Goal Setting 101
If you have read more than one of my articles, I'm sure you may have come away with the notion that I am big on goal setting. You would be correct in this assumption. I have done a number of presentations on this subject. During these presentations I have noticed that there are two overriding views on goal setting. The first, is of those that are either new to goal setting, or yet haven't tried it. I have their full attention in the presentation when I get to setting and achieving your goals. The second overriding view is of those that tell themselves "Goal setting hah! I've tried that and it didn't work for me..." In discussions with these folks I have found that the majority of them agree on the positive impacts that goal setting has. Most of them have even gone so far as list out their major goals, however that is where they stopped.
To be a goal setter, and more importantly a goal achiever, you not only have to have a written set of goals for you life (business and/or personal), but, you also have to have a written plan of action towards their achievement. In a recent Success Atlas article I noted that I have an article on goal setting. The many requests I received for that article has prompted this more in-depth look at goal setting and achievement. In other words, you asked for it you got it, Goal setting 101.
The goal setting process really starts with a self-evaluation of sorts. Sitting down and asking questions like, "What do I really want out of life?" "What do I want to accomplish, become, have be or do?" Open your mind and your heart. Sit down and fill out a desire journal. Fill it with all the dreams, aspirations and desires that lie in the recesses of who you are and who you want to become. Don't hold back, write everything down! Dream like a child the evening before his/her birthday or the evening before Christmas. Dream like anything and everything is possible. Because unless it is legal, immoral, or unethical, I would highly encourage you to believe that it is possible.
Decide what it is you want in each area of your life: Personal, Family, Professional, Financial, Physical and Mental. Don't be vague either, if what you want is money (financial) then define how much you want and by when. Specifics are necessary for you to have a plan. Being clear in what it is you want will cause about 80% of your success. You can not plan for the goal "I want more money." You can, however, plan for the goal "I want to earn $250,000.00 annually by the end of 2003. The more specific your goals are the easier they are to build a plan for. If as your reading this you are thinking "I do not know what I want to be, do or have." Then set a goal to find out.
Write down your goals. Don't type them (not at first anyway) sit down and print them out, clearly, specifically and in measurable terms. This moves them from a desire, wish or intangible dream to an item on paper. Something you can see, touch, and relate to.
Okay now you know what you want 'next you will need to identify what skills and knowledge you will require in order to accomplish your goal. Ask yourself what knowledge you need to gain in order to speed-up the successful accomplishment of you goal. Ask yourself what skill(s) you need to make the greatest positive impact on getting to your goal. There is always at least one skill or key piece of knowledge that is holding you back 'otherwise you would already have accomplished the goal. Identify what it is and go out there and get it! If you are not able to figure it out for yourself then ask your spouse, your friends, your boss, a mentor, or any other person that you believe would know.
There are some things that you can do alone, however to achieve significant goals in your life you will need help. List all the people, groups and organizations that you will need to interact with to reach your goal. Write them all down then prioritize them. As you are going through this process consider the ways you can be of assistance to them. Everyone's favorite radio station is WIIFM 'What's in it for me? So knowing in advance what you can do to assist them will payoff in faster results on getting their assistance in your goal achievement. Think through some win-win negotiations. Remember the more you give the more you get. As Zig Ziglar reminds us "You can have everything you want if you just help enough others get what they want." As well as those that can help you, I would also suggest listing out those that could hinder your progress as well. Forewarned is forearmed.
Obstacles 'we have all encountered them, and we will continue to encounter them during our attempt to reach any goal of worth. If there were no obstacles along the way everyone would have already accomplished all of their goals 'you included. List all the obstacles, barriers and impediments to your goal. Why are you not at your goal already? Write down each and every answer to that question. This will allow you to find the bottleneck to your success. Once you are aware of what is holding you back, apply all your resources (which you listed out already) towards the removing or overcoming of this blockage. More often than not, the removal of a single primary blockage will uproot and resolve many other smaller barriers to your goal. This can help you make quantum leaps towards reaching that goal.
