By Neal Chambers
Do you have goals for studying? Do you know what you want to do in the next few months? What do you want to accomplish?
Short term goals can be really helpful because they help you stay focused and motivated. However, it can be really hard to keep to your goals sometimes. Today, I’m going to go over a few simple tips on how to keep your short term goals.
21 Days to Set a Goal
Research shows that it only takes 21 days to set a goal. That’s it! If you can keep with a new habit for 21 days, then you’ll have no problems keeping it.
So, tell your mind that you are only going to do your new study habit for 21 days. After the first 21 days, it will be easy for you to keep the habit.
Make Sure you can Measure it
It is important to set a goal that you can measure. This is important because you will know when you have accomplished your goal. This will also help you see your progress.
A good example of a goal that can be measured is to study 400 new words a month. You can measure it because you can check how many words you know at the end of the month. An example of a bad goal to set is to become more fluent. What is ‘fluent’? Many people will have different opinions on what fluent is, so you can not measure it.
Don’t Go Too Fast at First
When you first set a new goal, it is very easy to get very excited about it and start studying right away. Some people will start a new studying habit and overwork themselves on the first day. It’s important to start small and slowly add more and more to your studying.
For example, if your goal is to learn 400 new words every month. You can start by learning 100 new words every month, then 200, then finally 400 new words. This way you can gradually adjust to the new study schedule.
Get a Trigger
A good way to start a new habit is to have a trigger. What is a trigger? A trigger can be a habit that you are already doing. If you schedule a new habit right after the old habit it will be easier to follow. For example, if you always wake up and check your email in the morning, you can go through some vocabulary cards right after that. If you do that it’ll be easier to stick with the habit.
Or better yet, you could schedule the new habit to ‘block’ another habit. For example, put your study book next to the TV remote, so before you watch TV, you have to study.
“Our plans miscarry because they have no aim. When a man does not know what harbor he is making for, no wind is the right wind.”
Having goals is important because they map out a direction in your life, they challenge you to grow and over time they can help you achieve things that you at one point may have seen as just impossible. Setting personal goals is important because if you don’t then you’ll probably spend a lot of time working to fulfil the goals of others.
Here are a few problems I’ve run into and mistakes that I’ve made while setting goals.
1. Not writing your goals down.
If you don’t write you goals down you will have a hard time to keep them in mind. It will be unnecessarily difficult keep your focus on what you want instead of all the random things that show up in your day to day life.
If you write them down then it will be easier to remember. It will also often be easier to describe and develop the goals and to find more goals if you use writing rather than just your mind. Writing you goals down can bring clarity to what you actually want.
2. Not having a system for remembering them.
Writing your goals down is a good start. But to keep them in mind beyond the first few days after set them you need a system. Otherwise it’s likely that you’ll veer off course and forget about your goals for days or weeks. And then you’ll have start over.
One way to remember your goals each day is to use external reminders. You can, for instance, write your goals on a piece of paper and put it where you can’t avoid seeing it. Examples of such places are your bathroom mirror, fridge or computer. You can read more about this in How to Keep Yourself on Track: Using External Reminders .
3. Not reviewing and rewriting your goals often enough.
This one is more about your journey towards a goal than setting the goal. But it’s closely related to the previous mistake so I’ve decided to include it.
Short written reminders are great for remembering your goals. But from time to time you’ll also need to review your goals and see where you stand. And then you may need to adjust your goals depending on what has happened and what you have learned so far. Reviewing your goals regularly can also give you a helpful dose of motivation when you feel that you are having hard time staying on track.
How often should you review and rewrite you list of goals? Well, I guess there are a lot of different answers for that question.
But the more you do it the sharper and more refined your focus and goals are likely to be. An experienced self-improvement speaker like Brian Tracy often suggests that you go so far as to review and rewrite your goals every morning.
If there is nothing to adjust, write it down anyway. Writing it down will make a bigger impression on your mind than just thinking about it. And each time you do that the importance of your goal will be reinforced in your mind. To actually remember to do this, use an external reminder like for instance a calendar.
