How to Accomplish a Goal in the Next 30 Days
Since the beginning of time, humans have used planning to survive. Our first ancestors would plan their days around when to gather food, when to hunt, and when to rest. Planning is instinctual and in all of us.
But, planning, and more specifically setting goals, comes easier for some of us than for others. Why is that?
I would argue that setting a goal is a skill. The more you practice setting goals, the better you will become. In this post, I will show you a handful of actionable, practical, and tested methods for accomplishing your next goal in 30 days.
The S.M.A.R.T goal
SMART is an acronym for
- Specific - the outcome of the goal clear
- Measurable - the goal has a clear metric to measure success by
- Attainable - you are confident you will complete this goal
- Relevant - the goal matters and is important
- Time-bound - you have a clear date when the goal will be completed by
The smart method works really well because it forces you to think about your goal in terms of what will be accomplished when you receive the desired result.
I have used the SMART method for planning goals in business (and even tied compensation to them) as well as my personal life.
The biggest skill you can improve with setting smart goals is thinking about you will measure the goal and how to accurately estimate the time it will take.
“Until we can manage time, we can manage nothing else.” - Peter F. Drucker
Let me show you an example.
If you want to lose 10 pounds, you can use the SMART goal method like this.
Specific - I want to lose 10 pounds by the end of next month
Measurable - I will record my weight each morning using the fitness app on my smartphone
Attainable - I figured out my body needs 2,200 calories to lose weight so as long as I eat less than that, or burn the excess at the gym, I am confident I will lose weight.
Relevant - This goal matters to me because I have a vacation coming up and I want to look good with my shirt off
Time-bound - I will have 6.5 weeks to accomplish my goal. Therefore I need to lose 1.5 pounds per week to hit my goal
You will notice that this type of goal setting makes you focus on and think through how you will accomplish the goal. Give it a try on something you want to accomplish.
Don’t set the goal so far into the future that you lose motivation and your discipline suffers. Shorter goals, with realistic timelines and results, keep the energy up and your momentum going in the right direction.
Find an Accountability Partner
“As you grow older, you will discover that you have two hands, one for helping yourself, the other for helping others.” - Audrey Hepburn
This strategy has worked incredibly well for me. The idea behind an accountability partner is really straightforward.
Ideally, you find someone who is motivated by similar goals to you. You check in with each other daily or weekly to keep each other motivated and make the goal bigger than yourself.
When you tie your success to someone else’s success it can create an unstoppable force.
- Meet with your accountability partner on the first day and discuss your goals (maybe use the SMART goal method above).
- Write down your goals and sign them.
- Set up your first check-in
- Create a recurring calendar event for your next check-ins
- Don’t let each other off the hook, give tough love and encourage each other
- Celebrate the heck out of each other when one of you hits your goal
How to find an accountability partner
They are all around you. I have found the best success when it’s someone I know. They are already invested in me as a person and know my personality type.
Think about a co-worker, family member, friend, spouse, or gym member who would want to accomplish the same goal as you.
I will ask my wife to hold me accountable to something and, if we reach the goal together, we will go to her favorite restaurant after it’s completed.
Find a way for your accountability partner to have an investment in the game.
Find a 30-day challenge. Challenges are a great way to join a group of people going after the same thing. There are a bunch of 30-day challenges online, just do a simple Google search.
If you find that working with an accountability partner works for you, pay it forward. Actively seek out someone new to help with their goals. It is incredibly rewarding.
Publicly Publish Your Goals
“Setting goals is the first step in turning the invisible into the visible.“ - Tony Robbins
If you are a shy and introverted person, the idea of sharing your goals might scare you. I know I was really uncomfortable the first time I did it.
But something strange happens when you publicly acknowledge you are going after something.
First, it creates instant accountability. You don’t want to look like a failure, so you already have more motivation to get it done.
It is too easy to say things like “Someday I will complete my goal.”
Having your goal in the public eye turns it from an idea into a reality.
Second, people latch onto your goals and want to help. I can’t believe how many times I have been contacted by someone who is curious about how I plan to accomplish my goal, wants to do it with me, or wants to offer encouragement.
Other ways to make your goals public
If you don’t feel comfortable sharing on social media (or don’t use social media), I found a method that works really well.
Put your goals on a wall somewhere in your house. For me, it’s above my computer in my office.
This allows people to see it when they come to visit and forces you to look at it daily. The goal is a great conversation starter.
Further Reading from Skills You Need
Learn how to set yourself effective personal goals and find the motivation you need to achieve them. This is the essence of personal development, a set of skills designed to help you reach your full potential, at work, in study and in your personal life.
The second edition of or bestselling eBook is ideal for anyone who wants to improve their skills and learning potential, and it is full of easy-to-follow, practical information.
Make as few decisions as possible
“Successful people are simply those with successful habits”. - Brian Tracy
When your habits and goals align you will find it’s easy to accomplish your desired outcome.
I would argue that willpower is one of the fundamental things all habits have in common. If your willpower suffers you will revert to bad habits.
So how do you ensure your willpower remains high when trying to accomplish your goals?
Simple. Do the most important thing first and remove all the other decisions that come with your day.
Here are a couple practical examples
- If you want to work out more, do it in the morning before you make other decisions
- If you want to save more money, find a way to automate small amounts being moved to your savings account so you don’t have to think about it
- If you want to eat healthier, meal prep or pay someone to meal prep for you so you don’t have to think about eating healthy… you just eat what you already made.
The key is to find ways to remove yourself as your own worst enemy by making your decisions rely on automatic habits and not sheer willpower.
Understand that your willpower declines throughout the day. Whatever is most important should be done first.
There are dozens of methods and strategies to accomplish your goals. The key is finding what works for you.
The only way to know is to try some out and see which stick.
Don’t be too hard on yourself if you fail at your goals. Often you can learn more from failure than you can with success. What is most important, is you learn from the failure and find ways to avoid it next time.
I truly believe every single person can become great at setting goals and accomplishing them. It is a skill that requires time and energy, just like all useful skills.
Give some of these methods a try and see if they help you accomplish your next goal in 30 days or less.
About the Author
Alex loves helping high achievers optimize their personal growth and gain more clarity on the meaning of their lives. He works for a fast-growing SaaS company that helps entrepreneurs change their family trees by making smart, data-driven real estate investments.
When he isn’t working, Alex is reading and learning from some of the most interesting people to have walked this Earth.