Have you set goals in the past but they didn’t stick? Check out this list of helpful tips on how to set goals and keep them.

  1. Look at the big picture

Look at life and see if you are where you want to be. Ask yourself the big questions. The answers don’t have to be complex, it could be as simple as “I want to be happier” or “I want to help more people”. Looking at your life and seeing what you are missing is the first step in setting goals.

  1. Set Only A Few Goals

Now that you have looked at the big picture you can start setting goals. Keep in mind that it is better to set a few attainable goals than to set many goals that you won’t be able to finish. Also keep in mind that setting big goals smaller goals or action steps come below that. If your goal is to get a better education your other goals can be things like the degree, how far do you want to go, bachelors, maters, doctorate? What school do you want to attend? Each of these doesn’t need to be a separate goal, but one underneath a larger goal. These are the steps you will take to achieve your big goal.

  1. Keep It Positive

It’s easy for us to stay in the negative, but don’t let your goal be, “I hate my job so I want to get a new one.” Instead a goal should be positive, “I want to gain new skills so that I can move up in position within the company”.

  1. Be S.M.A.R.T.

SPECIFIC: It does you no good in setting a goal like, “I want to get in shape” that gives you nothing to work for. If your goal is something like, “I want to run a half-marathon”, or “I want to be able to ride 20 miles” it gives you something to work toward.

MEASURABLE: Being able to measure your goals means that you will have the ability to assess and make sure you are on track. A good way to do this is to have action steps for your goals that are daily, weekly, or monthly. Maybe for your half-marathon you want to run every day, make sure to be specific in this step, are you trying to run a certain length or for a certain amount of time? Using action steps will help you measure your goals and keep you on track.

ATTAINABLE: Are your goals attainable? To put this in perspective if your goal is to be the next saint named by the Catholic church you may be aiming to high, although it is highly admirable. It would be better to focus on a goal you know you can achieve, such as volunteering at your local soup kitchen, or starting a food or coat drive in your community.  You can make this a yearly, monthly, or weekly event.

RELEVANT: Are your goal relevant to the big picture you see yourself in? Does your goal fit into your life plan? Will your goals make you happy? The last question to ask is if this goal is relevant to the here and now or if it should be something that you work on in the future.

TIME-RELATED: Set a due date for your goals, this will keep you on track and give you a way of assessing yourself and the goals. If we go back to the half-marathon goal, if you want to do it this year is that enough time? Can you do more, should you set your bar higher? Make sure that the time table of your goals works for you, and not for where you think you should be. If you want to run that marathon but have never run before you aren’t going to be able to train in a month. Don’t set yourself up to fail.