23 Goal Setting Tips and Tricks To Boost Your Productivity

goal setting tips
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In this post, we are going to go over the 23 best goal setting tips and tricks you can apply today to achieve your goals and desires.

People use the word “goals” a lot these days. So much that it can be hard to understand what a goal is.

Are goals the same thing as resolutions and goals?

Why is it important to have goals?

A psychologist and career coach at the Dominican University of California did research that shows that setting goals and being successful go hand in hand. Goals that are well-defined help you change your behavior and keep your attention on what’s important to you.

Of course, setting goals isn’t the only thing. It’s also about being able to reach them.

What are the goals, and what are they not?

goal setting tips

You need to know what a goal is before you can set one.

A goal is what you want to accomplish. It’s what you or a group of people want to happen and plan to do to make it happen.

Most goals are long-term. They have to do with people’s plans for their lives and careers or the long-term goals of a company or group.

A goal is simply a dream with a due date.

Still not getting it? Here are some things that goals are not and some things that they are.

The purpose is:

  • How do you see the future? Your goals should come from carefully thinking about your personal vision statement and the things you want to do.
  • Time-sensitive. The best goals have a time limit. Most goals take a longer amount of time to reach. Then, you can break them up into smaller, shorter-term goals.
  • Large in nature. Don’t be afraid to set a goal that seems hard to reach. Feel free to dream big and think outside the box. You can help yourself get there by setting short-term goals.

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The goals are not:

  • An objective. Goals are what you want to accomplish, and objectives are the steps you need to take to get there. “I want to be a confident public speaker” is an example of a goal. The goal is, “By the end of this month, I will work with a coach to improve my public speaking skills.”
  • A resolution. Most resolutions are short-term and give only short-term satisfaction (opposed to delayed gratification). A resolution is something you decide to do or not do. A goal is what you want to reach.
  • A mission. Mission statements make it clear and easy to know where to go. It’s the purpose statement that a company, business, or person works from. On the other hand, a goal is a specific aim that you or your team works toward.

Why should you and your team set goals for yourselves?

Here are a few of the many reasons why you and your team should set goals.

1. It tells you where to go.

When you think about what you want out of life, you feel like you have a purpose.

For example, you could make a plan for the next five years based on how you want your life to be in five years. With this long-term plan, you can stop just dreaming and start making things happen.

Setting goals at work helps to make it clear where you want your team to go. It also helps everyone on the team know what to expect.

2. It helps to see how everything fits together.

Setting goals gives us a chance to take a step back and see what’s really important in life. It’s the first step to making a meaningful life.

Setting goals as a group at work helps everyone see the big picture. Each team member can do their job better if they know the long-term goal and what the company is working toward.

3. It gives you a push.

Setting goals gives you something to strive for by definition. If you have a clear goal, you’ll be more likely to do your best.

As a member of a team, it helps to have a clear idea of what the team wants to accomplish. This gives you inspiration and motivation. Working with your team to reach a common goal is motivating and fulfilling, and it gives your team a reason to exist.

It gives you more say over what will happen in the future.

When you set goals, you take charge of your life. By writing down your goals, you show that you are aware of what you want from life.

It’s the first step in making your own plans for the future.

How to set goals at work and in life that are realistic

No matter how you put it, setting goals is really just a matter of making a plan and sticking to it, but it’s rarely that easy to reach your goals.

Often, this is because we didn’t set up our goals in the right way, to begin with. Use this template to make sure you set goals you can reach:

1. Be clear about your goals

You can look at your career and say, “I want to do better,” but how will you know if you have?

Do you want a pay raise or a promotion?

Do you want to specialize in a new area or learn a new skill?

Do you want to start a whole new job?

Goals should never be too open-ended. Use the structure, “I want to achieve X by X,” to set your own clear goals (using lead measures over lag measures).

Once you have a clear idea of what success looks like and how you want to get there, you can start making a plan.

If your goals aren’t clear, the results won’t be clear either, and if your goals aren’t clear, your future won’t be clear either.

Further Reading: 20 Monthly Goals Ideas To Help You Grow in 2022

2. Set a time frame for your goals

Almost all goals require deadlines or time frames. Why?

Because if you don’t know where you want to end up, you won’t be able to tell how well you’re doing.

Setting deadlines also help you work towards your goal more effectively. For example, if you know you have three months to reach your goal, you’ll work a little bit harder to get there.

It gives you structure, lets you plan, and makes you feel more like you need to get things done, all of which can help you reach your goals.

If you don’t have a time frame or something you can measure, it’s hard to say what success is.