Now that you have this valuable collection of information you need to map out a plan to utilize it and accomplish your goal. Successful business men do not set out on a course of action without a plan, you wouldn't go on vacation without some planning and most do not even get married with out hours and hours (one hundred or more at times) of planning. These days far too many spend one hundred hours, or more, planning the wedding. Yet, they spend no time at all planning their marriage or their life. You can change that in your life. Lay out the key points you have put together thus far and develop a plan of attack. This plan can start with the steps to gain the knowledge and skills you need to gain. Steps to get you in contact with the people and organizations you need to help you along your road to success. Lay out all the steps you know you need to take to reach your goal. Organize then by priority, then sequence them. As you go through this process you will be motivated to take actions against the first step on your plan. Completing the first step will further motivate you to take action on the next step and so on.
Now that you have a plan you need to set a deadline. A goal is a dream with an achieve-by date. Setting a deadline develops and intensifies your desire to attain your goals. Don't scare yourself with large goals or underestimate how long it will take to accomplish them. Instead break down large goals into small milestones with deadlines. These milestones will act like a forcing system for you unconscious mind. They will motivate and drive you towards your goal. Having deadlines for your goals will keep them on your mind. Making you more conscious to the situations and people in your life that can aid you on your road to success. Set your deadlines as realistically as possible. Do not over or under estimate them be honest with yourself. You could always reset deadlines. The key point I want to drive home here is that you MUST have a deadline to shoot for.
You have the plan 'now what? As I mentioned early in this article most people agree on the positive impacts that goal setting have. Most of them have even gone so far as listing out their major goals, however that is where they stopped. Here is where you are going to act differently and succeed in your goal achievement. The key word here is ACT. Take action on your plan! Do not procrastinate! The clock is ticking and your deadline is inching closer with each passing second. Do something each and everyday towards the accomplishment of your goals. Work with all your gusto on the first step of your plan until it is either completed or until you can make no further progress on it. Then move to the next step, coming back to those incomplete previous steps as soon as you can move them forward to their completion. Keep moving, keep working and keep taking your action steps every day, do not stop. Anyone that has ever had to push a car will tell you the hardest part is getting it moving. Once your moving it will still take effort, but it takes far less effort than if you stop pushing and have to start moving all over again. Taking consistent daily action will not only move you quickly towards your goal but it will reinforce in your subconscious mind that you can and will attain your goal. Giving you a positive attitude towards it.
Two additional things you can do you that will steel your resolve to accomplish your goals are to visualize your goal and resolve to never give up. Visualize your goal continually or as often as possible during every waking moment. Your subconscious mind does not differentiate between your visualization and reality. So visualize your goal as already attained. View it in you mind's eye with every detail possible. Feel the pride, joy and fulfillment that will come with reaching a significant goal. Visualization will also make you aware of those situations and resources in your life that you will need to reach your goal. Finally resolve to never give up in your quest to reach your goal. Attack it with a dogged determination. Let the words of the Capcom commander in Apollo 13 ring in your ears; "Failure is not an option!" When you encounter barriers and obstacles do not ask yourself what will happen if or when I fail. Instead think positive, then develop a plan action. Ask yourself "How can I get over, around or though this barrier and reach my goal!"
Everyone has goals, I have them you have them even a child has goals. These goals can be keeping your job, getting a promotion, and the child has a goal of passing a test, getting that much desired toy they saw on television or showing mommy and daddy how much they are loved. The difference between these goals and the goals of the top achievers is focus. Peak achievers go through processes similar to the one I have laid out here to focus their actions on what they want to be, have or do. They design their goals with a mission and this mission is success. Follow this process and you too can rise to the levels of those you have watched in awe.
Think Successfully & Take Action. Tracy
(C) Tracy Brinkmann 2000-2005 all rights reserved