Everyone has goals: whether they are short-term or long-term, big or small, easy or difficult. Goals provide direction and meaning for our lives. Without goals, many people feel like they lack purpose. But, once you have your goals, how do you know when exactly you’ve achieved them?
How do you know you have achieved your goals? You’ll know when you’ve achieved your goals when you see the results that you desired. Achieving a goal means that you reached a specific result related to that goal.
Still not sure if you’ve achieved your goal? Below is some useful advice on how to know you’ve reached your goal, and what comes afterward.
4 Signs You’ve Reached Your Goal
There are four sure signs that you’ve either reached your goal or are well on your way to reaching it:
1. You created a plan, and you followed it.
One of the biggest ways to achieve a goal is to create a plan to get there. It’s recommended that you make a list of the steps it will take to reach the desired result. Then break them down further into smaller, more palatable parts.
These can be referred to as mini-goals. And they’re meant to function as baby steps towards your goal so that you can more easily achieve them compared to larger strides. Doing this will give you repeated senses of achievement and progress. As a result, it will help you stay focused and not burn out.
2. You held yourself accountable.
Perhaps you had a few lapses and hiccups along the way. But you tried your best to stay focused on what was most important: your goal. Maybe you even had others help you stay accountable. This group-accountability tactic is often used in achieving goals like weight-loss and sobriety. And it’s also a perfect way to know whether you’ve reached your goal or not.
When you may be too self-critical, others around you will be able to remind you of your initial goals and how much actual progress you’ve made.
3. You feel successful.
One might think that the only reward for achieving a goal is getting a result. But that’s simply not true. The feeling that comes with success does wonders for your mental health. Feeling like you’re successful—like you have a direction and purpose, will give you a boost in dopamine. And this neurotransmitter, which stimulates the pleasure centers of the brain, can increase your levels of happiness and self-confidence.
4. You feel like you’ve attained the result that you wanted.
Whatever your goal was, there’s usually a tangible way to tell you’ve achieved it.
For instance, if your goal was to learn how to make bread from scratch, your result will be a quality loaf of delicious home-baked bread!
Sometimes, however, results are a little less obvious or literal.
If your goal was to spend more time with your family, there’s not necessarily a single instance of this result that you can quantify. That doesn’t mean this isn’t a legitimate goal; it is just more of an ongoing goal that you must keep track of regularly.
Knowing that you’ve achieved your goal is important because it enables you to move forward in creating new goals for yourself. Achieving goals is a lifelong cycle—one that is crucial for humans and the way our brains work.
Why It’s Important to Achieve Your Goals
PositivePsychology.com has this to say about why goals are an important part of our lives: “Goals play a dominant role in shaping the way we see ourselves and others. A person who is focused and goal-oriented is likely to have a more positive approach towards life and perceive failures as temporary setbacks, rather than personal shortcomings.”
As you can see, goals are what keeps us positive and motivated. Here are just a few benefits to achieving your goals:
Goals help us identify our strengths and our weaknesses.
While planning for a goal, you must keep in mind what your skillset is, and find a way to best suit your plan accordingly. If you don’t keep in mind your aptitudes and avoid or improve what you know you’re not good at, it can result in setbacks and failures. Those can deter you from reaching that specific goal and other goals too.
Goals help us look at life realistically.
Achieving a goal and looking back on what it took for you to reach that goal can give you insight about yourself and others. This, in turn, will help you gain a realistic perspective on life. It will tie into using your discovered strengths and weaknesses—and those that you discover about others—to look at life problems and be able to apply a realistic solution to them.
Goals help us improve certain qualities about ourselves.
In the process of achieving a goal, you will be exercising many valuable traits such as perseverance, responsibility, time-managing, prioritizing, and problem-solving. Constantly chasing goals will mean you’re constantly working on these traits, improving yourself and how you approach life.
Goals give us something meaningful to focus on and remain consistent about.
Goals give us direction, and following the plan to get there usually means you must be consistent about it. Consistency is widely considered a key to success. As Aristotle said, “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.”
Goals help us determine what we want from life and give us a way to get there.
Making the most out of the time we have is an important task. No one wants to feel unaccomplished or have regrets, so we all set goals for ourselves depending on what we think is most important or best for us and try our best to achieve them.
Goal-setting is something that everyone should do and should become knowledgeable about. There are no cons to setting goals and going after them unless they’re negative goals. You can only benefit from accomplishing a goal.
You’ve Achieved Your Goal…What’s Next?
So, you’ve determined that you’ve achieved your goal—congratulations! You are taking steps to better yourself and your life. Although many people set goals and strive for them, some of them end up falling off the proverbial wagon and don’t accomplish them. However, you’ve proven to yourself that you can accomplish what you set your mind to, and that’s a priceless prize in itself.
With the knowledge that you are perfectly capable of going out there and getting your goals, your next step is to determine what your next goal is. You should never stop setting goals for yourself. When you stop setting goals for yourself, you stop living to your fullest potential, and you never want to do that.
Once you’ve figured out what your next goal will be, sit down and create a plan. Don’t be afraid to write out the steps you need to take on paper and check it every day to make sure you hold yourself responsible. Here are three great resources to help you figure out how to best plan and achieve your next goals:
- Golden Rules of Goal Setting (Five Rules to Set Yourself Up for Success)
- Personal Goal Setting (Planning to Live Your Life Your Way)
- How to Plan Your Life Goals and Actually Achieve Them in 7 Simple Steps
Depending on the kind of goal you’ve set for yourself, you can use the above checklist to determine if you’ve achieved it. Also, keep in mind the above tips about why creating and attaining goals is so important to your life and well-being.
If there is one thing that you take away from this article, it should be this: you are never too young or old, too smart or too dumb, or too big or too small, to set a goal, and then go out there and get it.