Many people set goals in hopes of achieving them by a specific time but somehow lose focus along the way and never meet the deadline. Then, there are people who constantly change goals for various reasons. They feel their goals are no longer attainable, or they no longer want to achieve that goal. I was one of those people.

Before I married, I would mentally set goals with no clear direction on how to achieve them. I was under a false impression that goals would miraculously achieve themselves. When a goal appeared to be out of my reach or too complex to accomplish, I would quit. After I got married, I observed my husband set certain goals, never deviating from his plan no matter how impossible or difficult the goal appeared to be. One day, I made a career decision which required setting goals and a timeframe. As tough as it was to remain true to my goals, I actually went through with it. Thanks to setting and achieving goals, I was able to take control of my life and put what matters in perceptive.

Below are 4 steps on how to set and achieve your goals:

Write down your goals

Whether it is short-term or long-term, it is important to write down each goal. Do not concern yourself with the length of the list; continue writing anyway. You will have time later to cut, add and re-organize your goals.

Analyze the goals you have written

Circle the goals that are most important to accomplish. Then, place those goals in the order you plan on achieving them. Be sure that the goals are realistic. For example, one goal is to win the lottery by 2014. You cannot control the outcome of a lottery. In my opinion, winning the lottery is not a goal and should not be given a timeframe. Instead, a good example of a realistic goal is saving money for a down payment to purchase a home or purchase a vehicle.

Create a plan for each goal

Write down what each goal means to you, write down the necessary steps needed to accomplish the goal, then set a reasonable target date. Before putting a date, make sure to consider all factors, including giving yourself enough time to achieve the goal.

Accomplish your goals

Keep track of your progress by using a calendar. In this way, not only do you see your goals dated, but it will allow you to track your progress. If, at any point, during this process you feel you are about to get off track re-evaluate your goals on the calendar and reorganize. As you accomplish each goal, check it off.

When you create a list of goals along with a plan on how to achieve each one you are gaining control of your life. You are organizing certain aspects of your life and showing dedication. Setting goals is a good formula for a balanced lifestyle. Don't get discouraged if the goals are not immediately reached. Everything takes time. The important thing is never give up.

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