5 Ways to Set Achievable Goals

Eyes on the prize.

The experts have spoken—this is how you set (and achieve!) better goals. 5 Ways to Set Achievable Goals

The Skill Set: How to Set and Achieve Your Goals

1. Determine your “why”

“Often, people set a goal because it sounds good,” says life and career coach Gretchen Hydo. “They want the result, but they don’t necessarily want to have to do the work that it takes to get there.” Understanding why you want to achieve something will help you put a plan into action and stay motivated. “Make sure that your payoff is relevant to your life and big enough to motivate you,” she says. 

2. Visualize what it’ll look like to reach your goal

“Visualize yourself on each step of the journey,” says Gretchen. “Picture yourself as you are today and then imagine how you will be once you reach your end-goal,” she says. “How do you look? How do you feel? What did you have to let go of along the way? Who helped you get there? How is your life better because of this change? What made it hard? Who supported you?” 

3. Break lofty goals down into actionable steps

“When goals are too big, they become overwhelming,” says Gretchen, “Successful goals are SMART: specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and timely.” Tova Weinstock, an organizational expert, suggests visually breaking down your goals into actionable steps. “Goal-setting goes hand in hand with physical and mental organization,” she says. “For example, break ‘grow social media presence’ into goals like ‘follow 20 people on Twitter’ or ‘comment on 20 Instagram photos.’ Seeing doable steps written out helps you organize your time and stay clear-headed.” 

4. Find supportive people

“Surround yourself with people who can walk the journey with you,” says Gretchen. Rosie Pope, a busy entrepreneur and mom, credits her tribe of family and friends as instrumental to her success. “As women, we often try and do all of the planning without taking into consideration our partner or team and the role they will play in achieving our goals,” she says. “Whether there is a partner in the picture or not, you are not going to be able to do this alone, so building your team—your tribe—will be essential to supporting you on your journey.” Plus, involving other people will help you stay on course. “It’s easier to stay accountable to others than it is to ourselves,” says psychologist Dr. Lauren Hazzouri

5. Keep your eye on the prize

When you hit bumps in the road, having your long-term goal in mind will remind you to look at the big picture and keep moving forward. When Anne Wojcicki’s groundbreaking company, 23andMe, received an FDA warning letter, they were under heavy restrictions for two years. “We have the same mission and goals today that we did when we started," she says of the experience. “The short-term bumps don’t matter as much because we’re focused on our long-term view.”


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Image Courtesy of Ivanka Trump. Photographer: Kenneth Grzymala