By Taylor McLamb

Everyone has something they’re working toward, whether it’s to eat healthier, be more productive in school or to nab a dream-job. And, it can seem overwhelming to do so without some guidance. Setting attainable goals for yourself that you can follow can be the motivating factor to help you reach success. It’s unfortunately not as easy as simply waking up in the morning and telling yourself you want to have an internship in a month – you have to do the work. Here are some tips to help you set goals in a realistic and achievable manner.

Write It Down

Buy some colored pens or sharpies to make writing out your goals a fun and creative experience. You can even write your goals for the day with dry erase marker on your mirror the night prior, so that when you wake up in the morning, you have a reminder of what to accomplish that day. The process of writing out your goals and having them laid out in a physical context rather than just saying them out-loud, adds a permanent addition to the process, making them harder to forget or ignore.

Use the S.M.A.R.T. System

Following the S.M.A.R.T. goal system is a powerful guideline to follow when wanting to make your goals both trackable and attainable.

Your goals should be:

(S)Specific: Making sure you know exactly what you want will help your chances of reaching that goal. If your goal is overbroad or vague, it will be harder to create the guideline to reach what you want. How will you know which steps to follow if you aren’t sure what the endpoint will be?

(M)Measurable: Measuring your goals, either by specific amounts and dates, can help you plan out what you need to achieve for success. This will also give you some joy and excitement when you can celebrate milestones.

(A) Attainable: You need to be realistic. Your goal should still have the ability to challenge you, but be attainable to achieve. Shooting for a goal that’s going to be near impossible for you to reach will only dampen your spirits and cause you to give up.

(R) Relevant: This step will ask for you to reflect on your life, be pragmatic and decide if this goal is truly worthwhile to your life. You need to ask yourself why you want to reach this goal and how it will benefit you in the long run.

(T) Timely: If you don’t make a timeline, it will make it easier for you to push your goal to the sideline and procrastinate. When you have a deadline, it adds a sense of urgency which can help motivate you to get your goal achieved on time.

Make a plan

Knowing what you need to do to accomplish your goal can help set things in motion. Without having a guideline of what you’re going to do, getting to your goal can seem impossible, leading you to stop before the process has even started. Start with easier tasks of what you can do each day to reach your desired endpoint, these will act as building blocks which will eventually lead to your success.

And most of all…

Believe in Yourself

Having faith in yourself can improve your self-esteem and give you the power to keep fighting for your goal. If you constantly tell yourself, “I’m only going to slip up” or “I’m never going to do this anyways,” you’re simply going to give up and ultimately prove yourself right.