Everyone has plans. But not everyone thinks about their long term objectives, or even short term ones. What should be achieved by the end of the day? What needs to be accomplished in five years time? Setting goals is an integral part of reaching objectives and achieving success.

Without goals one lacks focus and direction. Goal setting allows one to take control of one’s life’s direction. Learning the following five rules of goal setting will allow one to formulate easily accomplished goals.

Set Goals that will Motivate

A goal has to be important to a person, for it to be motivating. It means there is value in achieving this goal. If a person has little to no interest in the outcome, then the goals become irrelevant. The key is to set goals that are a priority. Achieving goals requires a commitment, if one wants to succeed. One must feel a sense of urgency and have a ‘must do’ attitude. Without it, one can end up feeling disappointed and frustrated, and in turn, de-motivated. To ensure the goal is motivating, write down why it’s valuable, and refer to it whenever doubt arises.


A ‘SMART’ goal is a powerful goal. ‘SMART’ stands for:

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Attainable
  • Relevant
  • Time-Bound

A specific goal must be clear and well defined. Vague goals are unhelpful and don’t provide enough direction.

A measurable goal includes precise amounts, dates, etc so the degree of success can be measured.

An attainable goal is one that is actually achievable within the frames of goal setting, and not something that is impossible and will lead to demoralization.

A relevant goal is one that is relevant to the direction of a person’s life or career.

A time-bound goal has a deadline, to increase the sense of urgency, and achieve success.

Write Goals Down

Writing a goal down makes it real and tangible. Frame the goal statement positively. Write the word ‘will’ rather than ‘would like to’. Writing the goal down means there’s no forgetting it, especially if it’s kept in visible places, such the bathroom mirror or computer monitor.

Action Plan

It’s not enough to merely set a goal. There must be a plan for all the steps along the way to reach the outcome. Writing down the individual steps and then crossing them off upon completion also brings a wonderful sense of celebrating small successes, and progress towards the ultimate goal.

Don’t Give Up!

Goal setting is is a process, not just a means to an end. Action plans can change, even when the final goal does not. Don’t let minor setbacks be discouraging, or put you off the goal altogether.

In the end, setting a goal is vastly more than just stating one wants something, and leaving it at that. Unless what one wants is clearly defined, with the right motivation behind it and a solid action plan in place, the chances of success are greatly lowered. However, if one follows these five golden rules of goal setting, one can set and achieve goals with confidence.

Hired Power provides information and resources for addiction intervention and recovery. If you are struggling to kick a drug or substance use habit, call us. Let us help you create a solid foundation for lasting recovery. 1-800-910-9299


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