How To Develop Your Personal Goals & Succeed At Accomplishing Them

Smart Goals

If you want to start taking charge of your life, let me urge you to try personal goal setting as a first start Goal setting is a powerful process for thinking about what you want to accomplish in a given time period. I can provide you with guidance in setting personal goals for this year. Let’s get started.

Why Set Personal Goals?

Goal setting is useful for anyone who wants to achieve something. The choices are limitless. One of the most common goals is losing weight. Other examples of goals include planning a trip, writing a book, achieving a certain GPA, organizing or redecorating a room in your home. Think about what you want to accomplish this year let’s say by the end of the year.

To brainstorm some ideas to start with, complete this assessment.

Step 1: Life Balance Assessment

Let’s think about these areas of your life. Now consider how satisfied you are with these areas of your life. Give each item a rating of 1-10. The higher the score, the more satisfied you are with that part of your life.

  1. Profession
  2. Money/managing finances
  3. Family Relationships
  4. Socializing
  5. Emotional Health
  6. Physical Health
  7. Nutrition
  8. Sleep
  9. Spirituality
  10. Having Fun/Enjoying life

This exercise is to get the juices flowing about your current life: where is it out of balance, what’s working and what’s not going so well. Jot down some of your own ideas and then identify what areas of your life you want to improve. Keep your choices limited to 3 of your most important selections and these will represent your personal goals.

Step 2: Developing Your Goals

There are a variety of goal setting tools you can use. My personal favorite is the SMART model. SMART stands for:

S – Specific

M– Measurable goals

A – Attainable/Action-Oriented

R – Realistic

T – Time Bound (tracking progress)

Use the SMART Goals grid below to write out your goals. Take the first goal and define exactly what you want to occur.


Goals:Identify priority goals
Be Specific
Outcomes = What you want to achieve
Strategies/Action Steps
Start Date Completion Date


Example #1: Lose Weight

Let’s say you want to lose some weight. How many pounds do you want to lose? Identify the specific amount you want to lose. Next identify some time frames. What is the date I want to start this plan? I want to lose __ pounds by September, 2013. Think about what is a realistic amount of weight for you to loose within a given time frame-let’s say one month. Then think about what specific steps you need to take to achieve this goal. Also, consider how you will track your results. What resources will you need? Examples of actions steps:

  1. Exercise plan
  2. Food plan
  3. Weight coach/program/specific diet
  4. Daily and weekly accountability
  5. Motivations/rewards
  6. Identify the obstacles

Achieving Our Goals

According to Heidi Grant Halvorson, PhD, and author of the book Succeed: How We Can Reach Our Goals, “planning when, where and how you will take the actions needed to reach your goal is probably the single most effective thing you can do to increase your chances of success.” She further states that believing in yourself, and believing that you will achieve your goals also contributes to the success.

It’s in the power of positive thinking. Beliefs about our strengths and weaknesses play a large role in determining the goals you set for yourself. It’s not just whether you believe you have the ability that matters. What’s most important is whether you think you can get the ability.

Carol Dweck’s book on Mindset gives us powerful insights on how people’s mindset can have a huge impact on the outcome of their goals. What we learn from her is how we have the ability to change our mindset.

When Psychologist Gabriele Oettingen studied the motivational impact of believing you will succeed at your goal in her research project, she found that the women in her study who believed it would be easy to reach their goals were actually less successful in resisting temptation and achieving their actual weight loss goals. In contrast, the group of women who were successful believed that it would be a difficult road. These women put more effort into succeeding and took more action. They expected to work harder.

The optimal strategy is to think positively about how it will be when you achieve your goal while thinking “realistically” about what it will take to get there over time. As the obstacles arise as one expects, dialogue or write about them, know that they will not stand in the way of succeeding at your ultimate goal.

Final Thoughts

  • Select a goal that is important to you.
  • Use the SMART goals to define realistic goals and steps to achieving them
  • Identify a start date and time frames for achieving your goal
  • Plan ahead before starting.  What resources do you need?
  • Get the support you need to keep you on track.  Hire a coach or join a group or structured program.
  • Give yourself rewards for small successes along the way.
  • Identify the obstacles think about how you will deal with them.

– See more at:


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.