To accomplish your goals, however, you need to know how to set them. You can't simply say, "I want" and expect it to happen. Goal setting is a process that starts with careful consideration of what you want to achieve, and ends with a lot of hard work to actually do it. In between, there are some very well-defined steps that transcend the specifics of each goal. Knowing these steps will allow you to formulate goals that you can accomplish.
An action plan is the road map you can follow that will get you to your goal. This will help ensure you don’t miss any important steps. Think of this as creating mini-goals, breaking bigger objectives into smaller steps, until you have “bite-sized” chunks. By doing this, your goal will seem less daunting and more attainable. Be specific about what you want to achieve each step of the way.

When you stand on the beach and watch the waves hit the shore, do you think there’s any end to the water? There is, of course, but we can’t comprehend it, so we think seawater is endlessly abundant. You would never deny a bucketful to a child building a sand castle because you can refill that bucket again and again. That’s how the abundance mindset works. You give away praise, recognition, ideas, knowledge and money because you know there’s plenty to go around. What you give away will come back to you a thousand times over.
Include precise amounts, dates, and so on in your goals so you can measure your degree of success. If your goal is simply defined as "To reduce expenses" how will you know when you have been successful? In one month's time if you have a 1 percent reduction or in two years' time when you have a 10 percent reduction? Without a way to measure your success you miss out on the celebration that comes with knowing you have actually achieved something.

The hard choices — what we most fear doing, asking, saying — are very often exactly what we need to do. How can we overcome self-paralysis and take action? Tim Ferriss encourages us to fully envision and write down our fears in detail, in a simple but powerful exercise he calls "fear-setting." Learn more about how this practice can help you thrive in high-stress environments and separate what you can control from what you cannot.
Break the big picture down into smaller and more specific goals. Consider areas of your life that you either want to change or that you feel you would like to develop with time. Areas might include: career, finances, family, education, or health. Begin to ask yourself questions about what you'd like to achieve in each area and how you would like to approach it within a five year time frame.[2]
Italiano: Stabilire i Propri Obiettivi, Español: establecer metas, Deutsch: Ziele setzen, Português: Definir Metas, Français: se fixer des objectifs, Nederlands: Doelen stellen, 中文: 设立目标, Čeština: Jak si určit cíle, Русский: поставить цель, हिन्दी: लक्ष्यों को निर्धारित करें, العربية: تحديد الأهداف, Tiếng Việt: Đặt Mục tiêu, ไทย: ตั้งเป้าหมาย, 한국어: 목표를 세우는 법, 日本語: 目標を設定する

In How to Join the Ranks of Goal Setting Achievers Paul Shearstone writes, "Setting goals is the genesis from which all things great and not so great are accomplished... It should be noted that there is no small coincidence between the one percent that write goals down and the highest achieving, highest income-earning men and women around the world."
Set goals that relate to the high priorities in your life. Without this type of focus, you can end up with far too many goals, leaving you too little time to devote to each one. Goal achievement requires commitment, so to maximize the likelihood of success, you need to feel a sense of urgency and have an "I must do this" attitude. When you don't have this, you risk putting off what you need to do to make the goal a reality. This in turn leaves you feeling disappointed and frustrated with yourself, both of which are de-motivating. And you can end up in a very destructive "I can't do anything or be successful at anything" frame of mind.
Welcome to the club! Great question. There are any number of reasons why we may be unable to achieve a goal by the deadline. Your instincts are on the mark. When you find yourself in a situation where you are unable to achieve your goal by the initial date you set for yourself, revisit the goal. If it is a big goal, break the goal down into smaller goals and set deadlines that are realistic to achieve.
Include precise amounts, dates, and so on in your goals so you can measure your degree of success. If your goal is simply defined as "To reduce expenses" how will you know when you have been successful? In one month's time if you have a 1 percent reduction or in two years' time when you have a 10 percent reduction? Without a way to measure your success you miss out on the celebration that comes with knowing you have actually achieved something.
Before an individual can set out to achieve a goal, they must first decide on what their desired end-state will be. Peter Gollwitzer's mindset theory of action phases proposes that there are two phases in which an individual must go through if they wish to achieve a goal.[9] For the first phase, the individual will mentally select their goal by specifying the criteria and deciding on which goal they will set based on their commitment to seeing it through. The second phase is the planning phase, in which that individual will decide which set of behaviors are at their disposal and will allow them to best reach their desired end-state or goal.[10]:342–348
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