Achieve Goals in 7 Effective Ways


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I recently discovered a list of goals I had written years ago while cleaning out my desk drawer (yeah, it’s been a while since I last cleaned out my desk).

Looking over the list, I realized that I hadn’t completed much of it. Not only that, but the items on this list were no longer on my radar. I kept looking and came across list after list of things I wanted to do but never got around to doing.

I stopped looking for more and tried to figure out why I had abandoned these objectives. I didn’t like the answer I came up with, but I believe it is applicable to a large number of people. In fact, the majority of people:

Some goals are simply “too difficult” to achieve, and/or I am too lazy to do so.

We all have things we want to get done but are unable to do so today. Big goals, like moving to another country (one of mine), or even small ones, like that massive pile of laundry that has been piling up for weeks, become an unimaginable mountain of tasks.

We always have reasons (excuses) for not getting them done. We’re either too busy, don’t have enough money, or can’t take time off from work. I could go on, but I’ll spare you because I’m sure you can figure out where this is going.

So I made a new set of goals that day, but this time I made a promise to myself that I would keep them. While I have not completed everything on my new list, I have fulfilled the promise more than I could with the previous “to-do.” In a nutshell, I converted the “someday” list into a “today” list. Here’s how it’s done:

Simplify and deconstruct

Find the biggest item on your list, the one that appears to be the most out of reach. Now, simplify and deconstruct it. Make a list of the steps you’ll need to take to get there. For example, if you want to buy a house, your sub-list could include things like finding a better paying job, creating a budget, and saving for a down payment.

Once you’ve created a sub-list, try to determine a reasonable time frame for completing each item. Set a deadline for each of the smaller objectives. Put those on your calendar. Treat each of those as a separate goal in its own right. Determine what you can do today to begin the process, what you can do tomorrow to continue the process, and so on until you’ve completed the first part of that big goal.

You’ll be surprised at how good you feel once you’ve finished the first part. You’ve achieved something. Any accomplishment, no matter how minor, will boost your self-esteem. You’ll believe you can handle anything. Keep going, and you’ll eventually reach a bigger goal.


No matter how hard you try, you will never be able to do everything. Grab a pen and paper and start making a list of things you want to do. When you look at it again, you’ll probably notice that some of it is ridiculous (I was going to start a bonsai collection—this was the first thing off my list) and requires pruning.

Select the things that are most important to you right now. You can return to them later if you wish, but be realistic. Consider the person you are and the person you want to be. Make a short, attainable list instead—you’ll only set yourself up for failure.

Inform Someone of Your Goal

Particularly someone who will keep track of your progress. You will be held accountable if you have to tell people. Discuss your objectives with anyone who will listen. Give them specifics and your deadlines. Tell your close friends to check in with you on those specific dates to see how you’re doing. How do you think you’ll feel if, on the day of your deadline, ten people ask how you’re doing and you have to tell them you’ve given up? Not so good, is it?

Also read How to Complete Your To-Do List in 6 Simple Ways


Don’t let the first milestone of your biggest goal pass you by without mentioning it. Throw a party, eat at your favorite restaurant, and treat yourself to something nice. Just something to let you and those around you know that your goal is important and that you have successfully completed a milestone. Make sure your celebration does not contradict the goal you’re attempting to achieve.

Increase your effort

Just because you said you’d save x amount of money by January 1 doesn’t mean you have to save only x amount. Set minimums but not maximums. Anything you can do today to get ahead counts.

Don’t be concerned about how long it will take

The goal isn’t to make things more difficult than they need to be, which is exactly what you’ll do if you try to rush through a major goals. Determine how long you believe it will take to complete each component of your project and then add a little time on top of that to determine the appropriate deadline.

The goal is to cross the finish line, not to start a race you can’t win.

Don’t Give Up After You’ve Achieved Your First Goal

Once you’ve completed one task, move on to the next. Or, even better, if you can do two things at once, do it. Don’t try to do more than you can (only you know your limits), but also don’t be a slacker.

Follow these tips to turn your “someday” list into a “today” list. Do you have any additional suggestions?


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