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How to set goals and drastically increase your chances of reaching them

Updated: Jan 5, 2022

Goals give our lives direction and wings to fly with. Or like Lawrence J. Peter puts it: "If you don’t know where you are going, you will probably end up somewhere else."

To set goals is to set the course of where we are heading and how fast. But carving out a goal is far from enough, studies from University of Scranton reveal that only 8% of people who set goals achieve them.

Which is quite sad... But there`s hope! According to research by American Society of Training and Development 4 simple addons to your goals, increase your chances of reaching them from 8% to 65%. These simple steps are:

1. Make sure it's measurable. If your goal can`t be measured it can't be reached. Remember that becoming better is not a goal. Find a way to measure your progress in meters, dollars, repetitions, units, weight, percentage, rounds, score etc.

2. Set a date for when the goal should be achieved. This is a very important little tweak that will increase you chances by another 10%. Who does not want that?

3. Find your strengths and weaknesses and plan accordingly. Use strengths in you favor, work on your weaknesses, make a plan for when and how to do what you need to do. This is utterly important cause like it`s said; failing to plan is planning to fail. Making a plan will increase your chances to 55%, and you haven`t actually done anything yet!

4. Tell others about your goal. Keeping your goal a secret is tempting, but not wise. It`s found that when you have done the previous steps, telling others about your goal increases your chances of reaching it to 65%. Telling others will make you accountable!

What about the remaining 35%?

The remaining part is to stick to the damn plan and work on ourselves. New goals require us become new versions of ourselves. When acquiring something we never had before we need to become someone we have never been before. Which is easier said than done. A tip is to take a look at our thoughts and words. Because:

Our thoughts become our beliefs, which become our words, which leads to our actions and in the end becomes our destiny (Mahatma Gandhi).

To become new versions of ourselves we must be mindful of what we think and say. Use positive words, not shitty ones, and have no excuses. Just as our thoughts become our destiny, results only come to those who don`t make excuses. When given the choice between excuses and results, we can only chose one or the other. I know what I`m going for!

Stay motivated!

A great way to stay motivated is to slice the goal into smaller parts and celebrate mini achievements along the way. To focus on the end result is actually demotivating, cause it's so far away. Whereas acknowledging and celebrating small and significant steps towards the goal keeps our motivation and spirits up.

That's why it's wise to do a happy dance, bake a cake or do something we enjoy to mark small but important achievements on our path to the main goal. This will spark the reward circuitry of our brains and give a feeling of pride and joy, which is crucial for keeping on.

The framework above is the exact recipe I used when preparing for Mongol Derby, the world's longest and toughest horse race. If I hadn`t worked on my fitness, balance and navigating skills, plus been mindful of how I think and talk about hings - I`d probably end up in Siberia with broken bones, not on the finish line drinking Airag and dancing with the nomads.

Since then I have used this formula every year. In 2020, the year many claims to be a shitty one, due to Covid and all... I reached 4 out of 5 goals. Which in my mind makes it great year, because achieving goals brings our lives further ahead in the direction we want it to go.

2021 was not a gracious, I only reached 1 of 5 goals. Yes I measure and numbers don`t lie, but the one goal I made was the most important one; building a web platform for members that actually work. It took 3 tries, or failures if you like, to get there!

Which remindes me of one last thing; when it comes to goal setting ther`s only one rule that really applies, which is: THE ONLY FAILURE IS NOT TO TRY.

Am I a punishing myself for the goals i did not reach? Heck no! Although I didn`t reach them, I am better off than when starting out (again numbers don`t lie).

Remember to pat yourself on the back for trying, we are so much more than the results of our efforts. Having a cheerful attitude when going to the barn, being kind and motivating others is in the end more important than for example reaching 70% on the dressage test - we did after all make 60, which is better than when starting out🙌

And how would you really feel about reaching 70%, if it meant using illegal methods, harsh bits, force your horse or maybe even bribe the judges? Not too good I guess! Be proud for doing what you do with integrity. Keep on trying (and failing) and in the end you will get there!

These days I`m carving out the aims for the year to come and maybe you are too? I hope this blog help you reach your goals and that you are ready to make this year rock too. For extra help, click the link below and download the goal setters checklist✨

Goal setters checklist
Download PDF • 145KB

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