4 min read

4 Steps to Goal Set with Success

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Have you ever had trouble getting motivated to start a task that seemed large and daunting? When a large task seems unattainable, it can be easy to lose the motivation to even start.

Effective goal setting can benefit everyone and be applied to household chores, health, school, work, and more. There are a few key things to keep in mind when writing goals to maximize success.

A goal should be specific.

Do away with vague phrases, and add details so that you know exactly what you want to accomplish. Be sure to physically write the goal down, too, because research shows that people who write down their goals accomplish significantly more of them.

  • Clarify “workout daily” to include an intended distance to cover or a specific duration.
    Example: Run at least 2 miles per day or work out at the gym for 45 minutes per day.
  • Specify “study for final exam” by including the pages that need to be read or the practice that needs to be done.
    Example: Read the summaries of chapters 1 through 5, practice memorization with the vocabulary flashcards, and complete the teacher’s review guide.

Break down large goals into smaller, more manageable steps.

Small steps help keep large goals attainable by creating a motivating plan of attack. Doing this will ensure you use your time efficiently and in a focused direction. Plus, it just feels good to check things off a list as you go!

  • Break down “clean my house” to specify certain room and tasks.
    Example: In the kitchen, wash the dishes, wipe the counters, and sweep and mop the floor.
  • Elaborate on “pass my math class” to include steps that are likely to lead to a passing grade.
    Example: Complete one lesson per day to keep pace, and take notes for each lesson. Complete all practice problems, and email the teacher regularly to ask questions.
  • Break down “write a research paper” to include all the necessary steps.
    Example: Gather five references, create an outline, write an introductory paragraph that includes a thesis statement, write the remaining paragraphs, proofread, review, and submit.

Goal Plan Action 2021 planner on a desk, surrounded by supplies

Ensure the goal is realistic.

The goal should be something attainable that can be done within a reasonable time frame. Goals can be challenging, but avoid choosing unrealistic ones that will only lead to frustration. Also, while you don’t want to rush a large goal, it’s equally important to avoid allotting excessive time that can lead to procrastination.

  • Unlike homework, a project might require a couple of weeks to complete.
    Example: Complete a science fair project, including a poster, a written paper, and presentation materials, in the next two weeks.

A goal should be measurable.

Goals don’t necessarily need to be measured by numbers, but they need to be measured in some way. Making sure a goal is measurable allows you to track your progress throughout the process and clarifies the point at which success has been achieved.

  • If you are aiming to “spend less money,” tracking daily or weekly spending over a period of time allows you to use basic math to calculate numeric differences.
  • If you are trying to “complete an assignment,” rubrics can help you measure success by ensuring all necessary components are included for the assignment to be truly complete.

Mother-Daughter giving a high five

There’s no greater sense of satisfaction than when you’ve met a goal you’ve worked deliberately to achieve. So, what are you waiting for? Pick something specific you want to accomplish, ensure it’s realistic, break it down into steps, and measure your progress along the way. You’ve got this!


Ryan Jackson

Ryan Jackson recently joined the Lincoln Learning Solutions team as a mathematics teacher. She has more than 8 years of experience in online education. Ryan spends her free time traveling across the U.S. with her husband and two children.