Knowing how to set and achieve goals is undoubtedly one of the most beneficial skills you can develop during your lifetime. Without goals you end up leading a much different kind of life, often filled with ongoing boredom and dissatisfaction. Setting goals that encourage you to stretch and become greater in every facet of your life, on the other hand, leads to increased satisfaction and fulfillment in both your professional and personal endeavors. Of course, it’s not just the setting of goals that is important, is it? You’ve probably set thousands of goals throughout your lifetime. How many of them have you followed through and achieved? Sadly, many people achieve only a fraction of the goals they set for themselves. Why is that? Are they lacking in strength and willpower?
Do they choose the wrong goals, or simply not have the determination to see them through? Surprisingly, most often the culprit is the lack of a clear, achievable plan. You see, effective goal-setting is simply a skill! It can be learned – even if you’ve never had success setting and achieving goals in the past. The problem for many people is that they have never been shown how to set themselves up for success – so they encounter obstacles and eventually give up before they ever achieve their goals. Does this describe your previous experiences with goal-setting too? Understand one thing: your previous “failures” have nothing to do with your capabilities, strength, or potential. You simply didn’t have the right tools and mind-set to succeed at the time. You had the right destination in mind, but someone gave you the wrong map!
There are numerous benefits to be gained from a lifetime commitment of consistent goal achievement, but here are a few of the biggest ones:
1) Clarity and purpose.
Goal-setting forces you to examine your current life circumstances and take an active role in choosing what you want to experience. Rather than sitting idly by while external influences determine your quality of life, you recognize your power to choose and create more meaningful, enriching circumstances. The result: increased clarity and purpose in every aspect of your life! No longer will you experience that hollow ache of dissatisfaction and helplessness. You know exactly what you want, and you believe in your ability to make it happen.
2) Ongoing personal and professional development.
How easy it is to forget that life is not meant to be static! In order to live truly fulfilling lives, we need to consistently grow, evolve and improve ourselves, both personally and professionally. Imagine how bored we’d be if nothing ever changed! Would you be happy if you still held the same job you had in high school? Or still drove the first car you ever had? You are not the same person you were ten years ago – or even one year ago! Goals are necessary if you want to keep growing and developing. When you work consistently on strengthening your skills, talents, capabilities and aspirations in life, you enter into a process that keeps your life circumstances fresh, new and ever more exciting! You not only gain a stronger appreciation for your true potential in life, you also end up feeling much more in control of who you are and who you want to become eventually.
3) Greater fulfillment and satisfaction in all areas of your life.
When you know how to effectively set and achieve goals, you’ll never end up stuck in dis-satisfying circumstances again! You’ll be able to create a career you love, rampant success in everything you do, and healthy relationships that add great meaning and joy to your life. Your life will become a fantastic journey of fun, empowerment, joy, love, and fulfillment. You won’t be able to help but feel happy and excited about who you are and all you are capable of!
The following steps should be taken when setting goals:
- Assess your current situation
- What do you really want?
- What is the essence behind the desire?
Before setting a goal, you should first assess your current situation in order to identify which area of your life you want to improve or change such as your:
- Health and Fitness
- Mental/Emotional; and
There are three terms for setting goals:
- Short-term goal: within few months
- Mid-term goal from 6 months to a year
- Long-term goal more than a year
“Note that a goal should have a time frame”
Qualities of an achievable goal
Goals should be specific:
e.g. Do not set a goal about making more money or lose weight, these are general aspirations, instead be specific about the outcome and day by day actions that will create the outcome.
Goals should be measurable:
e.g. You should be able to point to specific benchmarks that confirm that you are moving forward, most benchmarks will be external clues and signs such as increased income. Do you feel like you are making progress? Are you consistently stepping out of your comfort zones and taking action towards your goals? If so, you are making a progress.
Goals should be positive:
e.g. Try to avoid setting a goal with a negative focus, instead turn any negative view into a positive one, rather than setting a goal to quit smoking, you may want to set a goal to become healthy and energetic non-smoker. The way this goal is worded creates a much different picture in your mind.
Goals should be worded in present tense:
e.g. Rather than saying I will loose 130 kg in six months time, try wording like this, I am losing 2 kg per week, and I’m feeling lighter and healthier every day.
Planning and preparation
Now that you have a good idea of the goals you want to work toward, it’s time to start breaking them down as far as possible and forming a clear plan of action for achieving them. Since we are focusing on one or two goals at a time in this course, you may want to choose a goal that wouldn’t be terribly difficult to achieve. After you’ve worked through the process and achieved a simple goal, you will be much more confident about repeating the same process on larger and more strenuous goals.
Now, consider whether your goal is comprised of smaller segments. For example, if your goal is to lose 25 pounds, you will obviously not lose all 25 pounds at once – you’ll lose a pound or two at a time. You might decide that your 25 pound goal could be broken down into a weekly weight loss goal of 2 pounds per week for twelve and half weeks. Another example: if your goal is to quit smoking, you may decide to taper off slowly over a period of a few weeks and set a date for total cessation. You’ll find that the majority of goals can be broken down into smaller consecutive goals that will lead you to the completion of the larger goal.
Preparing for obstacles
In addition to having a clear plan in place, you will also want to plan ahead for possible obstacles you might face as you proceed. We call this “Plan B.” This is not something that’s fun to think about, because when most of us set goals we’re overly optimistic that everything will fall into place perfectly. If only it always worked like that! You can probably remember at least a few of your previous goals that were completely derailed because you ran into an obstacle that you didn’t know how to work through, right? This is one major reason why some people never reach the goals they set for themselves.
Very often, the only difference between success and failure is being prepared! If you can think ahead and be ready for possible obstacles and challenges you may face while pursuing your goal, you will empower yourself with the ability to overcome them quickly and eagerly. While it’s not possible to predict every possible obstacle you’ll face, preparing as much as you can is a good idea because you’ll have a stronger level of determination from the get-go, rather than unrealistic expectations.
Remember too that there are usually two types of obstacles:
1) Obstacles caused by external influences
Outer obstacles are usually related to things beyond your control, like circumstances or events that block progress on the path you’ve chosen. You may think it’s impossible to plan effectively for these kinds of obstacles; since they are usually beyond your control, that means your goals and plans are doomed if you encounter one, right? Not necessarily! Very often, it’s your own reaction to these obstacles that determines their outcome. If you’ve planned and prepared ahead of time for alternate actions (rather than banging your head against the wall in frustration!) you’ll likely be able to work around them with a minimum of effort.
2) Obstacles that come from within you
Inner obstacles can often be more daunting than the outer ones! You may believe that you’re fired up and ready to make progress on your goals, but suddenly discover one day that you’ve got some inner resistance or limiting thoughts popping up and before you know it, you’ve stalled. Preparing for this possibility beforehand gives you the clarity and self-awareness you need to notice any tendencies toward self-sabotage – and nip them in the bud before they cause major problems.
Commitment and consistency
As you proceed with your goals, you should keep the following points in mind:
- Commit not only to the end results but the action steps that will get you there
- Believe in yourself, your capabilities and your potential
- Behold the power of momentum
- Beware of self-sabotage and that includes procrastination,excuses and distractions
- Motivating key is to visualize the end results daily, keep pumping yourself up and relish the satisfaction of progress.
Have a goal partner
The partner will be there to:
- Support you
- Remind you of your goals and plans
- Encourage you
- To push you
- To be honest with you
- To be committed in helping you
“Hope you enjoyed this article”