Top Tips for Setting an Effective Goal
January – The month in which the most goals and resolutions are set.
February – The month in which the majority of those same goals and resolutions are failed and forgotten.
There is an art to setting effective goals; goals that you are more likely to really go for. There’s also an art to achieving them. Unfortunately it’s an art that few people ever master but wouldn’t it make a difference if more dreams could come true? Unlike fairy-tales, there’s no magic wand and no magic spells but what I can share with you are some of the best tools and strategies used by those who succeed.
In part one I’m going to share some top tips for setting a goal that you are more likely to achieve; a goal designed to increase your resolve to see it through to success.
Make it Big and Inspirational
Make sure your goal is really inspiring for you. If you don’t feel inspired you won’t feel compelled to do what it takes to achieve it. You just won’t do it. Aim to go for what you really want and put aside the limits that you and those around you usually place on what’s possible.
Why? Because, along the way, you’ll come across obstacles. Whatever your goal, you can expect to face challenges. You will need to expand your comfort zone and move into unfamiliar and sometimes uncomfortable territory. It’s at these times that the majority of people often give up.
However, if your goal is truly inspiring for you and if your ‘Why’ is big enough, then you may just have the determination to break through any challenge you come across.
Make it Specific and Measurable
You can’t hit a target if you don’t know what it is. You just won’t know what you need to do. If you want to change your weight, then by how much exactly? If you want more clients or more income, specify exactly how many or how much want.
Why? Because the strategy you use will be determined by the specific target. You wouldn’t use exactly the same strategy to increase your earnings by 10,000 as you would to increase them by 50,000. The detail matters.
Specific goals also enable you to measure and monitor your progress so you can see your progress and whether you’re on track. This way you can adjust your actions to make sure you reach your target.
A measurable goal is easier to break down into stages. Sometimes it’s easier to focus on the next stage rather than the bigger goal. Your confidence and motivation will grow as you reach and move past each stage.
If it’s to be it’s up to me
If your goal relies on other people or circumstances to make it reality, then there’s too much room for blaming others if you fail. We’ve all done it. We’ve all blamed our lack of action or our failures on others; on our families, our boss, the government, the economy, or the weather. But these are just excuses and justifications. When you’re writing your goal, write it with the intention to take 100% responsibility for making your goal happen.
Set a specific date for your goal
Whilst you can’t predict the future, it’s essential that you create a time frame for your goal. Setting specific dates for achieving goals is about telling your brain that you are serious. This will help to set the pace you work at and the strategies you use to get there. Failing to set a date means your goal is just some time in the future and this usually means never.
Write your goal down
A goal that just sits in your head remains just a thought and a dream. Writing it down makes it more tangible. When it’s written down your goal becomes something you can look at objectively, helping you to start planning what you need to do to achieve it.
Focus on the positive in your goal
In life we all get what we focus on. Your brain doesn’t hear the words, stop or start, do or don’t. It just hears the activity or the object. For example, if I say “Don’t think of a blue elephant” what happens? You think of a blue elephant. If you say you want to lose weight your brain has to think of weight and what that looks and feels like before it can think of losing weight. The focus is on weight. Instead, write down your ideal weight because that’s what your brain will then focus on. Your written goal must say what you do want rather than what you don’t want.
Write your goal as though it has already happened
Instead of saying “I will” or “I want” or “I’m going to” write “I have” or “I am”. For example “I have reached my ideal weight of Xkg” or “I’m feeling fantastic after completing the London Marathon”. When you do this your brain believes you and it immediately starts to work on what needs to be done to bring this about.
Express the emotion
We are all driven by emotion. Nobody wants to achieve something just for the sake of it. We want it because of how it will make us feel. Include the feelings in your written goal because these are what you really want and it’s these emotions that make your goal more powerful and more important to you.
Apply these rules when you set your own goals and you’ll have the kind of goal you need to succeed. But of course this is just the start. Once you have a clear goal you have to take action to make it a reality. In part two, I’ll share some top strategies for increasing your chances of success.
Here’s to your success in 2010