When you are beginning to put together a goal, aim, or plan – where do you start? How can you make them measurable, meaningful, and attainable?

Goals, plans, and intentions are all different things – understanding the subtle differences can help you to be successful and achieve.

Put simply: use your intentions as the compass for your journey & the goals as your landmarks with your plans being the navigation system used to get there.

At each juncture in life, be it work or personally, we have the opportunity to set resolutions, intentions, plans, and goals. But, what do we actually mean by these goals? If we’re not clear on what we want to achieve, why we want to achieve them, and how we will go about it, then we are much more likely to fail.

Resolutions tend to be the things that we feel are our weaknesses rolled into an idea in which we can use to improve ourselves. It’s a commitment that we make to ourselves in order to achieve the outcome, but statistics on this topic will tell us that we fail circa 90% of the time. Why is that? Well, many reasons really but critically it is because they lack intention, goals, and plans in order to achieve them.

Goals give you a route map to follow in order to get where you’re going. The target & the destination. It sets out the detail behind the resolution or aim. If you spend time setting these goals out – it gives you a sense of purpose and direction to follow.

Plans set out ‘the how’. In times of transition – you need to understand how you’ll achieve your goal so that you can process it, understand it, and break it down in order to feel success. The plan puts into place the process of how you’ll navigate through to the end goal. Don’t get caught being too busy planning and goal setting without actually doing something to succeed in getting closer to your ultimate aim.

So, having a goal on its own is not enough, a plan without a clear goal is fruitless. Having structure & a roadmap is key but one of the most vital pieces of the jigsaw to achieve what you’re aiming for is, the why / your intentions.  Being so focused on why you want to hit your goal will make the chances of achieving it much more likely. Focussing too much on the end goal without understanding or enjoying the journey is a sure-fire bet to failure. With that in mind, having a good understanding of what you’ll do next, once you’ve hit that goal, is important. It starts a chain of positive growth. You will have achieved what you initially wanted to succeed in and you can use that success to build on that area further.

Ask yourself, why do you want to become the number 1 salesperson in your industry? Why do you want to start your own business? Why do you want to learn to be a photographer?

Answering that question will give you a clear idea of the true underlying motivation behind your goal.

If you know your intention then you are well on your way to arriving at the destination. Intentions provide powerful tools which will focus your mind on the long term – and once you’ve set them you can set further goals towards arriving at your destination daily, weekly, monthly or annually.

A worked example:

To become a successful photographer (intention), I will invest in a new camera & enroll in a photography course (goal) and spend 1 day each week taking & editing photos for the next 30 days (plan).

Why do I want to learn to be a photographer? To produce artwork that others will also enjoy

Why do I want others to enjoy my photos? Because I want to inspire others & to share my work

Why do I want to inspire others with my work? Because I found taking photos a real inspiration and it has helped me to find a new healthy hobby.

Why do I want to encourage others to take up this hobby? It’s helped me through a number of transitional periods of my life and helped me to focus on something that I love.

This structure can be used when setting goals at work or in your personal life. Try it! It may make your next goal more attainable if you follow these simple steps – just be very clear on why you’re wanting to achieve the goal in the first place.

We would recommend looking into Bullet Journals in order to support you with goal setting, planning, and breaking your aims down to manageable pieces. The bullet journal is a great way of organising your thoughts for the short, medium, and long term.