10 Keys to Setting and Achieving BIG Goals

Posted by Todd Smith

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What are some of the goals you’ve set over the last year? Being 100% honest, are you on track to achieve those goals? As you look over the last five years, what’s your track record for setting and achieving your goals?

My life experience tells me that very few people achieve their goals. Whether their goal is to lose weight, reduce debt, increase income, build a side business, or accomplish some other challenge, it doesn’t matter. Most people do not achieve their goals.

Do you know the worst part? Each time you set a goal and fail to achieve it, the negative experience damages your self-esteem and self-confidence. After all, how can failing to achieve an important goal not negatively affect you?  You can tell yourself it’s no big deal, but deep down inside you know the truth.

When people continually fail to achieve their goals, they stop dreaming and no longer believe they can achieve anything worthwhile. Then, like millions of other people, they aimlessly drift through life until they die.

I firmly believe that you can achieve any goal that is truly important to you. You just need to learn the keys to setting and achieving goals and then use your discipline to achieve them.

10 Keys to Setting and Achieving BIG Goals

1. Start by setting small, short-term goals – Every time you set and achieve a goal, your confidence and sense of competence increase. Start your journey by setting small, achievable goals and then taking the steps necessary to achieve them.

  • Lesson: Set some easy goals that you would like to achieve this week. It could be applying for that great job you really want or exercising after work tonight. Every time you achieve a small goal, set a new one. As you build your confidence in achieving small goals, you will believe you can achieve big goals.

2. Set goals that are important to you – Let’s be honest: to achieve any worthwhile goal requires you to do things you would prefer not to do. If your goal is not HIGHLY important to you, you won’t do what’s required of you to achieve it. The obstacles in your path won’t be worth overcoming, because the prize isn’t important enough.

  • Lesson: ONLY set goals that are highly important to you.

3. Identify your biggest obstacles – When you look at your goal, ask yourself, “What will be required of me to achieve this goal? What will be the biggest obstacles I will have to overcome?” Make a list of all the things you will need to do and the challenges you will likely face.

  • Lesson: Be honest with yourself and consider the potential challenges you will face on your journey.

4. Ask, “Am I willing to do what’s required?” – This is the time when you need to be honest and ask yourself one more time, “Is this goal important enough to me that I will make the sacrifices necessary and do what is required of me every day to achieve my goal?”

  • Lesson: Unless you are willing to do what’s required of you EVERY DAY to achieve your goal, don’t play games with yourself and think you are going to achieve it.

5. Create milestones – Break your goal down into smaller goals. If your goal is to lose 30 pounds this year, then set the dates when you will be down 5 pounds, 10 pounds, 15 pounds, etc. If your goal is to increase your commissions from $60,000 to $100,000 over the next 12 months, then set the dates when you will have earned $10,000, $25,000, $50,000, etc.

  • Lesson: Break your big goals down into small goals. This allows you to focus on achieving smaller goals and measuring your progress. If you are falling behind, you can make up ground as you work towards your next milestone.

6. Put together your plan and break it down into daily activities – If you are going to achieve any worthwhile goal, you must know what you should be doing each day. When I set a goal in 1989 to make $400,000 selling real estate, I knew exactly how many calls I needed to make every day. If I fell behind one day, I made it up the next day. At the end of the year, I made $401,000.

  • Lesson: Put together your plan and then break it down into what you should be doing every day, then set up a daily routine. When I was a Realtor, I prospected EVERY morning (Monday through Saturday) starting at 9 AM. Routines create structure and make it easier to work on our daily action plans.

7. Work your plan – Once you know the actions you need to take every day, you must use your personal initiative and discipline to do what you know you should do, even when you don’t feel like doing it. This is when your resolve to overcome those obstacles you knew you would face will be tested.

  • Lesson: Do what you’ve agreed to do each day. If you fall behind one day, make it up the next day.

8. Hold yourself accountable – While an accountability partner always helps, the truth is no one is going to hold you accountable to your goals. It’s your life and these are your goals. You know what you should be doing each day, and now it’s your responsibility to hold yourself accountable to working your plan and refusing to allow excuses.

  • Lesson: When you don’t do what you’ve agreed to do, get pissed at yourself.  You cannot think it’s okay to not hold yourself accountable!!  This is likely where you have likely failed in the past and you cannot allow yourself to make excuses for not doing what you should.

9. Enjoy the journey – While achieving big goals is challenging and takes perseverance, enjoy the journey. Encourage yourself daily. Congratulate yourself when you do things that challenge you. Give yourself a little fist bump every time you push yourself outside your comfort zone. As you reach each milestone, reward yourself.

  • Lesson: Success is not a destination; it’s a journey. Find ways to enjoy the process of achieving your goals.

10. Visualize your goals coming true – The best way to stay motivated and disciplined is to see your goals coming true. If you want a new home, what does it look like? If you want to lose 30 pounds, what will you look like? Want to become a top producer? Imagine getting an award at next year’s award banquet.

  • Lesson: Create clear visuals in your mind of you achieving each of your goals. If possible, take photos or images of your goals and put them in places where you will look at them daily.

There are very few things that will have a more positive influence on how you see yourself than when you set big goals, refuse to make excuses, and achieve them.

My mentor, Jim Rohn, said, “After you become a millionaire, you can give all of your money away because what’s important is not the million dollars; what’s important is the person you have become in the process of becoming a millionaire.”

You can achieve every goal that is important to you and live the life of your dreams. Will it be easy? No. Will it be worth it? Yes. Step out from the crowd and build a life that makes you proud.

About the Author:

Todd Smith is a successful entrepreneur of 43 years and founder of Little Things Matter. This blog contains over 200 of his timeless life lessons.


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