Goal setting is an incredibly important task but is not widely used. Goal setting is incredibly effective and can provide clarity and focus not only for the future, but also for the present. The process provides structure and direction when working towards a stated purpose. Goal setting also provides motivation and can help you organize your time and resources so that you can make the most of your efforts. I recently read this statement on a blog and thought it reflected the true essence of goal setting: “Set goals that yield a positive effect on your life whenever you think about them, long before the final outcome is actually achieved. Treat goal-setting as a way to enhance your present reality, not as a way to control the future.”
Here are six steps that have helped me not only identify and set my goals, but also accomplish my goals! There is nothing better then setting a goal, having perseverance to stay on track and finally accomplishing it. Okay, here are my six steps:
- Identify what your values are. This is important because you need to make sure your goal is in line with your values. Identify your core priorities and make sure your goal doesn’t detract from your overall values. Instead, your goal should support your values and work in harmony with them.
- Identify what it is that your really want. Be very specific; don’t leave any room for questioning later down the road. By knowing precisely what you want to achieve, you know where you have to concentrate your efforts. Once you identify what it is that you really want (this can be a challenge within itself), then set your goal.
- Write your goal down and share it with a loved one. Make your goal visible so that you can have daily reminders to stay focused. This is very helpful because when you don’t write a goal down, it tends to become obtuse. The goal suddenly shifts depending on your circumstances at the time, gets pushed to the side if it is inconvenient and can change from its original purpose. If your goal is written down and shared with someone then you can be held accountable for your goal. Your goal now becomes real and not just an idea that never comes to fruition.
- Be precise when setting your goal. Give your goal a deadline and give your goal dates, amounts, times, etc. so that you can measure your progress.
- Identify how you are going to accomplish your goal. This is important. Anyone can set a goal but not everyone can accomplish a goal. You must identify how you are going to reach your goal. Are you not drinking alcohol for the next 30 days? Then write out how you will stay on track for those 30 days (don’t go to certain restaurants where it is tempting to drink, prepare a polite reply to decline alcohol when it is offered, etc.) Anticipate any roadblocks that may come along and find ways to overcome those roadblocks.
- Build a support group. It is crucial to have support when you are trying to achieve something that takes perseverance, dedication and determination. Your support group should be made up of people who have your best interest at heart. They can help motivate you and provide encouragement along your journey to success. They also provide needed accountability. Identify those who detract from your stated goal and try to eliminate their influence as much as possible.
These six steps have helped me set attainable goals and will hopefully get you started on your own journey to goal setting. Here are a few resources that have been helpful when setting goals:
- http://www.lululemon.com/education/goalsetting – LuluLemon has a great blog on goal setting and even has a goal setting sheet that you can download. Check out their site and related blog posts.
- http://www.goalforit.com/goal-setting.html – This site has you set a goal, create an action plan and allows you to invite friends to monitor your progress.
If you have other techniques that have helped you set goals, stay motivated to accomplish your goals and/or have any success stories then please share them in the comments section.
Happy goal setting!