How To Have Success With Goal Planning

by Catherine Pratt

Making goals is easy. Achieving success with goal planning is not always so easy. Well, it's not if you don't ask yourself 8 specific questions which you'll discover as you read this article.

These questions are designed to enable you to understand your motivation, emotions, and reasoning behind the goal. You may be surprised by the answers.

By using these questions, you'll also discover if you need to make some adjustments to your goal or maybe even realize that this isn't the goal for you at this point in time. If you do decide to go forward, you'll be much more prepared to stay on track to actually end up being successful.

So, after you make your goals, ask yourself these "8 Success With Goal Planning Questions":

1. Do You Really, Really Want to Do This Goal?

Close your eyes and imagine yourself acting towards your goal.
How do you feel?

Do you feel tired or have a sinking feeling in the pit of your stomach?

If you don't feel good when you think about your goal then this is a sign that you don’t really want to follow through with this plan. You'll most likely end up quitting or you'll self sabotage yourself.

You will only be successful in your goals if you really want to achieve them. Don't waste your time, money, and energy on something that you won't be able to commit to because of a lack of real interest. You need to be emotionally invested with your goals. If you have a deep, burning desire for a particular outcome, nothing will be able to stand in your way until you reach that destination.

2. Does Your Goal Involve “Should’s”?

Are you setting a goal because you “should” do it or just because it would be "nice" to accomplish? If you are then very likely you’re not going to go very far with it. There’s a big difference between feeling you should do something and really wanting to do it.

If you find that there's a "should" in your statement then try turning it around slightly. For example, if you tell yourself you should lose 10 pounds, you may not be all that enthusiastic about it. If you can think of a reason why you really want to do it, perhaps so you'll have more energy, then make that your goal instead; to develop more energy and be full of joy. Losing weight may still be one of the steps you come up with to create a more energetic life but it's not the sole focus of your goal.

Also, make sure you're not doing this because you think someone else thinks you should. If you're doing it for someone else, you may end up disappointed or disillusioned when they don't respond or react the way you want them to. Make sure that this goal is important to you.

Now, ask yourself if you really, really want this? Are you excited thinking about it? Can you see yourself following this for awhile? If not, then keep looking for a more appropriate goal or simply make the decision that this isn't the right direction for you.

3. Are There Real Benefits To This Goal?

Write down all the benefits of completing your goal. Do any of them get you completely pumped up about accomplishing them? Will they improve your quality of life? Will you feel better?

These benefits need to be strong enough so that on those days when you just don't feel like it, they'll remind you why you wanted this in the first place. They should be inspiring enough to motivate you to continue even when it feels like it'd be easier just to quit.

If your benefits aren't really convincing to you then maybe it’s not the right goal for you. Or you just haven’t found the right motivating factor for you yet. You need to find some compelling reasons why you will continue to do this long after the initial thrill has worn off.

4. How Big Is Your Goal?

There’s nothing wrong with having big goals. A problem can occur if already in the back of your mind, you’re doubting that you can achieve it. Maybe break your goal down into smaller steps. So, instead of losing 50 pounds by April, change it to be “maintain an exercise program 3 times per week”.

Also, too big of a goal can cause you to feel completely overwhelmed because you don’t know where to start. If you start doing research on it, you may find yourself in Option Paralysis mode because there’s too many options. So, make sure that your goal is small enough that it’s attainable and also small enough that you know what the first step will be in order for you to achieve it.

The other advantage of starting small is that you will feel good about yourself completing your planned steps along the way as opposed to beating yourself up because you’re not as far along as you’d like.

So, focus on your first step and then the next little step you can take. That will make your goal seem much more realistic and achievable.

5. Are There Any Limiting Beliefs Attached to This Goal?

If your goal is something like to make XX amount of money by June, do you have any limiting beliefs around this?

Perhaps, you feel like you don’t really deserve to be wealthy or you worry that making more money would make people not like you as much. Or even that good things never happen to you.

So, ask yourself, "What beliefs do I have about reaching this goal?" It’s important to figure out if you have any limiting beliefs so that you can eliminate them before you start. Also, if you're aware of them then you will instantly see when they're causing you to start falling off your path.

6. How Clear Is Your Goal?

"A confused mind always does nothing". I'm not sure who said this but I think it's a good one. Basically, are you clear about what your goal really means and what it involves?

Do you know what would signify success with your goal? If you just say something like I want to be more organized, it’s not concrete enough. What does more organized mean? Is it that there’s no clutter by the front door or that you don’t spend 2 hours every week looking for particular items of clothing?

Make sure you know exactly what would signify a successful goal for you. This will also help you later when you’re looking back at how far you’ve come. Then if you discover you're spending ½ hour a week looking for lost items, you’ll know that you’ve improved a lot from the previous 2 hours you used to spend searching.

7. Have You Had This Goal Before?

If you’ve had this goal before and weren’t successful, do you know why it didn’t work before? Have you learned from your past experiences in order to make it work this time? If you’re just going to be repeating the same pattern as before, most likely you’re going to end up with the same result.

One other aspect of this is, do you have any negative feelings now towards this goal? If you can only remember the feelings of being hungry or hating going to the gym everyday, you’re going to be starting off on the wrong foot and will most likely quit when you hit those negative aspects again.

This means that if your goal is to lose weight and you believe you'll have to force yourself to go to the gym every day hating every second of it, then you need to find different steps you can take towards your goal. Instead of going to the gym, take up a different sport or find a friend to go for a walk with you two nights per week and a hike on the weekend. Find something you enjoy doing to move you closer to your goal. There's always more than one way to achieve a goal.

Another aspect of this is that you need to be aware of any associations you have with your goal. Do you think it’s going to be hard work or difficult or painful? If you do, you need to spend some time imagining it as easy, fun to do, or leading you to that exciting destination.

Also, listen to what you're telling yourself about this goal. Are you focused on the obstacles (how hard it will be) you might encounter or the end result? Keep your ultimate goal in mind and focus on how you can achieve it.

When you install positive and supportive thinking around your goal, you condition your mind for success.

8. Is Your Identity Wrapped Up In Achieving This Goal?

If you aren’t successful with this goal, are you going to consider yourself a failure, a horrible person, or a lazy person? Or will you be able to have fun with it and think of how much you've learned along the way. If you put unnecessary stress on yourself by wrapping your identity up with it, you'll most likely end up self sabotaging yourself.

So, to be successful with your goal planning, believe that you will benefit just from trying something new or working towards your goal. Know that the effort alone will help build your self confidence. Separate your self esteem from the actual task so that you don't let being good or bad at something determine your self worth.


By taking the time to answer these 8 questions, you now stand a much greater chance of completing whatever goal you set for yourself. People will be amazed at how easily you achieve your desires while they still struggle to keep a single resolution.

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