There is a lot of information on the internet about Goal Setting and seemingly everyone has an opinion. Having set many lofty goals myself, I have experienced the pitfalls that others lament, and often the successes that make the hard work worthwhile. Perhaps one of the quotes that sticks out most in my mind when I think about goal setting is one of the illustrious film creator, Kevin Smith.

“Please pay attention very carefully, because this is the truest thing a stranger will ever say to you: In the face of such hopelessness as our eventual unavoidable death, there is little sense in not at least trying to accomplish all your wildest dreams in life”

Why should I worry about goal setting?

It's easy enough to become complacent in life and not continuously challenge ourselves to do better and reach more difficult goals.

In fact, many individuals will choose a path that lacks the challenge of achieving goals altogether, but this is not a fulfilling path for everyone.

When you fail to challenge yourself, that can have a slew of negative consequences. Besides feeling bad about yourself and dissatisfied with your life you’ll also have little to no idea where your true potential extends, and what you are able to accomplish when put to the test. This information may not matter to some, but to others it's vital. Whichever end of the spectrum you end up being on, trying out some goal setting should at least offer the opportunity for you to learn about yourself.

SMART goals

In my lifetime I have set many goals, and as the deadlines of those goals whizzed by unachieved I placated myself by making new goals, easier goals, ones that I was sure I could achieve.

If you want measurable success in your life, this is not the way to go about it.

Hacking your goals also relies on your goals being appropriate, and ideally following the SMART guidelines. SMART refers to the following:






If you create goals following these criteria you are not only more likely to achieve them, but you are also less likely to set goals that are doomed from the start.

Thinking through your goals carefully can have the added bonus of allowing you to consider alternatives, resources, and an overall direction of where you want to go for a more tailored fit.

Tips for hacking your goals

My number one piece of advice for hacking your goals is to write them down. On paper or electronically is fine, but writing them down is essential.

Keep a record of all of your goals, dates of completion, and any hiccups that arose so you can reflect on them at a later date when attempting similar goals. Also, review your relevant goals and notes at least once a quarter. Keeping track of how far you’ve come will help you stay motivated. You’ll be surprised how much your rate of completion will rise, freeing you up to set even more ambitious goals.

Working in manageable steps is also key here. Don’t try to take on your hardest goal first thing in this process. Start with the one you know that you can accomplish and work on others from there. This is a good time to prioritize your goals and determine a timeline that will work best for you.

Finally, don’t be afraid to ask for help if you need it to complete your goals. Friends and family are often willing to assist when needed and it's a great opportunity to share the moment with others who want to support you. Often, a little boost is all that is needed to send you on your way to speedy goal completion, and what you learn from working with others is a great added bonus.