there’s nothing to work towards and no motivation to get there.

Your goals can include long-term, short-term, lifetime, and personal goals, as long as they are all S.M.A.R.T: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Results-orientated, and Time-framed. The benefits of setting S.M.A.R.T goals have been written about in self-help books for years. One benefit is an increase in self-trust. When we make and keep commitments, such as setting and achieving goals, we gain confidence and trust in ourselves to make and keep commitments (to both others and to ourselves). Focusing on smaller, short-term goals and achieving success will also give you the confidence to set more ambitious goals.

How to set and achieve goals:

To make your goals S.M.A.R.T, use the following criteria:

Specific – Ensure you have a well-defined goal. State what you want to achieve and set a deadline.

Measurable – Define how you will measure progress and results.

Achievable – Make sure your goal is challenging but attainable. Setting unattainable goals will only set you up for failure!

Results-Oriented – Focus on the results you want to achieve.

Time-framed – Define a targeted finish time so that you can monitor the progress you are making towards your end result.

For example:

  Make more money
Increase average dollar sale from $480 to $530 by Feb 28th

Play more golf
Play golf 2x per week (Tues & Fri) from June 1st to Oct 15th

Increase profitability for 2019
Increase monthly revenue from $90K to $100K by March 30th

Draw more business from my website
Increase internet-generated leads from 15 to 20 per month by March 31st

Once you have some goals written, you must make yourself accountable for achieving these goals. Saying you want to do something isn’t good enough. You need to be reminded of your goals and you need to be pushed to achieve them even when you want to give up.

The following methods are proven and effective ways to increase your accountability:

1) Write your goals down

As simple as this sounds, writing something down has a significant effect on both your memory and your commitment. By writing out your goals, you are putting into physical form that which you wish to achieve.

Place your written goals in an area where you will regularly see them. By doing so, you will regularly be reminded of what it is that you set out to do. (Likewise, you will also be reminded when you fail to work towards these goals).

2) Map out a step-by-step plan to make your goals happen

Setting goals for yourself is only the first step. You need to know how you are going to achieve these goals. If you want to increase your yearly revenue by 50% next year, you need to have a concrete plan of action to make that happen. Simply “working harder” is not enough.

Write down the specific things you need to work on and brainstorm ways to solve these problems. By doing so, you will also be more invested in your goals because you will have spent a fair amount of time into making them happen, which will make you want to see them through to the end that much more.

3) Share your goals with others

Holding yourself accountable on your own is very challenging. On the contrary, sharing your goals with other people can be an incredibly powerful motivator and can help keep you accountable. By sharing your goals with others, you will have people to check in on you and to validate your efforts. You will also have the opportunity to hear advice from others about how to do things better.   

As entrepreneur Jim Rohn said, “Your life does not get better by chance, it gets better by change.” Setting goals and making a plan to achieve these goals will greatly impact your business and your life.


Heather Yakes is an internationally recognized business coach and employee engagement expert ranking in the Top 10 in the U.S. & Top 100 worldwide. Heather is the recipient of the 2016 Business Excellence Awards Coach of the Year, the 2018 ActionMan Award for the Best Client Impact, and the 2018 Franchisee of the Year Award. She has 20+ years of experience working with Fortune 500 Companies and Big 4 Consulting.