Goal Setting Essentials
With a new year right around the corner, it’s that time of year when we all sit down with a plate of left-over holiday treats and resolve that 2018 is the year we’re going to lose that extra 10lbs. We don’t really set ourselves up for success, do we? But what is really holding us back from achieving our goals? Maybe we just aren’t setting the right kind of goals.
Let’s look at the numbers. 40% of Americans set New Year’s Resolutions. Only 8% of them actually achieve them. That means only three percent of adults have clear and identifiable goals and that three percent accomplish 10 times as much as the other ninety seven percent. If setting goals are such an identifier of success, why don’t more people set them or follow through?
The answer is two-fold.
First, most adults have the mindset that they can actively and accurately keep their goals tucked away in their head and readily pull them out when needed.
Second, many adults think that they are living a life that whatever happens just happens because it is supposed to happen. Goal or no goal, their destiny is already created.
Would you trust your sailboat captain with this same mentality?
What if you were on a sailing trip around the world and the captain had no plans or goal to get you from point A to point B? The captain just responded to all encounters on the fly because he didn’t have a navigational map to guide through the path of least resistance and set you up for a pleasurable trip to your final destination. Would you recommend this person? I sure hope not.
Goals are made to be written down and revised along the way. If your goals are only floating aimlessly in your mind, they get jumbled up with all the other information that your brain is trying to process. You become the ship captain that is drifting with the tides, slamming into the rocks, and getting further and further off course.
Writing An Achievable Goal
Another reason adults struggle with setting goals is that many don’t actually know how to begin writing an achievable goal. They think that the goal has to be some monumental commandment that is etched in stone and if not achieved, will surely denote failure.
This couldn’t be further from the truth. Rather, goals act as stepping stones, one by one forming a path or a bridge to your end result. As the river of life changes, we are able to adjust our goals accordingly.
Crossing the river may look impossible, and you can’t expect yourself to be able to simply jump across a river in one leap. But the “impossible” is usually possible when you choose a path that incorporates daily, monthly, and yearly goal setting into your life. By building a path of short-term goals across the river, you provide yourself with achievable steps to reach your end result.
Here are four tips to help you set goals that will empower you in 2018.
You must have a very clear picture of your vision and end result. This is accomplished through brainstorming.
I want you to think of the most absurd and non-achievable dream that you could ever dream up. Think about what you want your ultimate life to look like. This is where you should not hold back but go for the gold, per se.
You must be specific. Saying that you want to be rich is an ambiguous term and has a different meaning for different people. Saying that you want to live in a mansion is not achievable because there is no clear and concise definition of what a mansion is. Thinking that you want to have a net worth of $10,000,000 and live in a 15,000 square foot mansion on the beach in Miami in the next 10 years is a clear example of what you might want.
Did you notice how I used the term dreams and goals synonymously? It’s because your dream is essentially the culmination of your large and long-term goals. Without dreams, you can’t formulate goals; without goals, your dreams will never come true. It is essential for you to understand this relationship.
#2: Well Rounded Stepping Stones
Now that you have established your long-term goals and dreams, you must now devise the short-term goals or “stepping stones” that will lead you to those long-term goals and dreams.
This can be a daunting task if you don’t take this part seriously. You absolutely must look at multiple areas of your life—it’s the beginning and can’t be overlooked or side-stepped. Make certain that all of the short-term goals encompass personal, professional, spiritual, and familial facets. These will be different for everyone but in order to hit the target of your long-term goal, all aspects of one’s life must be assessed.
It doesn’t matter if you have daily, weekly, monthly, or yearly goals. In fact, I encourage all of them because if you do so, it will keep you on track. When writing these, keep in mind:
- Goals must be very specific and measurable.
- They must have a time frame to be completed.
Goals that are open-ended will never come to fruition because they are not held accountable to be met. They will fail.
#3: Write Them Down
All goals that you formulate absolutely must be written down. If they are not clearly written down and periodically reviewed, they are only a dream or fantasy.
Over time, your goals may become a far reach and put on the back-burner due to life’s trials and tribulations. When this happens, your goals start to age along with you. In other words, your goals will need constant upgrading and repairing as your dreams change throughout the course of your life.
By constantly revisiting your goals, it allows you to stay on track and have the absolute best chance of achieving your long-term goals and dreams.
#4: Add Depth And Meaning
While setting these goals can help you start to learn what it takes to want to work toward achieving something, they really don’t encompass what every true goal should entail. Take some time to consider the following things when writing your goals:
- What needs to be done?
- How will it be done?
- When will it be done?
- How can your goal help you to experience something new in life?
- How will you grow personally with what you are setting out to do?
- And last but not least, what contribution or impact will it have on those around you and on society?
When writing goals, keep in mind that they will usually take you out of your comfort zone slightly. If your goal is too easily achievable, then it will not be meaningful and significant to you.
A good goal should scare you a little, and excite you a lot.
When was the last time you got out of your comfort zone? Maybe it was skydiving, driving a fast car, or even public speaking. For some, these activities may provoke anxiety and an increase in heart rate. This is actually a good thing because it’s letting your body know that it is a big deal and that you need to focus on getting the task done. Then, after you have completed it, you feel a strong sense of accomplishment and victory even if the task felt overwhelming for you.
With no better time to start than now, take a few minutes to set more attainable and fulfilling goals that will help you make your dreams a reality. Visualize your dream/endpoint, write down smaller, well rounded, and measurable goals, get out of your comfort zone and revisit your goals often! Now, enjoy the last few days of 2017 and then hit the ground running in 2018 and achieve the life you’ve always wanted.
What are your favorite goal writing tips? What have you experienced that helped you achieve a goal? Leave a comment below!