4. Setting goals you don’t really feel for/are interested in.
What are your goals? This is crucial. As much as possible, you have to set the goals for yourself.
Should and ought to-goals isn’t good enough. Or goals that other’s have set for you. Or other people’s goals.
Think about your goals. Think about who has set them. Then think about what you really want in life. Then set your own goals.
It has to be your goals and you have to have a real interest in them to increase your chances to achieve them. Plus, when it’s your own goals instead of ones imposed upon you the journey towards them becomes a whole lot more enjoyable. And so, everyday life – the bulk of your life – becomes more enjoyable.
5. Not setting clear goals.
Make the goals specific, measurable and think about them in present tense.
Don’t go for more visitors for your website or just for running more. Go for a thousand visitors a day or running for 20 minutes three times a week. The more detailed picture you have of where you want to go, the more likely you are to actually get there.
If you don’t make your goals measurable then how will you know when you have achieved them? You will never be done with the goal of “making more money”. But you’ll know when you have achieved a goal of “earning 5000 dollars a month”.
The goals you think about and write down have to be in present tense too. Not: I will run for 20 minutes three times a week. You have to write: I run for 20 minutes three times a week.
Why? Well, your subconscious mind needs clear direction of what is to be achieved. If you put your goal in an “I will…” form you mind will always strive to bring the goal of running into your life sometime in the future. It will always be out of reach. To actually bring the goal into your life, into the present moment, you have to write it down in present tense.
6. Not setting deadlines.
Setting deadlines for yourself can be useful to actually finish something. If you don’t you’ll probably spend a lot of time procrastinating and getting things almost done.
When setting deadlines it’s helpful to give yourself some wiggle room. If you’re doing a project at work or in school set a deadline with a bit of margin. If something goes wrong, which it often does, or something unexpected comes up you’ll still have time to get it done.
Plus, we often have problems estimating how much time a task or project needs. So don’t let your initial enthusiasm do all the thinking. Setting totally unrealistic deadlines won’t save you time. You’ll just be forced to go back after you’ve passed the deadline to fix all those mistakes you made while hurrying and being stressed out.
7. Not making a plan.
For some goals you just need to write a 1000 words a day or run for 20 minutes a day. But even then you probably need a small plan to find free time in your schedule. For other goals you need a more elaborate plan. In those cases I think that it’s good to do a bit of research and educate yourself before making the plan.
Just a bit of research can help you solve or avoid problems along the way. Do some googling. Ask someone who has been where you want to go where they ran into difficulties and what tips they can share. Educating yourself can help you save time, money and energy. And help you avoid anxiety and frustration.
When you are writing your plan make it practical and specific. And write down actions you can start taking today to get going on your journey towards that goal. It’s useful to always write down small, practical steps you can take so you know what to do next.
But don’t plan so much that you never get started. There is no perfect plan. Things will probably not go as planned. Unexpected things will happen and you will have to adjust your plan to keep yourself on course. Adjusting your plan once in while can also allow you to find a better, easier and more enjoyable path to where you’re going.
8. Not reviewing previous failures.
Failures can be useful to learn something about yourself and the world. If you review your failures you can get a hang of where your weaknesses lie. Where you are likely to run into problems?
If you identify such weak points in yourself you can be prepared for when they may strike and lessen the blow. Or you can start looking for solutions to avoid at least some of the trouble spots along the way towards your goal.
An example: you realize that a few days after setting goals you often seem to forget about them. One solution could then be to learn to use external reminders to keep your mind on track.
9. Not keeping your focus in the right place.
Sometimes it can better to focus on the process rather than an outcome in the form of a distant, future goal. Instead of setting a goal that you will lose 10 pounds by December 31 and making intricate plans to get there you can set a goal to do 20 minutes of anaerobic exercise each day (walking, swimming, running etc.).
And then just do it . Don’t think, just go, go out and do your exercise.
