As we all know, setting goals is easy, achieving them, not so much. Here are some strategies for setting and reaching the goals that are more likely to lead to lasting satisfaction.

Make sure the goal you set is what YOU want – Should reaching a goal, regardless of what it is make you happy? According to research conducted by psychologist, Heidi Grant Halvorson, the answer is no. Why you want to reach a goal is much more important in the long run.

Says Halvorson, “The best kind of goal is when we are motivated by our desires, freely engaging in an activity out of interest” rather than feeling pressured by someone or something. In essence, we are more likely to achieve goals we choose for ourselves than those chosen for us.

Goals are not created equal – The goals that most often lead to a sense of satisfaction and accomplishment meet our need for relatedness, competence or autonomy. So do goals that focus on personal growth, health and self-acceptance. Goals that won’t lead to long-term wellbeing are ones that seek power, wealth, fame or obtaining recognition and validation from others, in spite of what we see in the media.

Decide how to get there – Research has repeatedly shown that when people feel they have choices as to how to reach their goal and are involved in creating the plan to get there, they are more highly motivated. Certainly, knowing what it takes to reach a goal is important in designing the how.  If you want to lose weight, you need to understand how many calories you need to cut to lose a pound as well as the calories contained in the food you consume.  How else will you know what or what not to eat?

I asked my colleague and life coach LJ Aviles to weigh in on the subject. Here is what he had to say:

Staying motivated – “To stay motivated people need to set small, reachable goals so they can gain momentum,” says Aviles. If you want to make more money, you should set a specific goal such as making $1,000 in 60 days. Next, break down the previous goal into smaller steps. In this example, you would need to make $500 per month or $125 per week. Now you can focus on how you can make $125 this week and continue to scale and grow from there.

Avoiding common obstacles – One of the most common obstacles that prevent people from reaching the goals, says Aviles, is not having quick wins. You need some quick wins to keep you motivated to move forward. If your goal is to lose 25 pounds, your quick win is the first two pounds you lose. If you set the bar too high and can’t reach it in a short time then you will end up losing motivation and quitting before you reach your full potential.

To learn more about setting and achieving your career or life goals click here.