Goal setting is so powerful because it provides clarity, momentum and ability to focus in on the exact actions we need to perform to achieve what we desire in life.
An important benefit of setting goals isn’t just achieving your goal; it’s what you do and the person you become in order to achieve your goal that’s the real benefit in life. Confidence, life satisfaction and self-care are all by products of knowing and developing actionable goals.
Hundreds of experimental studies have been done, and they have all come to the same conclusion: that Goal Setting increases significantly the Success rate, in any area of life in which it is applied — this means — business, family, mental, physical, financial, spiritual, social etc. We need to set goals for all areas of life, otherwise, you may succeed in one, whilst all the other ones are out of balance.
Use the following six steps to begin a path towards setting and successfully achieving your goals.
To begin a course of action we need to understand where we are at and what our current level of satisfaction really is. An honest reflection will indicate the areas of opportunity in your life to make improvements. Are you happy with your career? Is your financial situation where you want to be? Is your home exactly how you would like it. Are your hobbies fulfilling. Have you learnt everything you hoped too? There is a risk of negative thought patterns creeping in here; be honest with a focus on opportunities your life presents.
2. Know your Why
To set goals that truly motivate you, you must understand why you want to achieve your goal. Without a clear understanding of your motivation, it’s hard to find the tenacity or drive needed to succeed. Take some time to interrogate your goal; why you want to achieve it, how it would make you feel, what doors it would open up, why it must happen now and why this is essential to your happiness. If it helps, play out the flipside: what will happen if you don’t achieve your goal.
Break your goals down into actionable Steps. The way we do that is by using the S.M.A.R.T. philosophy.
S.M.A.R.T. is an acronym that stands for:
Your goals must follow all of these components.
Make them visible – You may know what you want and where you are going. But it is extremely important to have a written plan for what you have set yourself to achieve, and how you plan to get to get there. It is even more important, to look at that plan often, because during your journey, I guarantee you, you will have many distractions and many shiny opportunities, that will take you off-course — if you don’t remember your destination.
Share them – Many people are afraid of sharing their goals in case they don’t achieve them. But sharing them will keep you accountable. Additionally, once you say something to someone else, out loud, you have made an unknowing commitment to make it happen. It has become bigger than you and now it’s on you to make it materialize.
You need to stop using a lack of time as an excuse and start making the time to pursue what you want. Schedule time each say in timeslots that work for you. By scheduling time to work on your goal, you know exactly when you’ll be working on it, instead of just leaving it up to chance.
Create time – This could include getting up an hour earlier, the hour after dinner, your commute to work, your lunchbreak, reduce time on an unproductive activity like social media scrolling.
Block Out the Time – If there’s a goal that you really want to achieve, then it’s worth blocking out the time in your day-to-day life that’s necessary to achieve it. Take out your schedule and identify when you’re going to work on your goal — for example, Monday at 10:00 a.m.
Protect Time – In his book Time Warrior, Steve Chandler uses the image of a swordsman in order to show his readers how to make time to do what is most important to them. He explains that you have to pull out your sword ahead of you and ruthlessly carve out the time that you need to create, exercise, learn new skills, and so on.
5. Plan for Life and Adjust
Life always changes and presents new challenges. It is important to adjust your course as needed but not loose site of your goals. Continued focus will keep your goals running on a parallel forward path with your day to day life.
6. Recognise & Reward
First it was digging deep and finding your why; then you got a handle on the different stages of change; you set specific, meaningful goals, you worked hard to achieve them — and the emotional work you’ve put in has probably even made you feel super uncomfortable at times.
Take your moment to recognise your effort and bask in a little self-satisfaction. Now you have reached the fun part: rewarding yourself. The essential ingredient in choosing a reward is something that feels, well, rewarding. It needs to resonate with you in a way that makes you feel great. Take the time to plan your reward in line with your goals.
The practice of goal-setting is not just helpful; it is a prerequisite for happiness. Psychologists tell us that people who make consistent progress toward meaningful goals live happier more satisfied lives than those who don’t. Few things in life pay such rich dividends for such a modest investment. Schedule time to work on your goals today.