Effective Goal Setting

Are you guilty of doing the same activities day after day hoping your situation will somehow be different tomorrow?  I’ve heard this type of behavior is one of the primary definitions of insanity.

Why is it that most peoples’ New Year’s resolutions will not be achieved?

The answer is simple, though often overlooked:  Hope is not a plan.  A resolution is not a plan.  If you want a better tomorrow you need to spend some time planning for it today.  It has been said, “Those who fail to plan are planning to fail.”

Do you know that most people spend more time planning their yearly vacation than they do planning their career each year? 

If you’re reading these emails I know you most likely want to achieve more in your future.  For that to happen it will require change on your part.  Change is not easy, it takes conscious effort, planning, and taking action.

My goal with this write up is to help you achieve your dreams.

One of the tough things about being an entrepreneur, or just taking control of your life, is that you have a boss that is just too easy on his/her primary worker.  Yes, the boss of your life is that person looking back at you from the mirror.

Successful organizations set goals, they lay out plans to achieve those goals, and they measure their progress against those plans to ensure the goals will be achieved.  If they are off their target they make adjustments in their routines to make sure they get back on target.  If they achieve their goals early they set new goals.

People should do the same things.

Set only SMART goals.  SMART in this case is an acronym that when used properly will help you construct your goals for success. 

  • Make the goal SMART.
    • S = Specific:  I am going to become healthier is not specific enough.  Try I am going to lose weight.
    • M = Measurable: I am going to lose weight is not measurable.  Try I am going to lose 30 pounds.
    • A = Attainable: Attainable doesn’t mean easy, it means reasonable, you should make it a stretch however you must believe that you can accomplish it.  For instance, for a person who weighs 125 to set a goal to lose 30 pounds is probably not very reasonable or attainable, however for person weighing 180 pounds to lose 30 pounds may be reasonable and if so attainable.
    • R = Relevant: Is it important to you that you accomplish this goal?  If you really want to become healthier, then losing weight is probably very relevant to that goal.
    • T = Time Based: When is this going to be achieved?  I am going to lose 30 pounds by June 1, 2014 is a good time based goal.

Remember a goal is the “what” you want to achieve.  The how is the activity or activities implemented to achieve the goal.  I suppose they could be referred to as “mini or sub goals.”  For instance, “I am going to lose 30 pounds and to do this I will only intake XXX calories per day and will walk at least 1 mile per day.”

Here are some goal setting lessons I’ve found to be effective during my life journey.

  1. First of all, do not overwhelm yourself with too many goals.  Too many goals set you up for failure.  Change requires effort, sometimes a lot of effort, so pick your top goals and work on them.  Some people suggest no more than five major goals per year; I like to keep mine at three.  You want to establish a pattern of success in your life, so set a number that makes sense for your situation.
  2. Consider a goal a promise to yourself.  People with integrity rarely even consider breaking a promise to someone else, so why is it so easy for most of us to break a promise to ourselves?  Stop doing that!  It is a promise, keep your promises.
  3. Write the goal down!  If it isn’t written down, it isn’t real enough: MAKE IT REAL.  Don’t type it until after you’ve handwritten it.  There is something visceral about handwriting goals.  Handwriting them helps us internalize them.
  4. Remind yourself constantly that these are YOUR goals and it is YOUR life you want to change.  Put them where you can see them every day: bathroom mirror, refrigerator, car dash board, inside the briefcase, on the computer monitor and look at them daily.
  5. Put a plan in place: Begin with the end in mind and develop the plans to get there.    You must establish milestones along your pathway to success to determine if you are on track to achieve your goal/dream or if adjustments are necessary.  Begin with your yearly goal, then break that down into quarterly, monthly, weekly, and if appropriate daily milestones to ensure you are getting closure to your goal/dream.  Then develop an action plan to achieve each of the milestones along the way.
  6. Measure your progress:  As the year progresses, measure your progress against your milestones.  If you achieve each milestone your goal will be achieved.  If  you find your activities are not getting you to a milestone, change your activities so you can get back on track.  Adjustments happen in almost all plans.  When you miss a milestone don’t let the perceived failure stop you, embrace the learning experience, make adjustments, and get back on track.
  7. Celebrate successes:  Each time you achieve a major milestone find some way to reward yourself, take in a movie, set aside time to read a good book, spend time with family and friends, etc.  The reward should be something meaningful to you.
  8. Be accountable to someone else: Get an Accountability Coach who will help keep you on track with truth and encouragement.  This is someone you respect and/or trust who knows you and your goals.  This is the kind of friend who will tell you what you need to hear not just what you want to hear.

Believe it has already happened because you have decided what your future will be and after all is said and done, you are the captain of your future.

  • Change the phrasing of your goals into the present tense like it has already happened and you are in the future you created for yourself.  For instance, “Today is June 1 and I love my new, healthier body.  I am down 40 pounds, in much better physical condition, and am okay being at the pool or beach in my new swimming suit.  I feel great!”
  • Take time each day to visualize your new world now that you have achieved your goal.  This will put your subconscious to work for you.  Your subconscious is a powerful ally.   In present tense, write down and visualize, how will you feel, what can you wear, what will you be able to do etc.
  • Believe it: Now that you have your SMART goals written and a solid plan in place and can visualize your future, work on your belief in YOU and YOUR future.  Check this video out.  Tony Robbins shares his thoughts on the importance of goals, belief, vision, and change in this 10 minute video – check it out here.
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2 Responses to “Effective Goal Setting”

  1. marty mcdowell Reply Tuesday at 7:42 pm

    sounds great/

  2. This is a great article, that I plan to take very seriously, and begin doing it step by step. If I could follow that format I know I will succeed, and I wish I can let you know how I do.