Goal setting can be an invigorating practice. I’m a planner by nature, and so for me, there is nothing more exciting than making goals. However, it is so critical to do more than just think about what our goals are. We must also get them on paper. Why is this important, and how can we set goals that we can realistically accomplish?

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Writing down your goals is important for many reasons. It gives you accountability for working on that goal. It empowers you. It validates your desires.

In the business world, there is a lot of talk about SMART goals. SMART goals are not only useful in the business arena, but in any and every type of goal setting! What does the acronym SMART stand for?

S-Specific (Instead of writing “Improve my eating habits” you could write “Improve my eating habits by cutting sugar from my diet.”)

M-Measurable (How will you know when your goal is accomplished? Instead of “Grow my blog audience” it could be “Grow my blog audience by increasing my page views to 5,000 per month.”)

A-Attainable (Make sure that your goal is within realistic reach.)

R-Relevant (Is this particular goal fitting for your season in life? Is it worthwhile?)

T-Time-bound (Set a deadline for reaching your goal.)

The next step, after you have written down your SMART goals, is to visualize what your goal looks like when it is completely accomplished—and then plan backwards. How far into the future is your deadline by which you want to have your goal accomplished? How many days/weeks/months? Break the steps toward your goal down into sizeable chunks. Like the adage goes, “Begin with the end in mind.”

I use this strategy each and every time I want to set a goal. Another challenge that we often face in setting and pursuing goals is when our motivation wanes. It’ll happen at some point! One good idea is to find some good, positive motivational sentences, write them down, and put them up somewhere where they are in your view. Here are some ideas:

  • Make a vision board, of WHY it is important that you achieve this goal.
  • Draw out what you want your ideal future to look like (after you achieve your goals.)
  • Write down positive affirmations for yourself. (e.g., “I have what it takes to achieve my goals.” “I am strong.” “I am an overcomer.” Be creative!)

My last tip for goal setting is, once you’ve got your SMART goals written down, and once you’ve broken the goal into sizeable chunks from the end to the beginning, and once you have posted your motivational sentences, THEN go out and find someone to hold you accountable in achieving your SMART goals! This needs to be a person with whom you can be completely honest, and whom you can trust to be lovingly honest and encouraging to you.

What are your SMART goals? How can you use this information to modify your goals or to set entirely new ones?