If you want to “Make more money,” how will you know when you’ve reached your goal?

What if you’ve made a few hundred dollars more in the next two months? Or if you’ve made a few thousand more by the end of the year?

goal setting quotes

3. Strive for the best…

Most people agree that goals should be realistic and easy to reach.

This is mostly true. Setting a goal that you can never reach is not only a waste of time, but it will also hurt your self-esteem a lot when you don’t reach it or even come close.

The whole point of goals is to push you and get you excited.

If you set the bar too low and try to do something you know is possible, you won’t have the drive and motivation to go further.

Think about what you really want to do and what you’ve wanted since you were a child. Where do you see your future self? Where is the last place you want to be?

4. But don’t go too high

What you’re trying to do should, of course, have some limits. No matter how hard you try, you will never be able to reach some goals.

For example, if you’re not a naturally fast runner, you’ll never win a 100-meter race, let alone set a record. Similarly, if you’re 70 years old and have no political experience, you’ll never become President of the United States (no, scratch that last one).

But how do you tell the difference between a goal that is ambitious but still doable and one that is completely crazy?

To decide, you need to think about how you plan to do well. How will you make this dream come true?

What are your plans? You can have a goal that seems impossible on the surface, but you can still reach it if you write down every step you need to take to make it happen.

Goals should be both achievable and big.

5. Make a good plan of what to do

learn how to make a plan

Don’t forget the steps you need to take to reach your goal because you’re so focused on the end result.

Take the time to write out a detailed plan of action. The act of writing it down will make it seem more solid.

Make a list of the steps you need to take, and then cross them off the list as you finish them.

Check out any tools that can help you measure them so you can tell if you’re feeling better.

Time blocking is a great way to plan out your time so you can reach your goals. Keeping a productivity planner can also be helpful, but it can take a lot of time. Instead, you might want to use tools that show you what you’ve already done toward your goal without the extra work.

A great place to start is with Trello boards and automatic time tracking. As you do this, you’ll be able to see that you’re getting closer to your goal, which is a powerful help in and of itself.

6. Make your goals public and hold yourself responsible

Don’t be shy when it comes to setting and meeting goals.

Tell people what you’re trying to accomplish. If you say it out loud, you’ll be more likely to do it.

If you set a goal but don’t tell anyone, the goal is much less likely to help you reach it. No one will ask you how you’re doing or where you are on your journey or hold you accountable.

Share your plan with the people around you to make a public commitment to your goal, and then celebrate when you reach it.

So, right now let’s get into the 23 goal setting tips and tricks that will help you to be productive.

23 Goal Setting Tips and Tricks To Boost Your Productivity

1. Set goals that will get you going.

When you set goals for yourself, it’s important that they motivate you. This means that they should be important to you and that achieving them should be worth it.

If you don’t care much about the results or they don’t matter in the bigger picture, you’re not likely to put in the work to make them happen. To reach goals, you need to be motivated.

Set goals that have to do with the things that are most important to you.

If you don’t have this kind of focus, you might end up with too many goals and not enough time to work on each one.

To reach a goal, you have to be committed, so to increase your chances of success, you need to feel like you have to do it now and have an “I must do this” attitude.

If you don’t have this, you might put off doing the things you need to do to reach your goal.

This makes you feel disappointed and angry with yourself, which makes you less likely to try again.

You can end up thinking, “I can’t do anything or be successful at anything,” which is a very bad way to feel.

Write down why your goal is valuable and important to you to make sure it will keep you going.

Ask yourself, “If I told someone else about my goal, what would I say to make them think it was a good one?”

If you start to doubt yourself or lose faith in your ability to reach your goal, you can use this motivating value statement to help you.

2. Write down your goals

When you write down a goal, you bring it into the real world.

There’s no reason to forget about it. Use “will” instead of “would like to” or “might” when you write.

For example, “I will cut my operating costs by 10% this year” is better than “I’d like to cut my operating costs by 10% this year.”

The first goal statement is strong and makes it easy to “see” yourself cutting costs. The second, on the other hand, lacks passion and gives you an out if you get off track.

Set up your goal statement in a good way. If you want to keep more of your current employees, say “I’ll keep all of them for the next quarter” instead of “I’ll keep less of my employees leaving.”

The first one is more likely to get people to work hard, while the second one still lets you succeed even if some employees quit.

If you use a To-Do List, make a template for it that has your goals at the top. Your goals should be at the top of your Project Catalog if you are using an Action Plan.

3.Set SMART Goals

Goals should be specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and timely.  Setting goals is easy but achieving them isn't. That's why setting SMART  goals is the fi…

You might already know about SMART goals. But do you follow the rules all the time? 

