How to set goals, and achieve them
by Tobias • 5 minutes read
Last updated: 11 Jul, 2022
A very important, but often overlooked, skill. Learning to set a strong goal could be the difference between achieving what you want or not.
Here at Do Not Donut we are always trying to come up with new ways to help our readers. We have articles on how to begin using a skipping rope to workout and articles about the mental and physical health benefits of sharing a meal with family and friends. We are always asking how we can do better and how we can help more people get to where they want to be. And then it struck us, people may not have any idea where they want to be.
This is where goal setting comes in.
If you think of it in terms of a running race, it doesn't matter if you are the fastest or slowest runner if you don't know where the finish line is. Likewise with our goals, it doesn't matter if you are super hard-working and disciplined if you don't know what goal you are working towards and why.
A goal without a plan is just a wish
Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
So this took us to this point, how do you set and achieve your goals? Well luckily, we don't have to come up with all the ideas, there is something that already exists to help anyone and everyone. The SMART Method.
The SMART method is a tried and tested system that has a lot of different applications. Whether you are aiming to run your first 10k or get a new promotion or lose that stubborn 10 lbs around your midriff. SMART goals can help. SMART is an acronym, a 5 word technique to setting goals and reaching them. We'll break them down below.
The first part of what makes a good goal is specificity. For example a bad goal would be "I want to be healthier". Whilst this is a good idea, the vagueness of the goal makes it almost impossible to achieve. What would a goal look like once it's completed? When would you be "healthier"? Without a specific target you'll never know be able to map out an action plan to achieve it. An example of a good goal therefore would be "I want to lose 20 lbs" or "I want to be able to deadlift 80kg". These are specific goals with clear outlines for what counts as a success.
A good goal is a measurable goal. "I want to run more" is much weaker than "I want to run 6k every week". This is a specific and measurable goal, which can even be broken down into smaller goals, you can use a pedometer or one of the hundreds of apps on your phone to track your progress and see how close you are to reaching your goal each week.
This is perhaps the most important part to any goal, is it achievable? Whether this is over the short or long term, can you achieve what you want in the time you've given yourself. We would suggest to aim just higher than you think you can do, essentially aim as high as you can without feeling overwhelmed. Don't set an easy goal as it will just not motivate you to work at it.
Relevant can mean many things to many people but essentially you want to make sure that you actually really want to achieve your target. This is the time to really think about your "why". Why you want to achieve this goal. Are you doing it for yourself or others? Is it something you really want or something you think you should do? Pick a goal that motivates you, something you desire down to your very core. This will go a long way in help you accomplish your goal.
This last point is one of the most necessary parts to setting a clear and defined goal but is often the most overlooked, a time frame. When do you hope to achieve your goal by? A goal just isn't a goal unless you have a clear date for when you want to have achieved it. Once you set a time or date you will find a lot more urgency and motivation in your task.
Don't be afraid to set a big goal, always aim higher than you think you can and you will surprise yourself. Write your goal down, in a journal, or just on your phone, make a promise to yourself. As you progress, review your goal, does it still meet the SMART criteria? If you have thought about each of the 5 parts and really considered what it means to you, then the sky's the limit. Good luck!
We aim to always give appropriate credit to our reference sources and image authors. Contact us if you think a credit may be incorrect or you're an author and would like to request removal.