Life Coaching

How do I set goals to change my life?

Most of us are coming fresh off of new years resolutions, perhaps some already abandoned two weeks in. But never fear.

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A goal properly set is halfway reached.

Zig Ziglar

How do I set goals to change my life?

Happy 2024! So, how do I set goals to change my life? Most of us are coming fresh off of new years resolutions, perhaps some already abandoned two weeks in. But never fear, the transition from one year to the next isn’t the only time for a change. You have the ultimate power to make everyday decisions that will influence your life for the better. I want to answer the question "How do I set goals to change my life?"

Seemingly trivial at times, setting and writing down goals can actually help you reap rewards. Harvard Business School conducted a study about goal setting with their alumni. The 3% of people they found who were actively writing down their goals were earning an average of 5x as much as the other 97% of participants! This isn’t to say that goal setting is a magic fix, but it will certainly guide you down your path with a steadier hand. Going through the intentional process of setting and writing down goals will raise your self-esteem and motivation, and will put you in the mindset of achieving tangible success.

Why set goals to change my life?

The exercise of goal setting is meant to inspire you to continue pursuing something you feel excited about and to ease the burden that tackling a big idea can sometimes invite. Goal setting is the act of envisioning the overall journey to guide you toward the life you want, and while you won’t change destinations overnight, you can easily change direction. It gives you the long term vision you need to accomplish great things while providing the short-term motivation to get you moving. Taking deliberate time to brainstorm why and how you want to achieve something will focus your resources and highlight distractions that might make success more difficult.

For example, let’s say you’ve always wanted to run a marathon. No small feat, training for one takes time and energy. Taking an intentional approach to planning for your first marathon will help you understand the exactly what you need to do to maximise your efforts. You might note that your time spent on Facebook after work might better be utilised by going on a run. You can research local running groups to find support and encouragement as you train, and can easily figure out how long it will take for you to be ready to run a full marathon.

So what’s the best way to set goals?

Here are some tips on how you can set goals that will ultimately manifest the changes you’d like to see:

1. The big picture.

Write down your big picture goals. Maybe you are gunning for that marathon. Maybe you want to start your own business! Where do you see yourself in 5 years, or even 10? Make a note of what you want your future to entail. Focus on what’s in your control, and keep it realistic – odds are you’re not going to marry your celebrity crush in 5 years. You might not be able to make Ryan Gosling fall in love with you, but you can focus your energy on being a more loving, compassionate person yourself.

2. The nitty gritty details.

Once you have your big picture goals established, break them up into smaller, doable pieces. Narrow down what you can do this year, this month, or this week, and write out a road map of baby steps so you can successfully hit your target. Be very intentional in how you craft your to-do list and add precisely what you need to do and when to your calendar.

3. Find your people.

One of the best ways to hold yourself accountable to following your road map is telling friends and family about it so they can cheer you along the way. A journey of any kind is far more difficult when done alone, and the encouraging of your loved ones can lift you up in moments of stress or doubt. Surround yourself with supportive, caring people, and the battle is halfway done.

Remember, goal setting is not a one-time exercise. Forget the once a year resolution bandwagon. Get in the habit of frequently checking in with yourself and writing down your goals, and every day you’ll be one step closer to living the life you’ve always wanted.