The fact is that goals should be made to be SMART if they are to be effective. 

There are a lot of different ways to say what SMART stands for, but the main point is that goals should be:

  • Specific.
  • Measurable.
  • Attainable.
  • Relevant.
  • Time-limited.

Set clear goals.

Your goal must be easy to understand. Goals that are too vague or too general aren’t helpful because they don’t give enough direction.

Remember that you need goals to guide you. Make it as easy as possible to get where you want to go by being clear about where you want to end up.

Set Goals You Can Measure

Add exact amounts, dates, and other details to your goals so you can measure how well you’re doing. 

How will you know when you’ve reached your goal if your goal is just “to cut costs?” In one month if you get a 1 percent discount or in two years if you get a 10 percent discount?

If you don’t have a way to measure your success, you can’t celebrate the fact that you’ve done something.

Set goals you can reach.

Make sure that the goals you set can be reached. If you set a goal you know you can’t reach, you’ll only get down on yourself and lose confidence.

But don’t let yourself make goals that are too easy.

Getting a goal you didn’t have to work hard for can be disappointing at best, and it can make you afraid to set goals that you might not reach in the future.

By making goals that are both realistic and hard, you can find the balance you need. These are the kinds of goals that make you “raise the bar,” and they give you the most satisfaction.

Set Relevant Goals

Your goals should help you get where you want to go in life and work. By keeping your goals in line with this, you’ll get the focus you need to get where you want to go and do what you want to do. 

Set goals that are all over the place and don’t match up, and you’ll waste your time and your life.

Set goals with dates

There must be a time limit on your goals. Again, this means you know when it’s time to celebrate. When you’re working on a project with a deadline, you feel more rushed, and you get things done that much faster.

4. Consider your passions

As you think about how to set life goals, you should think about what motivates you and what you value. If you want to reach your long-term goals, you should really care about them.

Your goals should mean something to you and make you feel good when you reach them.

5. Set goals you can manage

If your goal depends on something you can’t change, you won’t be able to decide if you’ll reach it or not.

Your own goals shouldn’t depend on what other people think or do. They also shouldn’t depend on things outside of you that you can’t change.

Be honest with yourself about what you can and can’t do directly.

6. Envision your future

Spend some time thinking about what you want your life to be like. What does your ideal future involve?

For instance, if you want to set career goals for yourself, you could ask yourself some questions that will take you in the right direction.

How much money would you like to make? Do you want to be your own boss? How many hours do you want to spend every day?

Even if the answers to these questions don’t help you choose a job right away, they will show you what you don’t want your career goals to be.

goal setting tips

7. Put your goals in plain sight.

Put your written goals somewhere you’ll see them and keep an eye on the prize. It should be somewhere you go often, so you’re always reminded of where you want to be.

If you want to remind yourself every morning of what you want to achieve, put your goals on your bathroom mirror or fridge.

Team goals should be posted somewhere where everyone on the team can see them. This could be a bulletin board or something online that is part of the software you use to run your group.

8. Take it apart

Because goals are often long-term and vague, break them up to make them easier to understand.

Use a “goal ladder” and write your most important goal at the top. Work your way through the rest of the ladder steps, writing down the smaller goals you need to reach in order to reach your main goal.

9. Develop a plan

Now that you are aware of the end goal that you are striving to achieve, the next step is to plan out how you want to get there.

Write down the steps you need to take in order to reach your goals. Having a plan will help you stay on track. As you finish each step of your plan, cross it off so you can see how far you still need to go and feel good about your progress.

Further Reading: How To Develop An Action Plan

10. Do something

Goals won’t be reached on their own. Once you know how you’re going to reach your goals, it’s time to take action.

Follow through with your plan. Every little thing you do moves you closer to your goal.

11. Keep things in mind

It’s easy to get obsessed with getting what you want. You might get to the point where you feel like you would do anything to get closer to your goal.

But this can make you tired and cause you to give up on your goal.

Live a balanced life to avoid getting burned out. Stop what you’re doing and look at the big picture. Treat yourself with kindness and give yourself time.

12. Identify potential obstacles

Be honest with yourself and know that you will face problems along the way. Think about what these problems might be and write them down.

If you know what possible problems you might face, they won’t be as scary when you run into them on your way to success.

For more Ideas On Goal Setting Tips, Check Out This List:

13. You are responsible

It can be hard and lonely to try to reach a goal all by yourself. Accountability keeps you moving toward your goals and helps you make steady, steady progress.