Sometimes can be useful to set a very simple goal where you focus on the present rather than some distant goal. If you exercise every day there will be less room for your mind to find great excuses to slack off and procrastinate until December 21.
And if you have a goal where you can just go and do it, where there is little to think about you’re less likely to be drawn into the trap of over-thinking. As soon as you start to over-think things there’s a big chance that you will start to hold yourself back in different ways.
Watch this video of lululemon founder, Chip Wilson, explaining how he uses goal setting to realize his vision for his life.
High Performance Goal Setting Advice for Anyone Looking to Achieve a Goal.
by Alex Work
Everyone says that the best way to achieve a goal is to lay out the SMART principles. If only setting goals were only so simple! As with any process, there are nuances and techniques to making it work better.
Here is what the SMART fundamentals don’t address about whenever you want to achieve a goal–
To Achieve a Goal, You Must Be Prepared For Failure.
No matter how well we lay our plans, no matter how carefully we consider our goals, inevitably something will happen that will make us doubt ourselves. It could be a part of our plan flunking, it could be the unexpected resistance of the competition, or maybe you just weren’t realistic enough with the time given to achieve a goal.
Whatever the case may be, failures, setbacks and roadblocks should be anticipated before you even take that first step to achieve a goal. The fact is that life isn’t perfect, and no matter how awesome our intentions and how well we plan, things will inevitably go awry. The key here is what are you going to do when that happens? Are you going to throw your goal plan away and shelf that goal? Or are you going to adapt and adjust?
Whenever You Want to Achieve a Goal, Make it Bigger than Yourself.
Selfish goals are okay. I am by no means disputing them. But you can make your goals more powerful (and that much more likely to be accomplished) by making them larger than just yourself.
Here’s an example: If you wanted to lose weight, you could start a blog detailing your journey. Not only would it make you more accountable to yourself, but your journey becoming public can give others inspiration to do the same.
If to achieve a goal would mean to become a certain vocation, such as a lawyer, what part of that job would allow you to give back to others? List the motivations you have for wanting to achieve a goal, and make sure you put in a couple reasons that are bigger than yourself.
Build the Support System Around You.
Many people neglect this aspect of goal setting. It is easy to overlook—after all, the people we are surrounded by have probably been there for as long as we remember. It is easy to overlook thinking whether or not they are beneficial to our long-term success.
Perform a realistic evaluation of the people around you—are they supporting your goals and dreams? Or are they making it more difficult for you to achieve a goal? We all have enablers, naysayers and pessimists in our lives. We like to think that we are strong enough to deflect their negativity, but it is very, very difficult to do this on a daily basis and not be infected by those little seeds of doubt.
It is exponentially more easy to achieve a goal when you surround yourself with tough, unconditional love and those who want to see you succeed.
To Achieve a Goal, Your Plans Cannot Wait for Tomorrow.
We are conditioned for the path of least resistance. We want things easy and clean. The reality is, the goal setting process can often be neither of these things. This is one of the reasons we often put it off until tomorrow or even worse, “someday.”
When you are writing out your goals, make the first step of that goal plan something you must do today. This is absolutely imperative. Don’t give yourself the leash to start tomorrow, because you will give yourself the same old excuses then. “Oh, I’ll start tomorrow when I feel more up to it.” B.S.! Start today, and even better, start right now!
One of the most important aspects of resume writing is the inclusion of effective career objectives. A career objective is what you hope to achieve at the corporation that you are applying for work. The best way to illustrate your career objectives is within a career objective statement near the top of your resume. This statement should consist of a single paragraph that not only includes what you hope to achieve but what you have already achieved in your career thus far.
The most important thing to remember about your career objective statement is that by placing it at the top of your resume, it is the first thing that the reader will see and if it is not done properly it is likely to be the last. As you are probably aware when a position is advertised, far more resumes will be received than are actually read and never has this been more true than now, thanks to the current financial climate. Therefore if you even want your resume to be read in full, never mind wanting to actually land the job, you need to show your suitability for the position as fast as possible. This is the purpose of your career objective statement.
