“A goal without a plan is only a dream.”  Brian Tracy

Do you have a goal you want to reach? Maybe you want to get organized, lose weight, find a new career, or read more books.

Whatever your goal may be, unless you have a plan to guide you along the way, it’s likely you won’t reach it.  That’s why most new year’s resolutions fail by the third week of January.  Most people simply state what they want to do without giving much thought as to how they’re going to go accomplish it.

If you want to actually make your goal a reality, consider trying one of these two methods to help you find success.

Goal Setting Method #1: S.M.A.R.T. GOALS

Using this method, you can take your goal setting to the next level. S.M.A.R.T.  is an acronym for specific, measurable, actionable, realistic, and time-bound. This means rather than simply saying, “I want to get organized”  you specify exactly how you will do that according to these indicators:

  • A specific goal states exactly what you’re going to do.
  • A measurable goal is one for which you can easily tell when you’re making progress on it and when you’ve achieved it.

  • An achievable goal is one that can realistically be attained.

  • A relevant goal is one that will benefit your life, making you happier, healthier, or more successful.

  • A time-bound goal includes some kind of schedule or time frame.

Stated all together, your S.M.A.R.T. goal for organizing your garage might look something like this.

By the end of February (time-bound), I will organize the garage (specific). I will know I’ve succeeded if there is nothing on the floor (measurable) and I am able to park both cars in the garage (achievable). In doing so, I will feel less anxiety about opening my garage for others to see inside and make it easier for my family to access the cars (relevant).

Goal Setting Method #2: 1/3/5 Framework

If you don’t think the S.M.A.R.T. method is for you, then you could try using the 1/3/5 framework instead:

  • 1 main objective/goal – choose 1 thing you’d like to accomplish by a specific date
  • 3 priorities to achieve the goal – brainstorm 3 measurable goal-related priorities you need to do in order to be successful and achieve your one objective
  • 5 strategies/action items – come up with 5 tasks you can do to reach each priority; *this step is the most flexible as it may not take 5 action items to accomplish each priority

Keeping with our example of organizing your garage, here’s how your 1/3/5 method and planning might look:

Objective/Goal (1):

Organize the Garage by the end of February

Priorities (3):
  • Schedule time in my calendar
  • Declutter
  • Find systems/bins to organize the garage items I want to keep
Strategies for Priority #1: Schedule time in my calendar
  • Find three weekends in January and February to do the work and mark off in my calendar
  • Arrange for someone to watch my children during those times
  • Check with my spouse that we don’t have any other commitments so I can work uninterrupted
  • Call a professional organizer, if needed, to help me
Strategies for Priority #2: Declutter
  • Start with one area of the garage (i.e. items on floor, shelves)
  • Determine which items to keep, which belong elsewhere, which are donate/recycle/trash
  • Repeat process until entire garage has been decluttered
  • Call junk haulers to schedule removal of items no longer needed
Strategies for Priority #3: Systems/Containers to Organize Space
  • Determine where kept items will go now that space is decluttered (consider arranging in zones)
  • Research different online options available
  • Purchase bins/organizing systems
  • Install systems; fill bins with kept items; label
  • Sweep up and park cars in garage!

Just as each person is unique, so is goal-setting. Don’t pinhole yourself into a formula or method for reaching your goal that doesn’t work for you. Try one and if it doesn’t suit you, try another. In doing so, you’ll find more success in reaching your goals. And isn’t that ultimately the goal?

How successful have you been in reaching your goals?

How can the S.M.A.R.T. method or the 1/3/5 framework help you finally achieve your dreams?