how to set goals

How to set goals and achieve them? Here’s an 8 step process highlighting how to set clear goals and achieve them in a foolproof manner.

We all have Goals. It’s exciting to set a goal and pursue it. But, despite our best intentions, more often than not, we fall short of achieving our goals, sustain our efforts, Loose direction, and get deviated. This happens to most of us.

Why there are so many failures in achieving our Goals? Are we doing something wrong? Did we follow any Goal-setting Process?

In the process of achieving our goals, we try once or twice and if we fail, we even quit pursuing our goals and cover-up failures with excuses. To be in good spirits, we change the goal and start afresh. The loop starts all over again.

While this is typical for many, some defy this and attained great success: Colonel Sanders, Tim Ferris, Gary Vaynerchuk, and much more.

What it takes to achieve ones Goals? Is there any method to achieve goals? Was it pure luck?

Based on my professional and personal experiences, my interactions with some successful people in business and life, and studying how good corporate (including the one I have worked with — L&T) pursue and achieve their goals, I have structured an 8 step process which helps you in How to make an actionable and fail-proof goal plan?

The step by step Goal Setting process is detailed below:

Step 1: Know your Purpose

The first (and the most important) step in evolving how to pursue your goals is to: know your “Why”.

‘Why” is the purpose for which you want to pursue your goals. Knowing the why is a must as it establishes a deep connection between your motivations and your goals.

The deeper you feel the necessity of your goals; the bigger the buy-in for your goals. It gives you the gut to take risks, act big, keep yourself focused, face the roadblocks with grit, and move ahead.

State Clearly your Why? Articulate your purpose in your Why. Get to the core of that one important thing, which drives you to your Goals. Know why your goal matters to you.

If you are not able to define a clear “Why” for your goal, take a pause. You are not clear why do you need your goals in the first place.

“He who has a why, can endure any how”
– Frederick Nietzsche

Step 2: Set your Goals

Once you discover the why of your goals, the next step is to set your goals. Choose goals that matter to you the most. The goals you set should be meaningful. It should not be an easy win.

Go much deeper into your inner motivations. Find that one meaningful goal that inspires you and is in congruence with your purpose.

“Setting the goal is the first step in turning invisible to visible”
– Tony Robbins

Step 3: List the actions that take to your accomplish Goals

Once you are through with your Why and set your Goal, list down all the actions that are essential to reach your goals. Make the list comprehensive. Leave no action from the list, which will fail you.

This detailed list works as a reference when you start working on your goals.

“Whatever the mind can conceive and believe, it can achieve”
– Napolean Hill

Step 4: Create your Goal plan

Once the list of actions (in sufficient detail) that are to be taken to achieve your goal is ready, sequence the actions on a timeline. Have a definitive start and end date for each action. Check if you have all the resources and capabilities (check for skills too) required to complete your actions.

If any additional resources/skills are required, chalk a time-bound action plan to acquire them. Make it part of your list of actions.

Progressively elaborate the list of actions, as you work on your goal. Do the risk analysis and it’s a must. Note the potential risks and constraints. Be ready with your mitigation plan.

“A Goal without a plan is just a Wish”
– Unknown

To stay committed to your goals, you can use a goal commitment agreement. You can read and follow my article on how to track and accomplish your goals using a Goal Commitment Agreement.

You can also use the Free Goal setting worksheets from The sheets are very useful in creating a fail-proof goal plan.

Step 5: Build a Visual map of your Goal Plan

Create a visual map of your journey towards your goals using your plan of action. Plotting the actions to be taken on the Visual map gives a better visualization of your goal. It acts as your GPS. It helps you to have crystal clarity on the path you should take to achieve your goals.

In the visual map, flag some intermediate milestones. Set smaller goals eventually leading to your major goal. Mark the timelines/deadlines on the visual map. It helps you to stay on course and measure your progress.

“A goal is a dream with a dead line”
– Napoleon Hill

Step 6: Take Action

Set your eyes firmly on your first intermediate goal. Start your actions towards it. Start small as it gives wonderful results. We are born with this first lesson taught to us: Start with a crawl, take baby steps, walk, and then run.

By starting small, you break bigger goals into manageable small targets. Have better visibility of the goal and the progress. This philosophy is a proven one, widely adopted in the corporate world to achieve the organization’s strategic goals.

Set small targets and proceed with actions that are essential to reach your intermediate goal. Once you achieve that, start over on your next intermediate goal.

“Action is the foundational key to all success”
– Pablo Picasso

“A journey of a thousand miles begins with a Single Step”
– Lao Tzu

Step 7: Make it a habit to continuously work on your goal

Keep continuously working on your goals. Show up every day at your goal. In your pursuits, moments of failure are inevitable. Some of your attempts may be futile. Remember that every failed attempt is a learning for you. It gives you an insight into what went wrong and what did not work for you?

By practicing the process of breaking down your goals and taking actions to achieve them, you will make it one of your most powerful habits. This one habit gives you the vision to set long-term strategic goals and the capability to achieve them. It will become your major asset, professionally and personally.

Step 8: Track progress on Goal Plan and Celebrate wins

Always track progress on your goals. Avoid the temptation to quit if there is a setback. If you are stuck, remind yourself why your goals are important to you. Look at your “Why” to inspire yourselves.

Always remember, nothing great was ever achieved without attempting it. It’s much difficult to achieve your goals in one go. Bigger the goal, bigger are the efforts. There will be failures too. It’s also difficult to keep your focus on goals over a long period. But, starting small and achieving small wins gives you the necessary inspiration to stay on course.

As you accomplish your intermediate goals, share your success with your near and dear. Do celebrate your small wins. It will keep you inspired to achieve more and stay committed to your larger goal.

Just Do it!

To reach your final goal, just keep pursuing. Show up every day at your goal.

A Dream written down with a date becomes a Goal. A Goal broken down into Steps becomes a Plan. A Plan backed by action makes your dream come true.

I hope your thoughts resonate with mine and the 8 step Goal Setting Process is helpful to you. Do share what you think.

“Arise. Awake and Stop not, till the Goal is reached.” “Take risks in your life. If you win, you can lead. If you lose, you can Guide.” 

– Shri. Swami Vivekananda

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