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How many times have you heard that being successful is all about setting goals? But, it may come as no surprise to learn there is a lot more to success than just setting your goals.

Most of us, at some time, have been told that an essential part, if not the major part, of being successful is setting goals. If that was true, we would be much more successful at achieving our goals in life. In this article, we’ll talk about why many people fail to achieve their goals and how you can be successful at achieving your goals…and your dreams.

1. What is a goal? A goal is a target that is achievable in measurable, attainable steps. It is more than just a desire or a need; it has an existence of its own. A desire or a wish is less tangible and is often fleeting. For example, who doesn’t want to win the lottery with all its millions in prize money? Very few would not but, despite the widespread desire, it is not a goal. A goal is a desire, wish or need achievable by actions you can take. It is more than a mere wish or desire.

2. How should you set a goal? Setting a goal is a process which starts with an achievable wish, need, or desire. First you must decide on the following:

What do you want?

Where do you want to be?

Next, break the goal down into smaller individual steps or actions. Achievable goals are goals where you can influence their realization and measure your progress towards them. Achieving long-term life-changing goals is a process of achieving, step-by-step, short and medium-term actions.

3. What actions are required? Goals require action on your part. You first need to decide what action is required to achieve the goal. Your first action is always to write down your goals. Putting pen to paper (and this is one of those times when a real pen and paper make a difference) gives your goals an existence of their own.

Writing a plan is an essential step in achieving your goals – without it you will, over time, amend the long-term goal to fit your reality. In doing so, you will eventually reduce the goal to a wish, and wishes only come true by chance.

4. Analyze the results. You then need to analyze, and work out in detail, how you are going to accomplish each individual goal. This means writing a specific plan of what tangible actions are required to achieve each individual goal. These actions then become smaller shorter-term goals leading to major longer-term goals.

5. What steps do I need to take today? Every day ask yourself "What steps do I need to take today to make progress towards my goals?" By now, your steps should be all planned in advance, so check your plan and make sure you take steps every day. If you discover additional steps are needed, add them to the plan.

6. Review your progress and achievements every week and month. Every week, review your progress for the week. Check what you’ve done and what you may have missed. Adjust your plan for the next week or month.

Your plan should always take into account what you will do today, tomorrow, this week, next week, before the end of the month, in the next 3 months, 6 months, etc. Always write down your results.

7. What if things go wrong? If goals were easy to achieve, then everyone would be successful in everything they did. Goals are difficult because they should move you outside of your comfort zone to do things differently. To be successful, you have to take risks and face your own fear of failure. There will be setbacks. Expect them; since they are a normal part of the process.

If you are not prepared to take action towards your goals, then you are wasting your time by setting them. True success comes from the daily actions we all take. Using goals helps ensure that the actions you take are moving you in the direction you wish to go. Frequent reviews keep you on track, and applying the tips above will help ensure that you achieve your goals. And, in doing so, you will be unique and stand out from the rest of the crowd who aren’t successful.