Set goals and achieve them by following a basic set of steps to identify and accomplish your goals.

Here are those steps:

1. Make sure your goals are really your goals.

Focus on those goals that you want to achieve. Just because someone else is a success at starting a new business does not mean that is the right goal for you. Many times we listen to our managers or co-workers and focus in on doing what they say is a good goal. This strategy can only lead to defeat.

2. Base your goals on principles that are important to you.

What are your values? What do you think makes a good person? What is important to you? These are some of the questions you might ask when determining your goals. If you feel that helping people is a virtue, then a goal around the concept of helping others would be a good fit for you. Begin your goal setting by identifying key (5-6) principles that you believe should guide your life. This process takes time and may need adjusting after you begin to execute your goals.

3. Set goals that you believe are possible for you.

It is just as frustrating to set goals that are too easy as it to set goals that are too difficult. This is not to say that you should not stretch yourself. Thinking about what you can do, and then adding a little bit more. Goals that are challenging are exciting and achieving those goals is very rewarding.

4. Develop a metric to measure your progress.

A goal without a metric is a wish! A metric is quantitative and date related. Having a goal to become rich is not an energizing goal. The definition of rich is relative and when will you become rich is also relative. Try quantifying the goal; I will have a $10 million net worth in 5 years is a much stronger goal.

5. Document your goals.

Physically writing your goals reinforces the commitment to those goals. Yes, I have goals and they are in my head is a common response. The more you write your goals, the stronger the commitment you have to achieve them. Some successful people actually write their goals on index cards and carry those cards around with them.

6. Share your goals with people you respect.

Sharing your goals with others can be a very productive way to motivate yourself. A word of caution for the selection process; select only those people you respect and who return the respect for your goals. Beware of the “dream thieves” who will tell you that your goals are not attainable. Using others to discuss your goals is an effective way to get goal adjustment and to even get some specific tips on how to accomplish your goal. An excellent person to share your goals with is someone who has already accomplished what you want to accomplish.

7. Develop objectives and action plans to accomplish your goals.

For each of your goals, break it down into manageable pieces complete with specific actions that must be done. Make sure the objectives also have metrics. Break goals into objectives and objectives into action plans, the goal accomplishment process becomes more fluid and the success rate is much higher. For each objective, you set, establish a personal reward for achieving that objective.

8. Set up regular status meetings on your goals.

Use your calendar to set these meetings. Allow sufficient time for you to review your progress. Hold yourself accountable for progress. Document your status in a written report. Use a format similar to most project status meetings: What have I accomplished?What problems am I experiencing and what am I doing to overcome them?What do I plan to accomplish before my next status meeting?

9. Re-evaluate your goals based upon your progress.

Your first action after your status meeting is to reward yourself for your accomplishments. Next, look at your progress relative to your metrics. If you are overachieving, then set your goal higher. If you are struggling, look at what you need to do to recover or perhaps you need to adjust your goal. Having unrealistic or unachievable goals is de-motivating and can spiral into defeat. Successful people are constantly assessing their goals and when you do that, you will get a much better sense of your capabilities and will get more attainable goals. Now is the time to re-write your goals to reinforce your commitment to achieving them.

The above steps define a basic roadmap to setting goals. You may want to customize the goal setting process for yourself. If you are like most people, you are missing some of these steps in setting and reaching your goals.