8 Guidelines For Effective Goal Setting (The Surefire Way, Beyond S.M.A.R.T Goals)

Effective goal setting is a must if you want to achieve anything in your life.

Do you want to be successful? Do you feel difficult to set a goal that works? Do you know are you setting correct goals?

Like the saying said: "If you fail to plan, then you're planning to fail."

Therefore, you must know what your goals are so you have a direction to work towards it. 

However, there're many people don't really understand about themselves, they don't know what they want, what they like, what they need, they don't know what is their definite major purpose.

If you aren't even able to answer these questions, then you must don't how to set goals that work.

How to set your goals?

If you don't know about yourself, then it's impossible for you to set a goal that you'll keep the persistence.

You'll need to discover your passion, know what you're good at, confirm what is your desire, so your goal can align to your daily life.

You'll feel like you're living a meaningful life. This is a topic that worth to write another (several) article.

So at here I only briefly teach you a simple way to find out what do you want in your life.

There's a simple way to find out what you want in your life, which is visualization.

You want to visualize your desires as if you've already achieved them.

Think you're a game character in a role-playing game aka RPG.

So you're able to design the character ideally — what equipments you have, what skills you mastered, how is your fame, what kind of woman you're with, how is your financial status, and you name it.

Feel free to design the character without any limitation, don't forget this is merely a role-playing game, no pressure at all to design what exactly you want.

Think what kind of lifestyle do you want after 5 years later?

Design it for the character, remember, there's no limitation.

If you want to be a millionaire after 5 years, then set this as the characteristics of the game character.

After designing the outcome of 5 years later, think carefully what kind of things you'll need to do to reach the outcome.

Identify what kind of skills, information, and people you'll need to know, and how to attain all of these.

You may already realize that this is a process of setting your own goals.

You'll need to organize all your ideas into a plan that can follow and achieve the 5 years goals. However, this method is merely a very simple method.

If you're difficult to setting and designing the character, and you don't know what do you want after 5 years, then see also: how to find your mission in life 

8 guidelines for effective goal setting 

After setting goals, you must check your goals are them clash with the 8 goal setting guidelines.

However, your goals don't have to meet these guidelines strictly, it is not necessarily.

Since they're so called guidelines, you don't have to follow them strictly, they're not rules.

Of course, if your goals meet all these guidelines then you're on the right track to achieve your goals.

But if your goals don't meet one or two guidelines here, it's still okay.

You're the judge here.

Below are the 8 surefire goal setting guidelines

1. Your goals must be challenging but achievable

Your goals must be challenging.

If you goal is not challenging, you won't be motivated at all, then that goal will be abandoned very soon.

For example, if you set a goal only to improve your exam results by 5 marks it won't be challenging for you. Therefore, you won't be motivated to study hard to achieve that goal, because in your head you believe that it's too easy for you, you don't have to put so many efforts to reach it.

Therefore, your goal must be big, more challenging.

However, your goal must not too big until it's unachievable.

In other words, you goal should be realistic and it's big enough to consider as a goal.

For example, you set a goal to improve 20 marks in your exam, which is to get 85 marks. This is a challenging mark but yet it's possible for you to get.

2. Your goals must be time-limited

A goal is set to achieve.

Therefore, you have to know when to achieve that goal.

Without knowing when to accomplish, you are likely to procrastinate your work and extend your deadline.

This results in your goal seemingly hard to achieve, so you probably will decide to change to another goal which is easier to realize. 

If you set a deadline, you can estimate where your progress is and according to your progress make a plan to achieve your goal within the time span.

 In other words, a time-limited goal will be easier for you to achieve.

3. Your goals must be measurable

It's very important that your goal is measurable.

If your goal is unmeasurable, it's hard to keep tracking your performance and you don't know are you making progress.

After all, your goal should be divided into three phases - short-term, medium-term and long-term goal. 

