I am a goal-oriented person, and will set out to achieve whatever I put my mind to. I think the biggest key to my success is that I always put much thought into my plan of attack...starting with setting the goal itself.
First of all, really think about what it is you want. It's simple, really. How are you going to accomplish anything if you don't know what you're after? If your goal is something like, "Find a new job", well, guess what? That's not much help. Set yourself for success by laying out a plan that will get you to your dream. I bet you want more than a "new job." Do you want better hours? If so, what hours? More money? How much? A shorter commute? What would be acceptable? To work at home? etc.
If you don't know what you're looking for, it will be really hard to find it!!
I have found the S.M.A.R.T. method to be really effective. Remember that you want your goals to be:
Specific: Make sure your goal is specific enough to get you to the end. "Run a faster 5K" still begs the question...faster than what? Faster than you ran yesterday? Faster than your last race? Faster than your brother? "Run a 5K race in 28 minutes or less" tells you how fast you want to run and specifies that it will be during a race.
Measurable: You need to be able to verify that you have accomplished your goal. "Eat Healthier" is a great idea, but what does that really mean? How can you prove to yourself that you met your goal? "Eat 5 servings of fruit or veggies each day" gives you a number to aim for. At the end of each day you can ask yourself, "Did I eat 5 servings?" and it will be clearly "yes" or "no". Trying to answer the question, "Did I eat healthier?" would be too subjective!
Attainable: Be honest with yourself...is this a goal you are able to attain? Perhaps you want to run a 5:00 mile...but you currently run a 10:00 mile. Even with a very strict training plan, do you really think it's possible to cut your time in half? Make sure you are willing and able to put the effort needed into achieving your plan.
Realistic: Maybe hitting the gym 5 times a week is an attainable goal...but is it realistic for you life? Think of your other responsibilities and obligations. Are you willing to give up your Tuesday afternoon volunteering activity and your Thursday evening Girls Night? Is getting up at 5:00am something you can do, and still get the kids ready for school on time? Take a good, hard look at your plan, and make sure you have the support you need. Even if you have the best intentions, you don't want to set yourself up for failure!
Timely: Make sure there is an end in sight. Not that you will stop eating healthily or stop going to the gym...you will set new goals when you reach these! A never-ending goal will start to feel like you're rowing against the current...you work and work and work, but never get anywhere. Besides, accomplishing one goal will give provide great momentum as you aim towards the next one!