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How to Set and Achieve Your Goals
By Jonathan Gee
The subject of setting and achieving goals is one that has been discussed long and hard by many an expert and author, over many years. I certainly do not intend to try and emulate any of them in this article. Rather, I simply want to give you my thoughts and ideas, gleaned from many years experience in a training environment. Ideas which are applicable to ordinary folks like you and me.
So where on earth do you start? Start by asking yourself the question, "What do I want to achieve?" What is it that I really want? Understand that when you carry out this exercise you must suspend your negative mind. Don't start to analyze each idea as you think of it. Definitely don't think that you can't achieve what you have written down. This is just a brainstorming session to get your ideas flowing. Write down big, long-term ideas, as well as small and short-term goals. For example, I would describe 'tidy the house' as a small and short-term goal. Whereas, 'be promoted to CEO of my company', as a big goal and a long term one, particularly if you have only just joined the company.
At this point it is important to put together a plan of your goals. Make separate lists of your long term goals, and your short term goals. It is generally accepted that a long term goal is one that will take more than 90 days to achieve. However, they are your goals, so you can set whatever time limit on them that you like, but make sure the limit you do set is reasonable and realistic (more on this later).
Write Your Goals Down
Next write your goals down. There is something quite magical in doing this. The very act of writing a goal down somehow sends a message to your subconscious that you mean business. Write in minute detail. Describe what you want to achieve or have in colorful language. Include everything you can think of to do with a particular goal.
Let me give you an example of one of the first goals I achieved several years ago. My goal was to quit smoking! These are the exact words I used.
"At midnight on December 31st 1989, I will give up smoking. I will become a non-smoker. I will be glad to give up because it is a disgusting, poisonous, filthy, smelly, unhealthy, unsociable, selfish, dangerous and expensive habit. It will cease to be part of my life."
I wrote those words late September 1989, and told as many people as I could that I was giving up at the end of the year. I read them everyday until December 31st when I gave up. Do you know what is so incredibly powerful about this? I haven't smoked since, and I used to get through a pack a day.
So that you can gain maximum benefit from this exercise, I am going to share with you a word that I came across many years ago. To assist you in setting your goals I give you the word - Smart.
Make your goals SMART. What do I mean? Your Goals should be:
- Specific - using the above goal as an example, I wrote 'I will give up smoking' Now that is pretty specific!
- Measurable - from 20 cigarettes a day to none.
- Achievable - I knew it wasn't going to be easy, but deep down inside I knew I could do it.
- realistic - I gave myself 90 days. It wouldn't have been realistic for me to try and quit the next day. My brain would not have had time to come to terms with the concept. (Incidentally, it's a mistake a lot of people make when trying to give up smoking. They try to quit immediately, and get frustrated when their plan doesn't work.) As with all soundly based goals, you have to be realistic and give yourself sensible targets.
- And finally, Timebound - this is so important. You have to set yourself a time limit on every goal you want to achieve. I gave myself 3 months to quit. I even wrote down the day and time, so that I had an absolute deadline. It worked I can tell you, and setting goals has continued to work in every area of my life. "Goals without time limits are only wishes."
So now you have the tools you need, to set and achieve whatever you want for your life. As we head toward a New Year plan what you want to achieve in 2004.
Brainstorm your ideas. Make your plan of short term and long term goals. Write them down. Refer to them everyday. Make them Smart.
Until next time, make every day a success.
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