For instance, if your goal is earning 10k every month, then your medium-term goal should be earning 5k every month, and your short-term goal should be earning 1k every month.

Therefore, you can track your progress. When you're earning 1k monthly, your next target is to earn 5k monthly. After you reach 5k monthly the next target is to earn 10k monthly.

Eventually, you reach your goal that earning 10k monthly..

4. You must be flexible in setting the goal

You have to ensure the flexibility of your goal.

To more extent, your goal should focus on the result that you want, but not the method how you get it.

I have a friend who likes singing and he is managing to be a singer. However, he's not able to compete with others who are talented to be a singer.

Therefore, he's depressed and lost direction. However, after he discovered his inner self, he realized that actually what he wants is not to be a singer, but the clapping of the audience.

He enjoyed very much of the clapping of the audience, he wants their attention. Therefore, he reset his goal to get the attention of the audience. 

He gave up to be a singer and turned to be a host on the stage and which also makes him getting lots of hand clapping.

He's satisfied with his achievement. His goal is accomplished.

Now he's a famous host in my hometown.

You see, you have to know what you actually want and keep your goal flexible.

Although you can't be a singer, but you can turn to be a host, both also bring you the same result.

5. Your goals must be concrete and specific

This is very important, if your goal isn't concrete and specific, then it's hard to focus and clearly define what you're going to do.

To make your goal be concrete and specific, ask yourself three question. What, why and how.

  1. "What" - What are you going to do? What is your goal? 
  2. "Why" - Why are you doing this? Why do you have to achieve it?
  3. "How" - How are you going to do it? How is the plan?

When you're able to answer the questions above, your goal should be more concrete and specific.

Don't set your goal like you want to be rich at the end of this year, this is not specific and is too vague.

Instead, you want to set a goal which is targeting to earn 10k monthly at the end of this year, this is a more specific goal.

6. Your goals should be long-term goals

Why setting a long-term goal is more important than setting a short-term goal?

When we set a goal, we wish the goal we set will get us to somewhere better than where we are now.

Normally, it's only a long-term goal will be able to bring us up to a different level because this kind of changes needs many time and resources.

A long-term goal will allow you to get enough resources that need to achieve your goals like time or money.

Like mentioned above, your goal can divide into three phases —short-term, medium-term and long-term goal.

Your medium-term goal is based on your long-term goal, and your short-term goal is based on your medium-term goal.

Therefore, you have to set a long-term goal in order for you to organize and plan the medium-term and short-term goal.

7. You have to state goals in the positive way

When you're setting goals, remember state them in the positive way.

Avoid the negative words because your brain will subconsciously install them and eventually become a limiting belief that holding you back. See also: how limiting beliefs formed

Don't focus on the negativity, instead focus on what you want.

When stating your goal, avoid using the words "I don't want...".

For instance, if you want to lose weight, don't state your goals like " I don't want my weight more than 55kg. (Negative)."

Change the way you state the goal, " I want to lose weight until 52kg.(Positive)."

8. Your goals must be your desire

Your goals must be your desire.

They should be your dream, your mission and your definite major purpose.

You sincerely want to achieve them, they're the things that come from your heart telling you to accomplish them.

Don't set a goal that's not come from within your heart but due to the people around you told you that you "should" do it.

Your goal should be what you want, your mission, and what you're good at. It's not assigned by others.

To meet with this guideline, you want to connect to your inner self to listen to your heart.

Follow your heart not only help you to stick to your goal, but also avoid procrastination and indifference.

Final notes

These 8 guidelines are very useful in setting your surefire goals.

However, they're merely guidelines but not rules, it's okay if your goals don't meet with all of them.

My personal goal also didn't meet all of these guidelines. However, my goal still met the majority of them.

Your goals should not fail to meet at least 5 guidelines here, you're the judge here.

About the author


Rio Yee is the Founder of WealthyLoveLife and is super passionate about helping people change their mind and take action to improve your important areas in life such as dating & relationships, personal finance and productivity.


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