While researching the topic of goals, I came across a stat from Forbes that said only 8% of people will achieve their new year's resolutions. I can believe it. I have been writing up goals each new year's day since I got married over 20 years ago. It helped me focus on what I want to accomplish in the new year and helped me look at the big picture. It also helped me see what I had completed in the previous year.
Here are some of the questions I asked myself to make my goals more attainable.
- How will I measure the progress to meet this goal?
- What timeframe do I want to achieve this goal?
- What are the specific steps I can take to achieve this goal?
- How often will I revisit these steps to ensure I am on track? Do you want to measure your goals monthly or quarterly?
- What obstacles will I encounter, and how will I deal with them to achieve my goal?
- When will I start? You don't need to start in January.
- Will I need support from others to achieve this goal?
- Four Goal-Setting Quotes to Inspire You to Stick with Your Goal
How will I measure the progress to meet this goal?
Make sure you stay consistent with how you mark your progress. Determining it before you start your goal is best. However, you can tweak these benchmarks within the first few weeks to make sure they will really assist you in deciding if you are achieving your goal.
What timeframe do I want to achieve this goal?
Decide on the duration in relation to your goal. Not all goals need to be completed by the year's end. A goal can take a few months to complete. For example, you want to save money for your vacation in September. So you determine how much you want to save from now till September. When September rolls around, you have achieved your goal, and you can stop doing this goal, or you can continue. It doesn't need to be a continuous goal if you do not want it to be.
What are the specific steps I can take to achieve this goal?
This is where you need a precise process to go through. For example, if you want to lose weight, list the food you can eat and determine what activity you want to do to keep active. How often will you eat meals? Will you be following a diet plan? Is there exercise classes you will be taking during the week? Write everything down, so it reminds you. Using an electronic recurring appointment planner that alerts you on when an activity needs to be done will help you get used to a new habit.
How often will I revisit these steps to ensure I am on track? Do you want to measure your goals monthly or quarterly?
For example, if you want to lose weight, determine how long it would take you to lose a few pounds, then use that as your benchmark to reassess the goal to see if it is working.
What obstacles will I encounter, and how will I deal with them to achieve my goal?
This is where you can be the devil's advocate. What could happen that will not allow me to achieve this goal? Then create actions that you can use if these obstacles happen. For example, the obstacle could be when you eat out with family, and they pick a restaurant that doesn't have something that you can eat. The solution: You will eat before you go out and only have a drink.
When will I start? You don't need to start in January.
You could start in April or May. It's up to you. Spring may be easier for you to lose weight because the weather is better, and you can go outside more consistently to exercise.
Will I need support from others to achieve this goal?
Getting external support is helpful, but only if you pick the right people that support you. No one wants a person nagging about staying on a diet. Look for someone who has in the past assisted you with hard times. This person could be a family member or friend or even an acquaintance. Pick someone who has more knowledge than you or has done your goal before and succeeded.
Feel free to use these questions to make your goals stick, also. To motivate you, even more, feel free to share these quotes below to inspire yourself and others to stick with them.
Four Goal-Setting Quotes to Inspire You to Stick with Your Goal
A Goal without a plan is just a wish. ~ Antoine de Saint Exupery
Setting goals is the first step in turning the invisible into the visible. ~ Tony Robbins
Ambitious goals make for outstanding achievements. ~ Nike
If it doesn't challenge you, it doesn't change you. ~ Fred Divito
Which one is your favorite quote? Please leave a comment below.
Many other inspiring articles help you stick to your goal but are sometimes hard to find. Visit these articles I found online from other experts that may help.
10 Simple Strategies for Sticking to Your Goals
Identity-Based Habits: How to Actually Stick to Your Goals This Year
Feel free to revisit our other posts about goal setting:
How to Jump Start Your Goals This Year
The Best Goal Setting Advice You Were Ever Told
I hope these questions to make your goals stick help you achieve them quickly. Are there other questions you ask yourself to help you stick to your goal this year? Please leave a comment below.
Below are some wonderful goal-setting books for more information. Feel free to purchase them through Amazon.com. (affiliate)
This is a wonderful guide to really think through resolutions and make sure you have a plan. Simply stating that you want something to change isn't enough to make it happen and this guide is a great resource for helping people hammer out the steps to take to make a realistic, achievable goal. Great post, thanks!
Thanks for stopping by and commenting, Janet!
I love the way you approached this. I'm so tired of the constant retread of SMART goals, not because it's a bad system, but because it leaves out the essential success elements that you've spelled out — figuring out when to measure (and not just knowing you should measure), anticipating the obstacles and having contingency plans, and identifying that all-important support before you start. Great post, and I love the quotes, especially "If it doesn't challenge you, it doesn't change you."
Lots of great info here!
I adopted my dog during the winter - I figured I might as well get used to walking her in the cold and the dark right from the get go! But of course that's different, because with a dog you can't just put it off until another time.
