5 Things to Consider When Planning Your Goals

Most of us tend to be really ambitious when it comes to our goals. We aim for the stars, but sometimes it is hard to get started even leaving the atmosphere. When it comes to following through on your goals, there are some things you might be overlooking that stand in the way of success. After some personal reflection and research, I want to share five often-overlooked strategies for goal-setting.

1. Be aware of the why

I personally think the reason many of us fail in the pursuit of a goal is that we lose sight of the why: why do you have the goals that you have? When you reflect on the why, go deeper than what’s on the surface. One of my goals for this year has been to save a certain amount of money a month. Why do I have this goal? At the surface level, I want more money. But looking deeper, I want to be able to put myself in a comfortable financial position so that I can buy a house shortly after I graduate. Having a detailed goal makes me more motivated to save money. Being aware of why you have the goals that you do, beyond the surface level, is more likely to keep you on track.

2. Your goals can have a ripple effect

One of the reasons it can be hard to stick to a goal is because you haven’t thought about how it will fit into the bigger picture. Thinking about how your goals can affect other areas of your life, and other people in your life, might actually serve as motivation because you’re seeing more than the one benefit you had initially planned for. Saving a certain amount of money every month has affected my relationships and social life. Sharing my goals with my friends has motivated them to rethink what they are doing with their money. Because I budget, I’m more likely to rethink how often I go out and how much I spend when I do.

3. Acknowledge and address potential problems

I think it’s useful to identify potential failures and roadblocks and plan around them. One of my goals is to set aside at least 15 minutes a day for God and the Bible during spiritual time. I know that my biggest challenge with this goal is being “too busy” and forgetting. I decided to be proactive and not give myself an excuse to fail. I set my alarm 15 minutes before I need to be up in the morning so I can wake up for spiritual time. If I happen to snooze through that, I make a point to set three other alarms during expected downtimes in my day so I won’t skip it. Accounting for the reasons you may fail and implementing preventative strategies can really help keep you on track.

4. You’re already putting in the work, now what?

If you are already working towards your goals and starting to see results, even if they are small gains towards your goal, it’s important to think about what happens after you reach your destination. Looking beyond the goal can help you plan and prepare for what’s to come. For me, one of my goals was to land a co-op work placement. I achieved that goal, and now I have completed 10 months out of the 12-month process. When it ends, what’s going to happen next for me? If I wait until month 12, I may end up scrambling for the next opportunity that comes my way. But if I anticipate and plan correctly, I’ll have a healthier and smoother transition into whatever comes next. Looking ahead can make your goals all the more worth it if there’s something waiting for you on the other side.

5. Things we forget in the process

Even if you’re planning your grind meticulously, you might be asking yourself what you’re forgetting. Here are 10 great quotes and common sayings that resonate with me and put this idea in a way that I couldn’t:

  1. “Happiness is not a destination, it’s a lifestyle.”