Everybody has goals.
You have goals and aspirations even if you haven’t put them down on paper. You wish to improve your academic performance, get a higher salary at work, or be promoted. You’ve decided to finally lose weight, write that book, or develop that software.
The issue is that our aspirations and actual outcomes frequently diverge significantly.
So, it’s important to create some concrete objectives.
Now, though, here’s the catch.
Intentionally pursuing one’s goals is a far different animal than simply doing so. The process of defining and achieving goals may appear effortless from a distance. Unfortunately, only a tiny fraction of those who make resolutions actually follow through on them.
The University of Scranton found that only 8 percent of those who make resolutions at the start of the year actually follow through with them. Eighty percent of those who make resolutions fail to follow through on them.
This manual is dedicated to a thorough exploration of the process of goal establishment. We’ll talk as a group about how important it is to set goals and what needs to be done to reach those goals.
Table of contents
- What is Goal Setting?
- Benefits of Goal Setting
- How to Set Goals
- Create Goals That Are in Line with Your Values
- Take The Long View (Summary)
What is Goal Setting?
Let’s start by making sure we have the same understanding of what “goal setting” actually means. Simply put, goal setting is the act of deciding upon or establishing a desired end result. It’s taking stock of where you are and mapping out where you want to go.
Nevertheless, there is more to goal achievement than simply identifying a desired outcome. It will be considerably more challenging to reach your objectives if that’s all you do. Of course you want to write a best-seller and develop an app that will revolutionize society; everyone does. Making it happen, on the other hand, is a whole other ballgame.
Goal setting is the process of deciding what you want to accomplish and mapping out a plan to get there. Measurable targets and a deadline are essential for successful goal-setting.
Benefits of Goal Setting
1. Goals Give You Focus
Setting goals helps you see what you want out of life and gives you direction for how to get there. When you have a clear idea of your destination, why you want to get there, and the path you want to take to get there, making decisions is easy.
To avoid expending needless mental resources on wondering what you should be doing, goal setting should be performed with care. You have a clear goal in mind and a plan to reach it.
If you want to lose 10 pounds, but you have to decide between going for a run and watching a movie, the choice is obvious. You need to go out and actively seek out potential clients.
In order to get where you want to go, you need to have some way of focusing your efforts and directing your time. It’s possible to have enough time and materials to complete a task, but if your mind isn’t in it, you won’t get it done. Setting goals helps you zero in on what you want to accomplish with pinpoint precision.
2. Goals Help You Measure Progress
That old adage, “You can’t manage what you don’t measure,” is absolutely true. One of the best ways to track development and success is through the establishment of goals.
Setting and reviewing goals allows you to monitor your development in accordance to predetermined benchmarks and your final objective. The results will show you where your efforts are paying off and where you need to put in more time or change your strategy.
Say, for instance, that you intend to compose a book. With that in mind, you may calculate how many words you need to write each week to complete your book by a certain date. You can check your development to see if you are fulfilling your duties.
Setting goals is effective because it allows you to track your development and make adjustments as needed to reach your objectives.
3. Goals Help You Stay Motivated
One way to maintain motivation is to set goals. Earlier, we discussed how goal-setting can kick off a positive cycle of increased drive and success.
The success of your long-term objectives depends on your ability to create and work toward clear, attainable goals. You gain self-assurance and determination as you accomplish little and larger goals along the way.
Take, as an illustration, the case where you intend to shed 25 pounds. By checking your weight once a week, you can monitor your progress toward your objective. Losing weight encourages you to keep up your healthy diet and regular exercise routine.
When you have a desire but no objective, it’s much more challenging to make that dream a reality. It’s easy to give in to the temptation of a late-night bowl of ice cream if you don’t have a clear plan for how you’ll achieve your weight loss goals.
4. Goals Help You Beat Procrastination
By deciding when you want to accomplish something, you set yourself up for success (more on that in a minute). Setting a deadline for yourself forces you to keep moving forward and take action even when you don’t feel like it.
Setting goals leaves you feeling unfulfilled. You may call it a feedback loop. There is a sense of urgency to complete the loop because you want to get to the end so badly. Having a purpose might motivate you to get up and get moving even when you don’t feel like it.
Keeping your goals in mind will help you stay focused on both the long-term goal and the short-term steps you need to take to get there.
How to Set Goals
Now that you understand the value of goal setting, let’s speak about the process. In order for goal setting to work, it is necessary to follow a certain set of guidelines. You will have very little chance of succeeding in reaching your targeted objectives if you do not take these steps.
Define Your Core Values
Before you can set any kind of goal, you must first be able to describe your values in a clear way. If you aren’t sure what you value most in life, then you shouldn’t bother making goals.
Your values serve as a compass for your daily decisions and behaviors. Values are the things you care about in your personal and professional life. They shape how you interact with other people and help you decide what’s most important to you.
The way your life turns out depends on the values you choose to live by. Being happy is a result of living in accordance with your values. But deep discontent sets in when your actions contradict your principles.
Goal planning that actually works propels you towards your most important aspirations. For happiness, Carnegie advises, “Choose a purpose that absorbs your attention, releases your enthusiasm, and raises your expectations.”
Learning what you care about most will help you develop more useful goals. Ask yourself the following questions to get started:
- Who do I want to be?
- What do I want people to say about me at the end of my life?
- What am I willing to sacrifice for?
- What things matter most to me?
- What makes me happy?
- What energizes me?
