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Many people lead their lives setting goals and making promises. It helps them to keep on their right track. In most cases, these promises and goals last about one week, if not less. Then, everything goes back to the way it was in the first place. To avoid falling into this trap, here is a basic plan to set goals with objectivity and clarity from Gold Smart:

Step 1: Differentiate a dream from a goal

Some times we can get confused establishing our dreams as if they were goals to be accomplished. Try not make this mistake, understand the difference between a dream and a goal. The dream is something you want, while a goal is your dream with a deadline to happen. In this context, the New Year promises can be good because they bring a dead-line by itself.

Step 2: Be precise

“Lose Weight” can be a dream for many people. For example: “Lose Weight in 2011”. It starts to resemble a goal. “Lose 5 kilos by December 31st 2011” is now something much more specific.

When you are precise determining a target, you know exactly when you can have it as a goal fulfilled. For example, if you think only of “Losing Weight”, would you considered a goal achieved by losing 100 grams?

Step 3: Register the target

Thinking about goals is very interesting, but writing them is even better. Put your precise goals on piece of paper, or in any electronic device that you trust. Create a routine reviewing them constantly so they do not get lost in the course of the year.

Step 4: Set an action plan

Okay, you already know you want to lose 5 kilos by December 31, 2011. Now what? What will you do to achieve this goal? Probably will have to sleep more, eat better, exercise and drink plenty of water. The action plan should also be recorded and reviewed and, of course, be followed by you.

Step 5: Take action and follow

There is no logic to defining targets if you do not act to fulfill them. Having an action plan in hand, you should know what has to be done. So do not procrastinate, just do it. Regularly monitor your plan and actions during the year to see if you are going toward your goals or away from them.

Thus, when the deadline is approaching, you will be able to review the list and managed to see what you have achieved and what you could not. If you learn from your mistakes, you’ll be excited to try once again until you get what you want.

Finally, a slogan that I found very helpful: Do not do tomorrow what you can do today.