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My family moved to the United States when I was two years old. Since then, my parents have made it their mission to provide the best possible life for me and my sibling. My parents, as first-generation Indian immigrants, understood that in order to achieve their goals, they needed to work hard and adapt to a new culture, among other things.

My wonderful parents instilled in me these admirable characteristics. However, as I gained a better understanding of the world, I realized that achieving goals requires much more than just hard work and adapting to new situations.

Why is goal-setting important in creating the life you want to live?

Goal-setting is a vital life skill because it enables you to manage your path to success. According to Professor of Psychology at Northwood University Leslie Riopel, goal setting is extremely important because you can’t manage what you don’t measure and you can’t improve upon something that you don’t properly manage.

Goal setting was one of the skills I learned on my journey to self-empowerment. It made me realize that in order to achieve my goals, I needed to pay attention to everything that pointed in that direction. Not only did it help me focus, but it also triggered new skills and made me recognize the power I have to propel myself closer to my dreams.

What are the characteristics of a good goal?

If you had a good mentor in school or at work, they might have introduced you to the concept of SMART goals. Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-bound are all characteristics of a good goal. Following this framework will help you establish realistic and appropriate goals.

The framework’s premise is straightforward. Specific means that you must be very specific and narrow in your goals. Measurable implies that you can track your progress. Attainable means that you can reach your goal in a reasonable amount of time. Relevant goals are those that are personally relevant to your growth. Finally, time-bound implies that you have a specific deadline for achieving your goal.

At the beginning of each year, almost everyone in the world makes a New Year’s resolution to lose weight to improve health. If you were to write this using the SMART goal framework, you would arrive at something like this: In order to lose 15 pounds, I aim to lose 5 pounds per month for the next three months, by exercising and eating healthy.  

Using the SMART goal framework will help you understand what needs to be done to get you closer to your goal.

How do you get started with goal setting?

At this point, you are already equipped with the framework that will help you define the goals you want to achieve. But all of these are just suggestions until you start acting on them. 

Here are some tips to get you started.

  • Choose an area of your life that you want to improve. Recognizing that something is wrong in your life is the first step toward improving it. Consider which aspect of your life appears to be out of order. This would require a lot of introspection to help you identify which parts need to be improved and which goals to set.
  • One goal at a time. In today’s world, women can truly have it all. Goal-setting can help you achieve anything, whether it’s a rewarding career, financial independence, a blossoming relationship, or a lovely family. Determine which one you want to prioritize based on what makes you happy and fulfilled.
  • Write down your goals. Writing down your goals and keeping track of them helps you stay motivated and focused on achieving them. It guides you in mapping out the steps you need to take to get closer to it.
  • Dream big, but start small. When you set a goal, it’s also important to map out the steps to achieve it. These small steps will help you avoid fatigue and burnout so you can keep grinding towards your dreams.
  • Build a support system. Telling someone about your goal makes your plans more tangential and real. It’s also vital to have someone act as an accountability partner to check on you from time to time and remind you of the journey you are on.

Having a goal that is well-thought and planned is like having a map toward reaching it. Setting goals properly will provide you the tiny little steps you have to take in order to reach it. Planning these steps is just as important as identifying and achieving your goal. It’s okay if you make a mistake along the way. By having a well-thought plan you can remind yourself that you’ve done your best, and you can always take a step back and reflect on your experiences before moving forward and trying again.

And if at one point, you realize that you need someone else to guide you in setting and planning your goals, Life coaches are just a call away.