Have you ever set a goal that you didn’t reach? We all have. Many. Many. Times. Don’t give up! Goals work if you learn how to set them properly and follow through on them faithfully. Use this checklist to create powerful goals that will boost your confidence and enrich your life.

Most people use the term “goal” loosely. They call dreams, desires, and wishes goals.

  • Lose weight.
  • Have a better marriage.
  • Be a better parent.
  • Be closer to God.

This mistake creates a self-destructive loop of dashed hopes and continuing mediocrity. New Year’s resolutions are a great example of this trend. A University of Scranton study suggested that only 8% of people who make New Year’s Resolutions achieve them. The statistics on resolutions get worse from there.

  • Many stick with them for less than a week.
  • Less than half keep them for more than six months.
  • Can be listed up to 10x without success.

According to StatisticBrain.com,  this image shows the top ten New Year’s resolutions of 2017.

These resolutions are well-intentioned but weak. They are not compelling goals! Let’s look at the seven elements of a powerful goal and then reword these resolutions into powerful goals that almost achieve themselves.

Let’s use the popular S.M.A.R.T.E.R. framework.

1. Specific

Powerful goals are specific. Tell yourself exactly what you want to happen.  If you can’t define it, you won’t achieve it.

2. Measurable

Powerful goals are measurable. There must be a metric for progress and success. Without a measure, how will you know that you are making progress? How is the achievement of the goal defined?

3. Actionable

Powerful goals are based upon action. There must be movement pushing the ball up the field. Goals starting with verbs like ‘Be’ or ‘Have’ are states of being. Start your goal with a compelling action verb instead.

4. Risky

Powerful goals are risky. They are outside of your comfort zone. They will take more work and resources than you know how to marshall at the moment. They are not delusional, but those who are used to weak goals might think they are. The goal and reward it will bring must be enough to get you out of bed in the morning and pay the price for success. It is easier to hit a large realistic goal than a small one. Small goals don’t provide enough risk to motivate us for success.

5. Timed

Powerful goals are time-keyed. Achievement goals are one time accomplishments that have a due date. Habit goals are continuing actions with a start date, frequency, and streak goal. Dates set deadlines. Deadlines create urgency. If it’s not scheduled, it won’t get done.

6. Exciting

Powerful goals are exciting! They touch your head and your heart. They reward of completing your goal should be enough to keep you on your toes. What if you could _____? What would it mean if I ______? Fill in the blanks with your goal. What will life look like when you reach your goal? If success is not exciting, it might be an important project but probably not worthy of being a goal.

7. Relevant

Powerful goals align with your core values. If your goals are in conflict with your values or with one another, you are short-circuiting yourself from the beginning. Also, powerful goals make sense for your stage of life. For example, your options and goals will look different if you have small children versus if your children are grown.

[shareable]Powerful goals are specific. Describe exactly what you want to happen.  If you can’t define it, you won’t achieve it.[/shareable]

Let’s put these principles to work by making the popular New Year’s resolutions mentioned above S.M.A.R.T.E.R.

Which goal below is more powerful?

Lose weight / eat healthier
Drop 15 pounds by November 1 by exercising daily at 6:00 am for 30 minutes and removing processed sugar from my diet.

Life / self-improvement
Read the Bible through this year by reading four chapters every day at the kitchen table at 7:00 am.

Better financial decisions
Create a family budget and begin using a cash envelope system for purchases instead of a debit or credit card by January 15.

Quit smoking
Conquer cigarettes for 90 days beginning January 1 by telling everyone I know to hold me accountable and quoting a Bible verse with a liberating truth every time I get the urge to smoke.

Do more exciting things
Choose 12 exciting activities and add one per month to my schedule by February 3.

You get the idea. Do you see how the updated goals are so much more powerful and achievable? See if you can make the remaining goals above more powerful using the S.M.A.R.T.E.R. framework.

Once you clarify and empower your goals, your only task is to connect the next steps to your daily task list. The methodology I currently use is 5 DAYS TO YOUR BEST DAY EVER by Michael Hyatt. This system includes a powerful way to clarify your goals, find your compelling motivations, and follow-through on your commitments. You can purchase the book at Amazon by clicking the image below.

Stop failing at resolutions and start fulfilling your purpose with powerful goals.

Create your first S.M.A.R.T.E.R. goal and leave it in the comments.