Simplified Goal Setting – How To Set Goals In 15 Minutes

I have read plenty about goal-setting. Books, blog articles and I even watched videos.

None of it helped – I never set goals. Until earlier this year, all I did was read about it. Every goal-setting strategy seemed overly complicated and time-consuming.

I’m a fan of simplicity and that sometimes means taking things apart, making them as basic as possible. This certainly isn’t something knew but has worked well for me.

My yearly goals are cut in stone – reviews follow on a monthly basis.

Most people are familiar with the S.M.A.R.T. goal-setting philosophy. It’s a great starting point, but still leaves room for improvement. My simplified version is S.R.T.P.

Fair enough, there’s another letter. Trust me, it’s still easier.

Setting goals at the beginning of the years is an incredibly exciting process. You are literally designing your own future and get to dream again. However, much of the fun only comes by using the right process.

My goal-setting strategy can be used for yearly, monthly and even weekly goals – in any or all areas of life. Hopefully, this process suits you well, and setting goals becomes more than just a pain in the neck.

1. Specific

The first step can make or break your whole endeavor. If you’re not clear on the destination you want to reach, you’ll never get there. Each goal has to be specific, and thus be able to be tracked and measured on an ongoing basis. Monthly, weekly or even daily.

Take weight loss as an example. “Wanting to lose weight” is a wish. “Weighing 160 pounds” is a specific goal. You step on the scale every morning and know exactly where you are at in terms of your goal. It’s crystal-clear once you’ve reached your goal.

2. Realistic

This is where most people get it wrong. Hypnotized by success gurus, they set goals that are way too far out there. Setting grand goals might feel exciting in the moment, but most people end up procrastinating afterwards.

It’s easy to logically believe that a goal is achievable, but subconsciously think otherwise. I’m guilty of this as well – setting big goals, but never taking the first step, or procrastinating excessively along the way.

The main reason I work hard for and achieve most of my goals is that I have absolute confidence in achieving them. The moment I set goals, they are already a done deal.

This is super important because setting bigger, more ambitious goals only comes when you have proven to yourself that you can do the small stuff, when you have the track record and confidence.

However, setting lame goals isn’t the answer. Goals still have to inspire – they just shouldn’t be over the top.

3. Timeline

Without a deadline, a goal is little more than a wish.

Yearly goals form the basis of all my planning, that means the deadline for any of these goals is December 31 of the current year. Further, I set milestones with specific deadlines that I aim to accomplish along the way.

One year can seem like a long time – by setting smaller, more achievable targets, creating quarterly and monthly goals, it’s easier to eat the elephant one bit at a time and procrastination becomes less of a problem.

4. Plan

Goals have been set, but it isn’t yet time to relax. The final and crucial step is still missing.

Compelling goals are important, however, without a strategy and a bulletproof plan to achieve them, it’ll all be in vain. In some cases, the steps for achievement are obvious or known already, in which case this step becomes redundant.

If that’s not the case, there’s no need to worry. Proven strategies and coaching is what you’ll find online en masse. Whether it be a course on how to make money, or a diet book – what matters is having a step-by-step plan that guarantees the end result as long as you follow it to the letter.

This is where you get your daily and weekly activities from. Depending on the goal, creating sub-goals might be necessary.

For 2015, this is one of my most important financial goals.

I will easily be making 1,000€ profit per month online.

I quickly realized that working directly on this goal is impossible, I am only able to render activities that LEAD to an increase in income – I can’t work on making more money directly. I could, but then it would be ACTIVE, not PASSIVE income.

Instead, I set additional targets regarding the number of articles, books and videos I want to have published at a certain point.

Review & Adjust

Reviewing goals regularly is to see where adjustments are needed. The more often, the better. With certain goals (weight loss), I do it daily, but at the very least when the monthly goals report is due.

Setting and achieving milestones is also more rewarding than having to wait for the big win every quarter or at the end of the year. Monitoring progress is to hold yourself accountable and stay motivated.

For me, posting a monthly review of each goal does the trick. Others might have to use more leverage such as publicly declaring a goal.