The subject of goal setting is really important in ensuring you have a direction in life and a way to get to your destination. So having goals and being able to use them effectively is a must. But how many goals should you set? Well there is no right or wrong answer to that as each of us is different and looking to achieve different things.

We are all going to have long-term goals that set down where we will be in, say, 5 years time. (Note it should be stated as where you WILL be in 5 years not where you want to be or hope to be – always be positive.)

Equally you will have medium-term goals – you probably, like most people, set goals at the start of each year for what you are going to do that year. That’s OK as long as they are properly formulated and written goals that are SMART – Specific; Measurable; Achievable; Realistic; and Time-Constrained.

But also you will have short-term goals, such as simply the things you do each day, week, or month. When learning about time management, using a closed daily task list is recommended so that each day you simply tick off your tasks as you complete them. Your goal then is completing everything on your list.

So you may have a long-term goal, 4 or 5 medium-term ones, and several short-term but just how do you manage them and ensure that each is followed through? All of your goals require some of your resources: time, money, effort, etc and as these things are limited, your goals can sometimes appear to conflict with one another. If you work on one will it mean falling down on another?

Well no, it shouldn’t, but good management is essential and these tips will help you in managing all of your goals:

#1 Always Write Down Your Goals

If you fail to do this one simple thing you will fail to achieve your goals. It can be completing the simple daily task list as already mentioned for short-term goals, or a full statement of the goal and its outcome for your ultimate long-term goal. Just be sure to do it!

#2 Break Your Goals Down

The easiest way to achieve your goals is to break them down into smaller manageable chunks. Schedule tasks relating to each part of the goal so that each day you know exactly what steps you have to take.

#3 Be Realistic

Having a number of goals all running at the same time is OK but be realistic about what you can achieve in any given time-frame. Don’t overload yourself with tasks.

#4 Stagger Your Goals

Don’t fall into the trap of having all your goals due for completion at the same time. That’s why setting New Years Resolutions as goals, for example, is not a great idea as the deadlines will all come together. That will only increase the stress and lead to frustration causing you to become de-motivated.

#5 Mix Simple and Difficult Goals

Always work on simple and difficult goals at the same time. Just working on the challenging, long-term goals can be stressful but having simpler, short-term goals that will give you quick results will boost your enthusiasm and motivation for the harder tasks you need to do.

#6 Be Flexible

Whilst it is important to have time-frames and measurable targets for your goals, it will be counter-productive if they become unrealistic. So rather than becoming frustrated and giving up, just adjust your goals so that they become achievable again. Even if you have to put a goal on hold it is not a problem as long as you are managing it and that you write down what you plan to do.

#7 Don’t Let Your Goals Control You

The whole point of having goals in your life is to ensure that you achieve the things you want to do. They are the means to getting to where you want to be and becoming the person you desire. If doing the tasks associated with them starts to become a chore then you are getting it wrong. You must retain control and be happy doing what is required.

My #1 Goal begins, “Each day I wake up feeling happy…”

It’s a pretty good place to start!

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