How to set Goals you can Actually Reach

Let’s face it; reaching a goal can be really difficult. Goal setting itself isn’t that hard but actually reaching it? Well, that can sometimes be a different story.

The number of goals that I’ve set in my lifetime and the ones that I’ve reached differ dramatically. How often do we come upon this struggle? I start out with the best intentions to reach for the stars but often find myself  just stuck somewhere in the atmosphere.

Too often, I think we set goals for ourselves that are just too large to accomplish immediately. So, what’s the formula for setting goals that are actually reachable?


This is a great place to start for those that have not had a lot of experience setting goals and a good reminder for those that do. Many of us have probably already heard of this acronym, as it is a very useful tool in setting reachable goals. Put simply, we need to choose goals that are Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-Bound. While all 5 aspects are essential, I think the last one is the most important. Without putting a deadline on a goal, I have a much harder time completing it. Setting a deadline for a goal automatically makes you more accountable to reach it. While setting goals using the SMART method is great, there are a few other tips that will help you set goals that are reachable.

Don’t Push Yourself Too Far

In other words, set small realistic goals. You can’t run if you haven’t learned to walk.  If your ultimate goal is to run a marathon, set small goals along the way. Don’t run 26 miles your first week of training. Try for something smaller like 2 miles a day, then the next week 4 miles a day, and so on. You’ll be much less likely to get discouraged along the way. Then, before you know it, you will be running that marathon and have reached your goal.

Failure Will Happen…And That’s Okay

Many of us get disappointed when we fail on our way to our goal. We eat that chocolate cookie, we forgot to exercise today, or we slept in too late. Failure happens, mistakes happen and that’s okay. Those mistakes teach us and can give us more motivation to reach our goals the next time around.

Write Your Goals Down

For me, I am much better at remembering things if they are written down. Going to the grocery store is a disaster if I forget a list because I end up with several things I don’t need. Goals are no different. Write your goals down. Put it somewhere you will see it everyday. You’re less likely to be distracted and it will be much easier to reach.

Celebrate Every Milestone

It doesn’t matter how small a goal is, it should be counted as a victory when it’s completed. And every victory deserves to be celebrated. Earning rewards for yourself when you’ve completed your goals will make you more likely to keep setting and achieving new ones.