By carefully examining your personal values, you can identify what matters most in your life. Then you can tailor your goals so that they align with your values and help you create a life that is meaningful.
Create Goals That Are in Line with Your Values
Finding out what matters most to you is the first step in setting objectives that will help you get closer to your ultimate goals. Setting goals that are in line with one’s core values makes it more likely that they will be reached.
Your level of motivation to achieve your goals will increase if they reflect who you truly are.
Yet if what you want is at odds with what you believe is important in life, you’ll experience inner turmoil that will prevent you from achieving your objectives. And even if you do, you won’t feel contentment or pleasure from your accomplishments. You’ll be torn and full of regret.
Setting values-based goals frees you to devote more time and energy to what matters most to you and gives you a sense of fulfillment.
Create SMART Goals
SMART goals are:
You need to have specificity and clarity when it comes to goal setting. If you’re clear on what you want, you won’t be motivated to achieve it or know what steps you need to take to get there.
The goal of having a successful career doesn’t have enough clarity to be motivating.
Ask yourself the following questions as you set goals:
- What do I want to accomplish?
- Why do I want to accomplish this?
- Who else is involved?
- What resources do I need to hit this goal?
A more specific and actionable goal statement would be “I want to be a C-level executive at a Fortune 500 business so that I can leave a legacy of hard work for my family,” rather than just “I want to have a successful career.”
If you want to accomplish something, but keep getting sidetracked, writing out your objectives is a great way to keep yourself on track. Having a clear picture of success in mind may keep you motivated even when things go challenging.
Vague objectives virtually never pan out. Why? because you haven’t figured out what you want to accomplish or how to get there.
Suppose, for argument’s sake, that you intend to expand your business. Without a clear target in mind, it will be impossible to determine success. Do we consider a rise of only 1% in earnings to be growth? Why not 10%? What if they rise at the same rate as your costs?
In order to work, you need to set goals with measurable, concrete outcomes:
- Grow revenue by 30%
- Lose 20 pounds
- Write a 50,000 word novel
- Run 13.2 miles
If you want to achieve your goals, you need to put a number on them. Avoid vague terms like “a lot,” “many,” and “plenty” in favor of specific numerical values.
Instead of saying you want to sell “many” homes this month, try setting a goal like “20 homes sold in the first month,” if your ultimate objective is to become the top realtor in California.
When you have clear, quantifiable objectives, you can check in at any time to see how you’re doing in relation to your ultimate target.
You can take stock of your progress and recognize your successes while keeping an eye out for places where you may need to make changes. If you keep careful track of your accomplishments along the way, you’ll gain a tremendous boost of self-assurance that will spur you on to finish the task.
You can’t just follow your heart, no matter what anyone tells you. It doesn’t matter how hard you train or how good your jump shot is if you’re 35 and just 5′ 4″. Something like that could only happen in a Disney movie.
Targets need to be realistic if you want to succeed in reaching them. This doesn’t imply you can’t have lofty goals, either. It just indicates an awareness of and respect for practical constraints.
How probable is it that one will become a millionaire? Sure. When it comes to wealth, is it possible to surpass that of Amazon founder Jeff Bezos? not likely at all.
Orison Swett Marden said:
“All who have accomplished great things have had a great aim and have fixed their gaze on a goal which was high, one which sometimes seemed impossible“
The term “sometimes” is essential here. Setting goals that are too easy or too easy to achieve will not help you grow or change. But, they shouldn’t be utterly infeasible.
Thus, aim for the stars, but don’t be afraid to push yourself. Before setting out to accomplish anything, it’s important to sit down and really assess your time, money, energy, and attention to determine what’s genuinely achievable.
Look at your current skills and resources to see if you have enough to reach your goal. Attempting to achieve a goal that calls for more effort and resources than you have available is unrealistic and will almost certainly end in failure.
A worthwhile objective is one that you care about and that will improve your life in a meaningful way. It’s admirable to work towards a goal of being able to do 100 pushups without resting so that you can strengthen your back and keep up with your kids.
Not nearly as important as setting a goal of being able to perform 1,000 pushups without resting is bragging about it on Facebook.
Ask yourself why you want to accomplish anything before you create a goal. Can you honestly say that you want something badly enough to put up with the hardships associated with getting there?
Plan for the time, effort, money, and other resources you will need to accomplish your goals. The next step is to decide whether or not this objective is truly important to you and will lead to substantial changes in your life.
Setting a time limit on your goals is essential. There needs to be no ambiguity regarding when the target date is.
This is true for any objective, whether it’s a weekly sprint or an annual plan.
With a deadline in place, you can see how much time you have left to complete your task. Because of this, you’ll have a greater feeling of urgency, which will help you stay focused on the task at hand until it’s finished.
Take The Long View (Summary)
Having a long-term view increases your chances of achieving your goals. The ability to plan ahead and the willingness to wait are both essential. Just because you don’t see immediate progress doesn’t mean you should give up on your dreams. Don’t abandon them. Just try harder. Maintain hope.
Peter Drucker, an expert on management and productivity, once stated,
“We enormously overestimate what we can accomplish in one year. But our expectations for what can be achieved in five years are far too low.”
The ability to think strategically about your life over the course of five years is crucial. But if a month seems too long, you can always look over the whole year. Think of all you could do if you worked steadily towards your objectives, day in and day out, month after month after month.
Will it be easy? No. Will there be days you lack motivation? Yes. Will there be times you want to give up? Yep.
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