Setting Goals is One Thing; Achieving Them is Another 


Setting goals usually forms the foundations for our personal and professional development. Achieving them will transform our aspirations into reality. Setting goals, however, is often far more accessible than achieving them. 

Transitioning from vague intentions to concrete accomplishments requires a strategic approach that aligns with setting big SMART goals, breaking them down into milestones, and prioritising the tasks that will contribute to achieving your goals. This will ensure you build momentum and keep yourself motivated. 

The SMART Goals Framework 

Setting Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound (SMART) goals is key to successful goal setting. It is a structured framework for transforming vague ambitions into achievable objectives.  

Here’s how to do it: 

  • Specificity. Specific goals clearly define what you want to achieve, providing a roadmap for action. Instead of aiming to “get a promotion,” identify the exact position or title you seek. 
  • Measurability. Measurable goals provide a quantifiable way to track progress and assess achievement. For instance, instead of aiming to “run more,” set a goal to run 30 minutes, three times a week. 
  • Achievability. Being ambitious and having realistic goals can quickly lead to discouragement and setbacks. Achievable goals, while challenging, should align with your current capabilities and resources. 
  • Relevance. Goals should align with your aspirations and contribute to personal or professional growth. Ensure your goals are meaningful and contribute to a life that aligns with your values and aspirations. 
  • Time-bound. Adding a timeframe to your goals creates urgency and helps you stay focused. Set realistic deadlines for each step of your journey. This enables you to maintain momentum and avoid procrastination. 

Breaking Big Goals Down 

When aiming for big goals, you should break them down into smaller, more manageable milestones. This approach helps you tackle challenges step-by-step, building momentum and reducing the overwhelm accompanying large-scale undertakings. For instance, if your goal is to write a book, break it down into milestones such as completing a chapter outline, drafting the first chapter, and editing the entire manuscript. 

One of the first downloads I created for my business was ‘Eating an Elephant One Bite at a Time.’ It explained to business owners that if they were going to dream, they should dream big. I explained that planning to achieve your big dream is like planning a car journey. Knowing where you’re going, you can calculate your needed resources—time, fuel, refreshment breaks, etc. 

I advocate a system called ‘three, one, ninety’ when business planning. You start with where you want to be in three years. It’s far enough away but not too far. When you’ve decoded your three-year ‘destination,’ you decide where you think you must be in a year to achieve it. 

The final stage is to decide what you must do in the next 90 days to ensure you are on track to reach the one-year ‘milestone.’ 

Prioritising Tasks 

Time is a precious resource that needs to be managed wisely. Prioritising lessons based on their importance is crucial for achieving your goals and maximising productivity. By focusing on the tasks that will directly contribute to your objectives, you can maximise your time and avoid getting bogged down in less significant activities. 

When you prioritise what’s essential to achieving your goals, you’ll also reduce stress and anxiety by creating a sense of control over your workload. When you have a clear plan for tackling your tasks, you feel more confident managing your time effectively. This can lead to greater satisfaction and a more positive outlook on your work. 

The tasks I need to complete to achieve my goals are my main priority and, as such, are the first things I do every day. 

Embracing Momentum: The Power of Consistent Action 

Momentum, the driving force that propels you forward, is essential for achieving ambitious goals. The positive energy fuels your determination and keeps you moving despite challenges and setbacks. 

Each time you reach a milestone, celebrate it. Recognising your progress reinforces your commitment and provides a sense of accomplishment, fuelling your momentum. 

This blog has been written by Paul McCartney, the founder of E Business Coaching, which focuses on helping entrepreneurial small business owners to manage their businesses. He is passionate about ensuring that their business reflects their values, works with the right clients, and employs the right people.  

Paul has tons of experience and knowledge, having spent more than 25 years in the UK Commercial Radio sector and holding an MBA from the University of Leicester. His business is now in its thirteenth year and operates around the central belief that if people work on the right things at the right time, they will move their business forward. 

Connect with Paul McCartney on LinkedIn and you may also visit his website to find out more.