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According to the dictionary a goal is an achievement resulting from directed effort. However, a goal is much more than that - it is the first step to making your dreams a reality. If you want to be someone that makes things happen then you need to be setting and acheiving goals.

Step 1: Start small

Kid having a goal of being an astronaut.

Setting small or short term goals are just as important as setting those big long term life goals that you may have. This is not about breaking the larger goals down into smaller steps, but about making smaller goals. A small or short term goal is anything that you think can be achieved within 12 months or less, it may even be achieved the same day as you set the goal.

You may feel impatient and want to just get on with the bigger goals that you have. The reason that small goals are equally as important is that accomplishing them will start to move you in the right direction and as the momentum of that achievement starts to build you will become more confident, believing you can achieve any goals that you set yourself. Without these smaller and more short term goals, life changing decisions become harder to envision and probably won't get done. As time goes on and momentum builds you will naturally start to set and conquer those big life goals that you dream about.

This may feel a little overwhelming at first to do on your own. Working with a Lifestyle Financial Planner (LFP) they can help to break it down into bite size chunks, so you can identify your goals and plan to achieve your dreams.

Step 2: What's important?

Time for a change written in the sand.

If your goal is not highly important to you then you won't put the work in to achieve it. So, start by thinking about the various areas of your life that are important to you and build your goals around them:

Step 3: Goal setting

Goal setting starts with careful consideration of what you want to achieve and ends with the work needed to achieve it.

A LFP will work with you using a goal setting worksheet, which will hopefully make the process a little bit easier for you. For each goal, they will ensure that you have considered the following:

Considering these things will mean that the goals you create are much more likely to be successfully achieved.

I can do it, if i set my mind to it.

Step 4: Positive action

A LFP can help you achieve your goals by creating a plan of action with you. Part of this process will be writing down your goals to help make them feel real and tangible. When you are writing your goals always use the word "will" not "would like to" or "might" - for example, "I will drink more water this week" instead of "I would like to drink more water this week". The first goal statement has power and makes you feel motivated, you can see yourself drinking more water, however, the second lacks passion and gives you an excuse if you get side-tracked.

A LFP will work with you every step of the way, helping you implement your plan so that your goals become a reality.

Step 5: Keep going!

Goal setting is an ongoing activity that helps to continually build and maintain your dream life. Working with a LFP gives you a ready-made accountability partner who can help you to review your progress, keeping you on track and helping you set new goals where necessary. Although the end destination may remain the same, the action plan you set may change along the way. Having an objective person to bounce ideas off and talk through the challenges with is invaluable.

Step 6: Enjoy!

While achieving goals is at times challenging and takes perseverance, enjoy the journey. Encourage yourself daily and congratulate yourself when you do things that challenge you. As you reach each milestone give yourself a little fist bump and reward yourself.

There are very few things that will have a more positive influence on how you see yourself than when you set goals, refuse to make excuses, and achieve them. Working with a LFP means they will be there cheering you on and supporting you every step of the way.

As Brian Tracy said - "Goals in writing are dreams with deadlines."

A goal without a plan is just a wish.