Updated: Aug 2, 2019
Have any summer goals?
Without goals, we often lack focus and direction. Goal setting provides a benchmark for determining whether we are actually succeeding. But to accomplish our goals, we need to know how to set them. We can't simply say, "I want" and expect it to happen. It starts with defining what we really want to achieve and taking the steps and hard work needed in order to get there.
1. Set Goals That Motivate You
When you set goals for yourself, it is important that they motivate you: this means making sure that they are important to you, and that there is value in achieving them. To make sure that your goal is motivating, write down why it's valuable and important to you.
Ask yourself, "If I were to share my goal with others, what would I tell them to convince them it was a worthwhile goal?" You can use this motivating value statement to help you if you start to doubt yourself or lose confidence in your ability to actually make the goal happen.
2. Set SMART Goals
You have probably heard of SMART goals already. But do you always apply the rule? The simple fact is that for goals to be powerful, they should be designed to be SMART. This means your goals should be:
3. Set Goals in Writing
The physical act of writing down a goal makes it real and tangible. You have no excuse for forgetting about it. As you write, use the word "will" instead of "would like to" or "might." For example, "I will reduce my operating expenses by 10% this year," not "I would like to reduce my operating expenses by 10% this year." The first goal statement has power and you can "see" yourself reducing expenses, the second lacks passion and gives you an excuse if you get sidetracked.
4. Make an Action Plan
This step is often missed in the process of goal setting. You get so focused on the outcome that you forget to plan all of the steps that are needed along the way. By writing out the individual steps, and then crossing each one off as you complete it, you'll realize that you are making progress towards your ultimate goal. This is especially important if your goal is big and demanding, or long-term. Read our article on Action Plans for more on how to do this.
5. Stick With It!
Remember, goal setting is an ongoing activity, not just a means to an end. Build in reminders to keep yourself on track, and make regular time-slots available to review your goals. Your end destination may remain quite similar over the long term, but the action plan you set for yourself along the way can change significantly. Make sure the relevance, value, and necessity remain high.
Don't give up! Keep on keeping on and you'll start seeing results that will help you achieve your end goal!
Post adapted from: Golden Rules of Goal Setting