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How to Set Achievable Goals

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So, how did you spend your New Year’s resolutions this year? It’s losing weight/getting in shape for many Americans. So everyone returns to the gym packed from 5 a.m. to 10 p.m. for the next few months. But it’s all over by March. So, what happens? Most of us start strong but then lose focus and momentum, and find other things to do, never making long-term progress toward our goals.

How can we avoid this?

We can create lasting change and prevent the early demise of our good intentions…our New Year Resolutions, whether they involve personal goals like getting in shape or business goals like more clients or more revenue.

Step one is to DREAM BIG.

When you’re alone in the car, spend some quiet time with yourself by turning off the television or soaking in a hot bath. Examine your New Year’s resolution and clarify it if it is critical to you. That is, mentally immerse yourself in your dream. If you want to increase your revenue by 100% in the next five years, visualize it. How would that differ from your current situation? What would you put on? What would your responsibilities be? What would your dream home/vacation retreat look like? What does it smell like? Would it allow you to dine at high-end restaurants? What would that taste like? Imagine yourself walking through your day—imagine it!

So, the first distinction between achieved and abandoned goals is that successful people begin with an imagined idea or vision, a clear goal, and then keep it in the forefront of their minds.

Less successful people? It’s not that they don’t want to change or that change is too difficult for them – their change fails because they skip this foundational piece entirely – they don’t take time to dream, and they believe they are too busy to set a goal.

So, how do you keep your success in the forefront of your mind once you’ve created a clear image of it? How do you keep it going?

Here are a few simple ways that, if done consistently, make it possible:

Visualization is the mental representation of a goal that has been achieved.
Affirmations – repeating it over and over, writing it down, etc.
Tell others about it.
Make your environment conducive to change.
Surround yourself with people who are evolving.
Read self-help books.
Reward yourself as you go.
Make a goal for yourself and set aside regular time to review it and your progress.
As a result, we see that we must first dream big to create lasting change. But then we have to take a step back for a moment and…

STEP TWO: BEGIN SMALL

Try a variation of a simple exercise suggested by David Allen, author of Getting Things Done.

Take a minute RIGHT NOW to write down the project, goal, or dream that is foremost in your mind. (It could be getting 30 new contracts this year, taking that vacation you’ve always wanted to take, volunteering to coach your son’s t-ball team, or losing 40 pounds. Write down whatever it is.)

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Now, what is the following physical activity needed to move you closer to your dream or goal? (In other words, if you had nothing else going on in your life but this dream, what visible action would you take?)

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Would you print your client list, send an email to schedule a meeting with your manager, or call a travel agency for brochures? How do I become a t-ball coach? Call a friend and inquire about her current weight loss program. Would you take out a pad of paper and scribble down ideas, call an office meeting, call a family planning session, or schedule a time to pull your boat out of storage? What is the following step?

Now take a moment to reflect on how you felt when you first named your goal and dream and how you feel now. Like most people, you feel a little more hopeful, proactive, and in control. Energized and focused. You might be thinking to yourself; I can do this. I am capable of change.

With this new sense of hope and confidence, you are far more likely to be moved to take the next step. Then you go through the process again and again and again.

Small steps taken consistently yield significant results.

And what was it that enabled you to begin bridging the gap between where you are now and where you want to be? Just one thing: deciding on the next course of action. Not much thought, but enough to move your feet in the right direction and increase your commitment.

So, what is the final step?

Step 3: Include Others

Andrew Carnegie, the world’s richest man (http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/amex/carnegie/), did not do it alone. The opposite is true. He consistently attributed most of his success to his ability to surround himself with masterminds.

These people are known as mentors, accountability partners, or coaches in our day and age.

Accountability is effective!

Only 25% of people who set a goal achieve it.
50% of people who set goals with a timeframe and a plan succeed.
95% of people who make a plan and commit to a specific accountability meeting with an outside advisor achieve their goal.
Accountability is effective. It is the unsung hero in nearly every success story. And this type of powerful synergy generated by involving others is not limited to the wealthy and famous. It is accessible to ordinary people like you and me.

It’s something I see with my clients daily. They choose to transform their businesses and careers and complete tasks each week that brings them one step closer to achieving something they had only imagined.

You, too, can set and achieve goals. You can experience the long-lasting change!

Remember that there are only three steps:

Big Dreams

Begin Small

Include Others

Maintain your focus and motivation, and you’ll be surprised that you can make your New Year’s Resolutions a reality!

This article may be reused with the following language: Regina Hudson de Corona, Business Coach in Birmingham, Alabama, is the creator of the More R.E.V.E.N.U.E. System, a tried-and-true step-by-step program that teaches you how to make more REVENUE with less effort and in less time. Visit to learn more about taking your business to the next level.

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