Are you a conscious goal setter?
So as 2016 draws to a close, now is the time to ‘press the pause button’ and think and reflect on what you would like to achieve in different areas of your life in 2017.
Write down your goals
Brian Tracey, a leader in the field of motivation, says that ‘people with clear, written goals, accomplish far more, in a shorter period of time, than people without them could ever imagine.’ And research backs him up. Studies consistently show that having clear, written goals, makes a significant difference in creating success, and the biographies of high achievers throughout history bear this out. First, what is the definition of a goal?
“A goal is the ongoing pursuit of a worthy objective until accomplished.”
Consider the individual words that make up this sentence. ‘Ongoing’ means it’s a process, because goals take time. ‘Pursuit’ indicates a chase may be involved. There will likely be some obstacles and hurdles to overcome. ‘Worthy’ shows that the chase will be worthwhile, that there’s a big enough reward at the end to ensure the tough times. ‘Until accomplished’ suggests you’ll do whatever it takes to get the job done. This is not always easy, but essential if you want to achieve your goal.
Why this is important?
It’s easy to start the New Year full of enthusiasm and optimism; the challenge is to maintain your momentum throughout the year. On average, the human mind has thousands of thoughts each day so, inevitably, it becomes difficult for us to focus on one particular task. In fact, we can only consciously hold seven bits of information, plus or minus two at any one time. So, it follows that if we write down our goals, then we can focus our mind on what we need to do to achieve them.
The seven steps to effective goal setting
- Goals – what do you want to achieve?
- Be specific – what, when, how?
- Obstacles – what are they?
- Resources – information, people, personal qualities?
- Action plan – what are the steps?
- Benefits – why are these goals important to you?
- Focus – how do you make it happen?
1) Goals – what do you want to achieve?
How satisfied are you with your life at the moment? We tend to get used to what we have. We keep doing the same old things that we have always done. However do you ever have a nagging feeling that you deserve more?
After decades of research into how the human brain works, scientists now know that for our brains to figure out how to get what we want, we must first decide what it is we want. To help with this, take a look at the following seven key areas that create a balanced life:
- Leisure and fun
- Personal growth
Now, for each area, write down at least one or two long-term goals. To help with this, ask yourself the following:
- What do you want to achieve?
- What do you want to look back on?
- What is truly important to you?
- Write down everything, don’t censor yourself just get it all down on paper.
2) Be specific
Now you’ve got the list of goals, you need to make sure you give each one a timeframe for achievement. At this stage, it’s not necessary to know how you’re going to achieve the goals, but it is important to set a deadline.
The next step is to breakdown the ‘big’ goals into long, medium and short-term, achievable, timeframes and work out what actions you need to take to achieve your ambitions.
- Long term goals – 10 years
- Medium term goals – 5 years
- Short term goals – 2 years
- Next 12 months
Take each of the above and break down the steps you need to take. For example, where will you be and what do you need to accomplish over the next 12 months to achieve your goal(s) in 2017.
3) Obstacles – what are they?
Every goal we pursue will have consequences for ourselves and other people. Right from the start, we need to take this into account. You need to consider the following questions:
- What are the consequences for other people?
- What is the cost in time, money and opportunity?
- What might you need to give up?
- How will the balance between the different aspects of your life be affected when you achieve this outcome?
- What is important that you might need to leave behind?
- What skills do you need to learn?
4) Resources – what do you need?
What resources will you need on your journey:
- Time – do you have enough time to dedicate to the achievement of your goal? If not, think about how can you create it?
- Role models – do you know anyone who has already succeeded in obtaining a similar goal to yours? What can you learn from them?
- Personal qualities – what skills and capabilities do you have or need to develop to achieve your outcome?
- The Internet, books, DVDs
- People – family, friends, colleagues and other contacts you have
5) Action plan – what are the steps?
Be proactive. To reach your goal, you must take action; no one else is going to do it for you. To help with this, ask yourself:
- Is this goal under my control?
- What can you offer others that will also make them want to help you?
- What small step can you take in the next 24 hours to move forward?
- What are the small steps you can take each day for the next seven days to move towards your goal?
- What are the steps you need to achieve each month for the next 12 months to achieve your one-year goal?
6) Benefits – why are these goals important to you?
There are times when you are going to be truly tested about the importance of pursuing your goals. For example:
- You want to enjoy a social event with friends or family, however you have a business goal deadline to meet, so you have to decline
- You will need to put in the hours, work hard and give up personal free time
- People don’t agree with what you are trying to achieve
- You feel like you’re taking one step forward and two steps back
It’s at such times you need to remind yourself of why you are doing this. What are the benefits? If your why is important enough, it will enable you to stay focused and to continue towards your goals.
7) Focus – how to make it happen?
You can’t just forget about your goals. You must go through them for a few minutes in the morning as well as the evening.
- Reviewing your goals in the morning helps you remain focused throughout the day.
- Reviewing your goals at night, before you go to sleep, helps you analyse your progress and activates the subconscious mind to work on your plan whilst you sleep.
Some suggestions to help keep you focused
When we focus our imagination on something, we start creating it in our mind. To help achieve your goals here are some suggestions to help you stay focused.
- Create a vision board
- Stick post-it notes on your computer, fridge and mirror
- Be accountable – have a ‘buddy’ and contact each other once a week to report progress
- Review your progress once a month. Remember, you can always change the goal or the timeframe
- Visualise yourself achieving your goal – think about the difference it will make to your life.
- Create affirmations
If you, or members of your team, struggle to identify clear goals, then it might be that our Shape your Future one-day workshop could help. If you think you would benefit from coaching in vision and goal setting to achieve your business and personal goals in 2017 and beyond, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 01252 792811 to find out more or see our upcoming dates.