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How to Set Goals

Getting started can seem daunting, but you can build up to even the loftiest dream.
Whether you have small dreams or lofty expectations, setting goals allows you to plan how you want to move through life. Some achievements can take a lifetime to attain, while others can be completed in the course of a day. Whether you're setting broad overarching goals or planning specific manageable goals, you'll feel a sense of accomplishment and self-worth. Getting started can seem daunting, but you can build up to even the loftiest dream.

Setting Achievable Goals

Determine your life goals.

Ask yourself some important questions about what you want for your life. What do you want to achieve: today, in a year, in your lifetime? The answers to this question can be as general as ""I want to be happy,"" or ""I want to help people."" Consider what you hope to attain 10, 15, or 20 years from now.

A career life goal might be to open your own business. A fitness goal might be to become fit. A personal goal might be to have a family one day. These goals can be incredibly broad.

Break the big picture down into smaller and more specific goals.

Consider areas of your life that you either want to change or that you feel you would like to develop with time. Areas might include: career, finances, family, education, or health. Begin to ask yourself questions about what you'd like to achieve in each area and how you would like to approach it within a five year time frame.

- For the life goal “I want to be fit,” you might make the smaller goals “I want to eat more healthily” and “I want to run a marathon.”

- For the life goal “I want to open my own business,” the smaller goals may be “I want to learn to manage a business effectively” and “I want to open an independent book store.”

Write goals for the short term.

Now that you know roughly what you want to accomplish within a few years, make concrete goals for you to begin working on now. Give yourself a deadline within a reasonable time frame (no more than a year for short-term goals).

- Writing your goals will make them harder to ignore, consequently making you accountable for them.
- To become fit, your first goals may be to eat more vegetables and to run a 5k.
- To open your own business, your first goals may be to take a bookkeeping class and to find the perfect location for your bookstore.