How to Make Any Goal Your Reality

How to make any goal your reality - The Cafe Wordsmith

I’ve set a lot of crazy goals in my life. Some of them never amounted to anything; I might have lost interest, found something better, or just didn’t have a plan and gave up.

Other goals though, I’ve knocked out of the park.

I’ve had a lot of practice setting and reaching goals. I’ve learned what works for me and what doesn’t, and what works for me seems to work for a lot of people!

Goals are the magic bridge that connects our dreams to our reality.

I’m going to share the goal setting method I used to start and grow my business, write my novel, reach financial goals, and basically accomplish anything I set my mind to. I’ve learned that the method of setting goals is almost as important as the actions themselves, and having a plan can definitely speed things up.


How to Make Any Goal Reality


Step #1: Dream

What do you want your life to look like?

This is the part that drives the rest of the process, like fueling up your car before starting a road trip. Skip this step, and you won’t get very far.

So what do you want your life to look like? What would be amazing? How do you want to spend your time? What issues would you like to be solved? How do you want to feel?

Remember this amazing feeling, because this is your “why”, the whole reason for this process.

Spend some time with this daydream. Really sink into it and feel what it would feel like to have that life. If you’re into vision boarding, but out those scissors, baby. If you want to anchor this with affirmations, go for it. Whatever it takes to make that dream feel real to you, do it!


Step #2: Clarify

Define your dream with a goal

In your dream life vision, what have you accomplished? Do you have a successful business? Do you own your dream home? Have you quit your day job to work for yourself? Written your book? Write down anything that comes to mind.

Ask yourself what would need to happen in order for that dream to be true, and use that to form your goal.


Step #3: Refine

Get clarity

Your goal needs a few things to be really clear: You need to be able to measure it, you need a timeframe, and it has to be within the realm of possibility.

For example, “Have a successful business” is not a clear goal. “Increase my business revenue by 50k this year” is much clearer because you’ll know when you’ve achieved it, you have a timeframe, and it’s at least somewhat realistic.

(I’m all for dreaming big and shooting for the moon to land among the stars, but I’m a big fan of realistic goals too. More on this here.)

Figure out these details and craft a goal that is as specific as possible. For example: “I will pay off my students loans by Christmas,” or “I will double my email list in the next 100 days.”


Step #4: Map it out

Break that goal into small actions then schedule those actions.

Now that you’ve got an exciting, clear goal to shoot for, you’re probably feeling really overwhelmed. The best goals are the ones that feel possible, but scare us a little.

So where do you start?

You break things down into teeny tiny non-scary steps. You can probably think of lots of different things you’d need to do in order to reach your goal, so grab a piece of paper and write those down.

Those are probably big steps too, so write down the steps you’d have to take for those steps to be possible. If you get stuck, try reverse engineering those steps. What would have to happen right before reaching that milestone? What would have to happen before that? Keep going until the path unfolds at your feet and you run into steps you can take right now.

Then do those things in order. If they don’t all fall into an obvious order, do the most important things first.

Big tip: You might have absolutely no idea what to do and where to start, and that’s okay. Just deciding and setting the goal is the biggest step.

Get the “what” and “why” sorted out, and the “how” will follow.

Figuring out steps can be a step on its own. If you’re stuck and don’t know what to do next, take some time to do research, talk to an expert, etc. Anything you need to figure out steps. Just don’t get stuck in the research process. I suggest doing enough research to get a nice overview of the whole process, then enough research to find your next steps. This doesn’t have to take a long time, and it doesn’t have to be perfect. Learn enough to move forward, but don’t let it become procrastination!

This is the process I’ve used for just about every goal I’ve successfully accomplished, and I believe in it 100%. Give it a shot, and you might be astounded by what you create.


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Know Your Goal Setting Style for Better Results

I’m super nerdy about certain things. Harry Potter, for example. Personal development. Writing. Goals.

Seriously, I love goals. Dreaming them up, defining them, writing them out, the whole process. I love the adventure of making a dream reality and the personal growth that comes along with it.

On my quest for the perfect goal-setting system, I’ve come across two basic schools of thought around setting goals that are actually motivating. I’ve tried both, and I realized that different methods work for different people. Knowing what motivates you is CRUCIAL to your success. After all, setting the RIGHT goal that you’re actually excited to reach plays huge role in whether you’ll actually reach that goal.


Let’s look at these two different goal-setting methods.


Method #1: Shoot for the Moon

The method involves big, huge, amazing goals that are scary and exciting. This gets a lot of people jazzed up because they’re the “shoot for the moon and land on a star” type, who are motivated by out-of-this world goals.

One reason this can work is because when your focus is far ahead of you, it’s actually really easy to accomplish a smaller goal that might have felt daunting on its own. For example, an author and speaker I follow tells a story of a cross country coach who told her they were going to run twelve miles one day, and they only ended up running six. She was so geared up for the twelve mile run that the first six miles passed quickly and easily.

Another business coach I really admire recommends this method, setting goals that are absolutely massive and then going for it. She feels that this pushes her farther than realistic,  less challenging goals would, because she’s the type of person who loves the thrill and feels amazing about her progress, even if she doesn’t quite reach her huge goal. It’s worked wonders for her and her business!


Method #2: Be realistic

The other common method I’ve seen is about setting realistic goals, even smallish ones. The idea here is that knocking out the lower hanging fruit and lots of small wins will motivate you to keep going.

By setting very achievable goals that are broken up into little milestones, you build momentum and ultimately, achieve more.

So do you prefer to take it slow or shoot for the moon? What’s your goal-setting style? Look at your history with goals. Have you had better success with big, outlandish goals, or do you accomplish more when you set smaller ones?

There’s no right or wrong answer here. It all comes down to what motivates you. Do you like to check off boxes, or land on a star?

I definitely fall into the second camp. I like smallish, only slightly-scary goals that still feel doable.

Massive goals just overwhelm me. I get caught up in the bigness of it and feel paralyzed instead of inspired. I might have big long-term goals, but I like to set more realistic goals and focus on the short-term. This keeps my eye on my next steps.


How to Dream Big AND Be Realistic

“Most people overestimate what they can do in one year and underestimate what they can do in ten years.” -Bill Gates

Both methods are valid. Both can work. But how can you harness the power of each to bring your most incredible goals to life?

Given enough time, you can accomplish just about anything, so the crazy-awesome goals can be great for long term (potentially very long term) goals. Time is the only difference between a realistic goal and a totally bonkers goal.

Set those goals. What do you REALLY want. What would be absolutely amazing if it were your real life?

Use that as your long term goal and break that into more realistic short-term ones, and then break those into doable steps that don’t paralyze you. Remember, nerves are fine and great for growth. Paralysis is not!

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