Share your goals with a friend to keep yourself on track. If it’s a team goal, have your team talk to another team about their goals.

14. Think and make changes

You might not have reached your goals in the time you had planned. Your goals might have been a bit too big. That’s fine.

Instead of giving up, take some time to look at your goals and figure out what you can change. You may need to change your goals or just make a few changes to your plan to reach them.

15. Have fun with your goals.

Joan Benoit Samuelson, an Olympic marathon runner, has spent her whole life setting goals and beating records.

One of her tips is to make sure that any goals you set are ones that get you excited. 

She says that when you set goals, you should ask yourself a simple question: “Would it make you happy?” She says that you are more likely to be motivated by these “joyful goals.”

“You need something that makes you want to get up every day and work out,” she says. “Something that will make you feel good about yourself when you reach that goal.”

motivational quotes for goal setting tips

16. Write Out Your Successes (And Losses…)

People are hard-wired to think negatively. It’s because of how we evolved. It helped us stay aware of danger back when everything was out to kill us.

In modern times, this negativity bias makes us feel and remember the bad things that happen to us much more strongly than the good things.

To keep a balanced view of what you’ve done and what’s going well in your life, it helps to write down what’s working. This way, you can keep track of your good things and remember them at the end of the day.

I think keeping a daily success journal is a good idea because of this. It’s a great way to keep your mind on the good things and keep moving toward your ideal life.

Every morning, take a few minutes to write down what you’re thankful for. Then, when the day is over, make some notes about what went well.

Write everything down, no matter how small it might seem. When you train yourself to notice and appreciate your own successes, you’ll be sure to attract even more of them.

It’s also important to keep in mind that setbacks and losses are a normal part of the process. So, if you have a problem that seems impossible to solve and you feel like giving up, don’t!

Even if you have a setback, that doesn’t mean you’ve failed. It just means that you know what doesn’t work and can use that knowledge to make yourself more successful in the future.

17. Follow the “Rule of 5.”

The Rule of Five is my favorite way to be more productive and get more done every day. How it works is as follows:

Every day, make a list of 5 specific things you’ll do to move closer to your goal, and don’t stop until you’ve done all of them.

This will not only give you a structure that has been shown to help you get more done every day, but it will also show you what you can really get done in a day.

Also, you can round up or down your goals to help you keep moving forward without having to work late every night and wear yourself out.

18. Give yourself a treat

Lastly, a great way to boost the power of setting goals is to celebrate your successes and give yourself rewards every time you finish a task on your list.

This might seem like a waste of time, but it is an important part of getting ahead.

By giving yourself a pat on the back for what you’ve done, you reinforce the idea that you can do anything.

This will make you feel better about yourself and give you the push you need to set even higher goals that will get you closer to your dreams.

19. Meditate and think about the good things.

To develop a goal-setting mindset, you need to pay more attention to your thoughts and let go of the limiting beliefs that keep you from being your best self.

Meditation is a very effective way to do this. It can help you realize that you are not your thoughts and that you can let go of thoughts that don’t help you reach your highest goals.

It can also give you the clarity and insight you need to solve problems and bring success into your life.

Meditation turns off your judgmental, highly-critical brain and lets your unconscious mind take over. This lets you enter a deeper state of inner peace and tap into a higher level of creativity, which will help you get the results you want.

Not only that, but it’s also one of my favorite ways to relax when I’m feeling stressed.

Using daily affirmations to boost confidence and self-esteem is another of my favorite ways to reach a goal.

Think of yourself as the kind of person who can reach your most lofty goals, and believe that you are that person.

20. Follow the “80 percent rule.”

How do we get the drive to go after our goals?

Albert Bandura, a psychologist, came up with the idea of self-efficacy to explain why some people are eager to take on challenges while others shy away from them. Why try if you don’t think you’ll be successful?

Self-efficacy can lead to either a bad or a good cycle, which is a risk.

If you don’t feel you’ll be successful, you don’t put effort into your goals.

This makes you fail, which seems to prove that you can’t do anything. The opposite is also true: you can set good goals, reach them, and slowly feel better about yourself.

The 80 percent rule is one way to build confidence. In his study of good teaching, psychologist Barak Rosenshine found that this is about the success rate students should have while in school.

If you have too much success, you might not be setting goals that are hard enough. If you don’t have enough, you can get caught in the confidence trap.

One way to figure this out is to set short-term goals (like 30 days) and keep track of how often you reach them.

If your score is less than 80 percent, try setting a goal that is easier to reach. If you get more than 80 percent, try something a bit harder.

21. Visualize Failure

One common tip for setting goals is to picture yourself succeeding. But picturing failure might be even more effective.