I love these questions for setting up some very actionable goals. Great post!
I love the questions Sabrina and I can see that when you plan them out and take small steps towards your goals you will be successful. I really love your quotes too!
These definitely make you focus on making things happen. Answering these questions will help take our resolutions from vague ideas to specific actions, which is what they should be if we want to succeed.
Thanks for sharing. I'll be sharing these over dinner tonight with my family.
Diane N Quintana
Happy New Year, Sabrina! I love the way you explained goal setting and that it doesn't have to be a year-long event. I like creating mini-goals. I have goals for the week as well as goals for the month and quarter. A year is too long for me to work towards a goal. I do much better and have a better chance of achieving what I set out to accomplish if I focus on these smaller goals.
Me too, Diane!
I think sometimes we jump in before making a plan of attack. Asking these questions before acting on our goals can help us be more strategic and successful with our plans. Thanks for the reminder. =)
I totally agree. We also don't know what to ask ourselves to make sure we are doing what we ultimately want. I love these list of questions posts because it makes me really breakdown the process while I ask myself questions. Thanks for commenting, Deb.
I think the reason most people fail to keep their resolution is that they make them and then give little thought to how they will accomplish them. Your questions would help those folks come up with strategies to succeed. The quotes are excellent too. Have a great 2016!
Thank you for commenting. Beth. I totally agree. Have a great 2016!
Rose Mary Griffith
Good questions to stay on track throughout the year. I've been working on defining my goal-steps this week and feel pretty good about having a handle on things. We'll see when I check in with myself at month's end!
That's great, Rose Mary. Happy new year.
Love this post Sabrina! I just copied and pasted these onto a stickie on my computer! Thank you!
I'm glad you got value from the post. =)
great suggestions and quotes.
I had always used "if it is doe not require hard work, its not worth getting"
We live in a society now with immediate rewards. We think if we want something, try a little, we deserve it. So many people do not know that hard work is required for one to obtain something worth while.
Thanks for sharing.
Very true, William. Great quote. I know the kids these days really don't want to work for anything, but the ones that do will really make a global impact. Thanks for stopping by and sharing.
Great suggestions of questions to make your goal stick. Just think it's important to remember that a goal is constantly changing unless you are stagnating. So asking if the goal is still exactly the same is, in my opinion, another question of importance.
Thanks for commenting, Catarina. I totally agree. We need to ask how the goal has evolved and refined because it does over time.
I have used similar questions to reflect on my progress as a teacher as well as a freelancer. When it comes to editing, I track the average amount of time it takes me to do a copy edit, critique, etc. so I can try to shave a bit of time off in the year ahead.
That's great time management tips for writers. I plan on doing that more this year. Measuring how long it takes one to do things helps tremendously when it comes to managing tasks. Thanks for sharing.
Wonderful advice Sabrina. When I was coaching we often had discussions about goals and the one thing that people struggled with the most was defining the goal. I recently ran an online workshop and it was the same thing. Someone came up with a goal to "be more outgoing" but they had a really hard time defining what that meant, or what had to happen in order to consider it a success. These are pretty basic things that we need to address before we dive in to do the work because it's like heading out on a road trip to a place you've never been without a map. Thanks for the inspiration!
Thanks for commenting, Marquita, I totally agree. I think the hardest part of creating a goal is the steps to get to the goal and not the goal itself. =) Thanks for stopping by.
Meredith @ The Palette Muse
These are really great specific questions that will make it a lot easier to set realistic goals and know whether you're meeting them! And I love the idea of goals rather than resolutions.
Thanks for stopping by and commenting, Meredith. It's funny how a word like "resolutions" makes people not want to do them. We need to start a trend and change the word to something more doable. =)
I like the quote about the goal without a plan being merely a wish. I guess that has a lot to do with the 8% statistic.
Sabrina, those are great questions to keep you moving forward toward your goal. When I was still working I used a close version - now that I'm retired I kind of go with the flow. However, I have a lot of things I still want to do so may start with setting small goals and using your questions to stay on track. Totally love " A goal without a plan is just a wish". I pinned that one.
Excellent questions which will put you on the right track to actually achieving your goals. Anyone can write goals - far more thought needs to be given as to how you will arrive at it.
Those are wonderful questions to ask when setting any goal. I love, "How will I measure the progress to meet this goal?" That is so important because otherwise you have no clue if you are on the right track. I also love "A goal without a plan is a wish." It is so easy to hand onto wishes, but I personally know that I want more for myself!
It's one of my favorite quotes too. A wish is only that a wish. I want to have more than just wishes. Thanks for sharing.
Great advice for what to think about to help one achieve goals. Identifying steps makes the road more concrete and helps create a realistic timeline. Also thinking about obstacles ahead of time can result in identifying actions to avoid or minimize them. Back in my I.T. project planning days, that was known as risk management and a pretty important part of overall planning.
Well said, Donna. I agree. Thanks for sharing your expertise.