How to Set Goals and Achieve Them

21 June 2019

Setting goals is a great way to focus your energy and achieve the things you want in life. It’s extremely common to set goals around the New Year period but goals can, and should, be set at any time of the year. Many people set themselves goals with the best of intentions but often fail at the first hurdle. We’ve put together ways you can ensure you achieve the goals that you set yourself.

It’s important that as individuals, we give ourselves a chance at succeeding and taking these steps can help. We dive deeper into how to achieve your goals, and outline how being a part of the Army Cadets can inspire you to create realistic targets.

Decide what you want to achieve

Personal goals are exactly that – personal. Don’t create goals that other people think you should have; focus on a positive change that you know will benefit you. If goals are meaningful, you’re more likely to achieve them. Think about something that is going to make you happy, whether it’s progressing in your career, affording a dream holiday or moving to a new house.

Set goals that motivate you

Are the goals important to you? Is there any value in achieving them? If accomplishing something won’t make much difference to your life or doesn’t thrill you, you probably won’t work hard to achieve it. You need motivation in order to succeed.

Whether it’s work related or a personal target, set goals that are related to the things you prioritise. It could be your career, or it could be a relationship, stability or family. It’s important to note that if you set too many goals, it’s unlikely that you’ll achieve all, if any. Focusing on one or two big objectives means the likelihood of success is much higher, as you can channel your focus on specific tasks.

If you’re unsure of the reasons that you want to achieve your goals, write down why you believe they’re valuable and important. Just think, how would you convince others that this is a goal worth striving for?

Write them down

Speaking about our feelings usually makes them more realistic and motivates us to act on them. Similarly, the same can be applied for writing down your goals. Writing down your goals on a piece of paper and putting it somewhere you will see it every day - like the fridge or bathroom mirror – will remind you of what you want to achieve. Having this constant reminder means it’s more likely to be on your mind, which in turn encourages you to continuously work towards the end result.

Tell people

If you tell people about what you want to achieve, you’ll want to prove it to them as well as yourself. If people keep asking you how it’s going, you’ll naturally prefer to tell them that it’s going well rather than the opposite. It keeps you accountable and provides some extra motivation versus doing it all by yourself.

Break it down and make an action plan

This step is uber important as it makes larger goals feel much more attainable, and it can boost your morale. The outcome of your target may not be reachable without achieving the baby steps up to it. So, write out all the necessary individual steps that are needed in order to accomplish your ultimate goal. Not only will it make it seem easier to comprehend, it will make you feel great as you tick off the smaller steps.

Set S.M.A.R.T goals

S.M.A.R.T goals are regularly referenced to in a work setting. But they work for personal lives too as they bring structure and trackability into your objectives. S.M.A.R.T goal setting stands for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time-Bound.

  • Specific – Clear and defined goals provide direction and make it easier for you to achieve them. For example, ‘get a promotion by June 2020’ is more specific than ‘develop in career’. This allows you to picture the end goal and be proactive by doing things like asking your manager what you need to do in order to move up the ladder. Otherwise, you may lack the motivation you need.
  • Measurable – Set precise dates and what you want to achieve by these dates so you can measure how you’re doing. For example, if your goal is saving money for a house deposit, you won’t know how you’re doing if you aren’t checking your savings account! Tracking your progress lets you celebrate when you’re doing well and makes you push yourself if you realise you aren’t.
  • Attainable - There’s no point setting goals that are unachievable. If you do and fail, it may affect your confidence and make you think you can’t achieve anything. This is not the case – setting realistic (yet challenging) goals will push you to strive further and make those goals that were once unachievable, achievable.
  • Relevant – Your aspirations should be relevant to your lifestyle and the direction in which you want your life (or career) to go in. By making goals that are on this path, it means you’re travelling in the correct direction and will continue to develop and eventually achieve.
  • Time-Bound – Whatever your goal, there must be a deadline. If there isn’t, it’s likely that you won’t ever find the time to prioritise your goal. It also gives a date that you can celebrate your success! Lots of people find that when there is a deadline, productivity increases, and things get done much quicker.

What the ACF teaches on how to set goals and achieve them

The Army Cadet Force places a large focus on the importance of values and regularly discusses how this is linked to motivation. We understand that motivation is the driving force behind people achieving their goals.

A diverse and inclusive organisation, the ACF encourages goal setting. To maintain high levels of motivation, the ACF helps identify the immediate improvements you can make to move you closer to achieving your overall target. The diversity of experience in the ACF is second to none. The probability of meeting a like-minded individual who has been through a similar journey is high! Joining the ACF as a cadet or adult volunteer has countless benefits, and may help you achieve the goals you’ve been striving for. Find your nearest detachment and get in touch!