Peter Gollwitzer, a psychologist, says that what he calls “implementation intentions” are a key part of making your goals come true.

These are times when you think about problems you might face as you try to reach your goal and plan how you will handle them.

Many goals get derailed by things that don’t go as planned but aren’t impossible to think of. Two weeks into a new exercise plan, you start to feel sick. Your test has been moved.

You’re ready to open your business, but you’re waiting for the permits.

Imagining problems ahead of time and deciding how to deal with them can help your solutions work better when the time comes.

Since you are usually most motivated when you set a goal, planning can keep you from giving up on it when things get hard.

22. Learn the power of thinking back.

Adams says that it’s a useful tool that you should use often. “Think while you go. Reflection is a simple thing that has a lot of power.

To reach your goals, you’ll need to think about them along the way. “When you make a mistake, think about why it happened and what you can learn from it. That way you’ll get better as you go and probably find it easier,” she says.

23. Don’t stop trying

And finally, don’t give up. Now, we’re not talking about the first step of asking yourself, “Is this goal important to me?” We’re talking about sticking with something if it’s a real goal of yours.

“Most of the time, plans don’t work out. People can quickly fall off the bandwagon because getting on them is easy.

But there are some interesting things that studies have found. 

One study found that people who set goals were ten times more likely to change their lives for the better after six months than those who wanted to do better but didn’t set any goals. “You see where this is going, right?

Remember that you have the longest commitment you’ve made and the best thing you have. Spend it on yourself.

Further Reading: How To Not Give Up

How setting goals can help people learn

Clearly shows the way to success

When your child sets goals, he or she has a plan to follow so that tasks are done in order of importance. This lets him or her spend more time and energy on the next step toward reaching his or her goal instead of taking care of tasks as they come up.

teach you how to manage your time and be ready

Having a clear plan also makes it harder to put things off. Your child is less likely to put things off if he or she knows exactly what they want to do and what steps they need to take to get there.

Setting good goals teaches your child to be organized, to plan ahead, and to manage his or her time. These are skills that your child can use in school and at home.

Motivates people more.

If the big picture seems too hard to handle, break up big goals into smaller, shorter-term goals. This breaks up long-term goals into smaller, easier-to-achieve steps so your child doesn’t get frustrated and gives up.

Checks on progress

When your child has clear goals, it’s easier to see how he or she is doing. Seeing how far he or she has come and how much is still left to do motivates him or her to keep working toward (and achieving) goals.

Gives focus and direction

By setting goals, your child can see a clear path to success and focus on what needs to be done. This goes a long way toward keeping your child from getting too busy, angry, or down. It makes your child feel less down and encourages him or her to spend time on things that help him or her reach his or her goals.

Boosts self-esteem

When your child makes progress toward his or her goals, it gives him or her a lot of confidence. Your child’s self-image will be better in the long run if he or she is confident in his or her abilities. This will help him or her tackle future goals with less stress. Now that your child is more sure of himself, he or she can set even higher goals.

Provides Challenges

Set a small goal for your child to work toward if they don’t seem interested in school or a certain subject. This will keep your child interested in the classroom and get him or her to think of new ways to keep getting better.

Does goal setting help with depression?

The study looked at 42 depressed people from England who were picked up from two clinics. Researchers looked at this group and compared them to 51 people from the same area who did not have depression.

Each group wrote down its goals. People with depression had the same number of goals as people who didn’t have depression, which suggests that they were both about as motivated.

But people with depression had more goals to stay away from things and fewer goals to get closer to things. According to what the researchers say, approach goals are about doing good things, like being more thankful or going for more walks.

Avoidance goals try to stop bad things from happening, like smoking or losing your temper.

People with and without depression gave their goals about the same amount of importance.

People with depression, on the other hand, were less likely to think they could reach their goals. They were also more likely to give up on their goals when they ran into problems, and it was harder for them to set new goals.

People with depression may have trouble reaching their goals because they are not optimistic about them.

The people who wrote the study say that it gives important information about setting goals and depression.

Mental health professionals who work with people who have depression might want to help them set goals that are realistic.

Providers can help people in therapy move toward better outcomes by encouraging them to set clear goals, belief in their ability to reach those goals, and keep going after those goals.

Thank you for reading this post. It was about 23 goal setting tips and tricks to make your dreams a reality.


Ali Ounassi, Founder Of BestProductivityTips.com

Struggling with procrastination? Click below to download “The Procrastination Killer” for FREE where I’m sharing 6 of my best strategies to beat procrastination FOR GOOD, and get highly productive.

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