There are many different suggestions online for writing an effective career objective statement but the primary piece of advice that I can give you is that you need to offer a career objective that mirrors what the employer hopes the successful candidate would achieve at the company. Of course, you cannot know exactly what your potential employer is thinking but by putting a little thought into it you should be able to figure out what the right candidate could bring to a corporation within a particular position. This should be your career objective. Below are a few examples.
For The I.T Professional
I am seeking a position as an entry position as a software developer where I can work in a challenging environment and gain experience in working as part of a team to research and develop new software products.
For The B.P.O Sector
I am seeking a customer service position where I can expand on my experience in this field and utilize said experience to increase both customer satisfaction and the companies overall reputation.
For The Project ManagerI am interested in a project management position where I can increase my leadership abilities through regularly encountering and solving problems, managing budgets and meeting targets.
For Basic Computing Job
I am wishing to obtain an entry level position in an office environment where I can utilize my pre-existing skills in computing, database management and business intelligence and gain experience of working as part of a team.
For The H.R.M
I am hoping to acquire a challenging human resources management position where I make use of my extensive experience in the field to handle staff recruitment and promote employee relations to increase the overall effectiveness of your company’s workforce.
As you can see drafting career objectives is not exactly rocket science, however you would be surprised by how many people get them wrong. They are the first impression that your employer gets of you and failing to provide a flawless career objective statement is in many ways akin to arriving at your interview late.
Specific: A specific goal has a much greater chance of being accomplished than a general goal. To set a specific goal you must answer the six “W” questions:
*Who: Who is involved?
*What: What do I want to accomplish?
*Where: Identify a location.
*When: Establish a time frame.
*Which: Identify requirements and constraints.
*Why: Specific reasons, purpose or benefits of accomplishing the goal.
EXAMPLE: A general goal would be, “Get in shape.” But a specific goal would say, “Join a health club and workout 3 days a week.”
Measurable – Establish concrete criteria for measuring progress toward the attainment of each goal you set.
When you measure your progress, you stay on track, reach your target dates, and experience the exhilaration of achievement that spurs you on to continued effort required to reach your goal.
To determine if your goal is measurable, ask questions such as……
How much? How many?
How will I know when it is accomplished?
Attainable – When you identify goals that are most important to you, you begin to figure out ways you can make them come true. You develop the attitudes, abilities, skills, and financial capacity to reach them. You begin seeing previously overlooked opportunities to bring yourself closer to the achievement of your goals.
You can attain most any goal you set when you plan your steps wisely and establish a time frame that allows you to carry out those steps. Goals that may have seemed far away and out of reach eventually move closer and become attainable, not because your goals shrink, but because you grow and expand to match them. When you list your goals you build your self-image. You see yourself as worthy of these goals, and develop the traits and personality that allow you to possess them.
Realistic– To be realistic, a goal must represent an objective toward which you are both willing and able to work. A goal can be both high and realistic; you are the only one who can decide just how high your goal should be. But be sure that every goal represents substantial progress.
A high goal is frequently easier to reach than a low one because a low goal exerts low motivational force. Some of the hardest jobs you ever accomplished actually seem easy simply because they were a labor of love.
Timely – A goal should be grounded within a time frame. With no time frame tied to it there’s no sense of urgency. If you want to lose 10 lbs, when do you want to lose it by? “Someday” won’t work. But if you anchor it within a timeframe, “by May 1st”, then you’ve set your unconscious mind into motion to begin working on the goal.
Your goal is probably realistic if you truly believe that it can be accomplished. Additional ways to know if your goal is realistic is to determine if you have accomplished anything similar in the past or ask yourself what conditions would have to exist to accomplish this goal.
T can also stand for Tangible – A goal is tangible when you can experience it with one of the senses, that is, taste, touch, smell, sight or hearing.
When your goal is tangible you have a better chance of making it specific and measurable and thus attainable.