One of the things that differentiate successful people from their “not-so-successful” counterparts is that they set goals.

They put their dreams and aspirations into writing. They plan ahead and organize every year, quarter, month, week, and day of their lives.

Successful people live purposefully!

Where do you see yourself in a year? In 5 years? in 10? If you come up with a vague answer, as if you’re not sure as to what your future should be like, then it’s time to get to work, my friend. Setting goals and having a vision is imperative to your productivity and success!

There are many ways to do it, but I highly recommend the SMART method:

1. Specific

“If you don’t know where you’re going, you will probably end up somewhere else.”

— Laurence J. Peter

Your goals have to be specific. The more specific your goals, the better your chances of success. To help you get specific, try to answer as many “W” questions as you can.

Ask yourself:

  • What are you trying to achieve?
  • Who is involved in this process?
  • Where do you need to be to achieve this goal?
  • Why do you want to pursue this goal?

2. Measurable

“You manage what you monitor.”

— Gretchen Rubin

Big (worthwhile) goals are not achieved overnight, and so, it’s important that you provide yourself with parameters to measure progress. Doing so helps you stay on track until the completion of your goals.

Monitoring progress allows you to have “little” victories that accumulate and contribute to the achievement of your grandest goals.

Make a checklist on your favorite notebook, or create a spreadsheet on your computer, or download an app to help you monitor progress… whatever rocks your boat.

3. Actionable

In order for you to reach your goal, you need to have the right attitude, and the necessary faculties, skills, and abilities.

You need to work your way towards attaining these prerequisites to help you become more capable of reaching your goals. If you want to be a doctor, you’ll need to study medicine. If you want to be a marathoner, you’ll need to train.

4. Realistic

Set goals you actually want to achieve.

While it’s a good thing to dream big and set big goals, you have to be realistic. If you don’t have a realistic goal, it’s easy to get discouraged and give up.

Let me give you an exaggerated example to get the point across: If you’re planning to lose 20 kilos in the next month, you’ll probably stop by the second week.

The same thing goes for post-New-Year-resolution gym memberships… 80% drop out within 8 weeks.

Set yourself up to succeed – think BIG but be realistic!

5. Time-Bounded

“A goal is a dream with a deadline.”

Napoleon Hill

Your goals need to have a deadline to give your goals a sense of urgency. If you want to become a millionaire “someday”, it’s likely not going to happen.

Setting up a due date sets things in motion. You’ll find that your thoughts and actions slowly gear towards your goals.

Also, don’t underestimate (or overestimate) the time required to achieve your goals. Completing a big project may take more than a day, so don’t set yourself up to fail by planning to finish the project in 24 hours. It’s as bad as giving yourself a month to save 10 pesos… it’s ridiculous!

Statistically, only 3% of adults set SMART goals, and they accomplish ten times as much as people with none. My advice: don’t be part of the 97%!

So, what are you waiting for? Grab a pen and paper and write your goals now, and let goal-setting work its magic in your life today!