Guest post by Peter G. James Sinclair
When it comes to goal setting, we can at times make the process so complex that we’re put off by the whole process of goal setting, and as a result we fail to even set the goal. We make out the process to be so hard that it just becomes too hard. So that is why I have simplified the process by breaking it down into four simple steps.
Write the goal, write your daily plan of action, share the goal with others so you are held accountable, and lastly take action.
Follow these four steps and watch your life unfold like never before. Here’s a little more detail for you. Don’t delay. The time to take action is today.
1. Establish a goal and write it down.
I look at it this way. A blank cheque won’t purchase you anything. It’s only after you’ve written on it and signed it that a cheque gains its power to purchase. The same with a goal. It is a written commitment to you. It is a personal declaration of your intention. That is why I write my goals and carry them around with me in my wallet. From time to time I can refer to them and be reminded of the path that I have laid out before me. Goal setting works!
2. Write down your daily plan of action.
The trouble with most people who do not believe in goal setting, or who have tried goal setting and failed, is that they have thought that by simply writing a goal down, that it will automatically come to pass. WRONG! A goal without a plan of action, followed by consistent action, is as useful as never having written a goal at all. Goals are powerful tools that cement within your sub-conscious the path you will take. It is the road-map you hold as you pursue and reach your destination.
3. Share your goal with someone who will keep you accountable.
Support is of vital importance. Tell your ‘supportive’ family and friends about your goal. Get them to make you accountable. For there is nothing like someone who is close to you to remind you of what you’ve decided to change. Without it you’ll find the going tough. Find someone who will share in your victories with joy and in your failures with encouragement. They’ll lift you up when you’re down and keep you level headed when you’re soaring.
4. Act on that plan now.
Act Now! Take action without delay. Don’t forget to encourage your support group to keep you on your toes. No mercy! Begin immediately and be committed to your goal. When I decide to write a book I don’t wait for a whole chapter to appear in my head. I grab one word by the throat and thrust it onto the page. My book has begun. Now all I have to do is capture thousands more words and the job is completed, word-by-word. Got the plan? Act!
Defining your personal goals in life is a big achievement in itself. However goals are not just there to sit in your journal or even pinned to the wall to look at when you get a spare minute. Goals are there as a destination which needs to be worked towards as your life progresses, and you are the driver in charge of the transport which will get you along that journey. So, having decided what your goal is, the next stage is to take an assertive path towards setting out how you will achieve it.
Do you hope to be one of the top international sales managers in your product line? Is your goal to one day run your own company? Do you have a goal of retiring early and being able to travel around the world? Whatever your goal is, there will be set amount of things you will need to do before achieving it. So where do you start?
1. Make the goal as tight and specific as possible.
Specific goals are more achievable than ones with “loose” edges.
In the early retirement scenario this could mean putting an age into the pot, so that the goal would be “I want to retire at the age of 50 and travel around the world.”
2. Identify the things that are essential to have before your goal can be achieved.
Self managing your goal achievement means taking control of the situation and not sitting back hoping it will just happen. Take time to consider exactly what you need to have in order to be in a position to achieve your goal.
Continuing the retiring early to travel scenario, this would mean that you have made enough money to fully pay up a retirement fund which will allow you to live out the rest of your life without worrying about paying the bills, plus having a savings fund to cover the cost of your travels. It also means that you do some research so that you know where you want to go and what you want to see of the world.
3. Take each of the steps and break it down into smaller achievable mini goals.
The steps applicable to the scenario in this article would be:
* Make an appointment with an independent financial adviser and discuss your goal with him. Ask what financial options are open to you to get an optimal retirement fund build up that will help you reach your goal in the time frame you have available.
* Start making payments into whichever retirement plan is decided to give you the best return.
* Open a special bank account which will give you a good rate of interest on your savings and commit to putting a set amount of money into this account each month.
* Consult with your financial advisor on an annual basis if the retirement plan is remains the best one for your situation or whether there is now a better option.
* Build a library of travel books that cover the areas you wish to visit.
* Would having a second language help in your travels? Investigate taking language training in French, Spanish or whichever language will help you get the most out of your traveling experience.
4. Get started on the personal goal achievement journey!
Put a note in your schedule to start the first task on the mini goal list on a specific day. Write down exactly what you will do on that day, and stick to it! Once you have one mini goal achieved, move on and schedule a date for the next one.
Make that appointment with the independent financial advisor.
5. Annual Review
Make a note each year, perhaps on your birthday, to review your goal and the steps that are taking you there. See how far you have traveled towards it, change any of the remaining steps in light of any new circumstances. The review process is an essential part of self managing your way to personal goal achievement because over time situations and desires change and your life goals need to reflect these changes.
You have moved positions and now have more money at your disposal and can increase your monthly savings.
With a proactive approach you will have the satisfaction of knowing you are journeying in the right direction towards goal achievement.
Katie-Anne Gustafsson spent many years in business administration before becoming a WAHM where she learned many of the organisational skills and tools she needs to effectively balance the demands for her daily life.
I thought I knew a lot about goal setting until I was recently challenged on two occasions, from two different sources, to write down my goals EVERY DAY.
That’s right. Don’t just speak your goals out. Don’t just visualise them. Actually take a pen and paper and take some time out to write your goals EVERY DAY of your life.
Because, as I have written in previous articles, when you write down a goal on paper, there is an incredible power that is released in the universe that makes things happen.
I have seen it time and time again in my own life, to the point that I am more and more convinced that to live a successful and fulfilled life we MUST write our goals and carry them on our person; that includes our daily, weekly, monthly, yearly, short-term, long-term goals and even our life goals.
If you are going to move up from mediocre to excellence in your living then you need to develop the discipline of writing out your goals DAILY.
Well, I’m not going to leave it at that. I’m going to show you what has now become an important part of my own life.
Success requires the outworking of goals in our lives.
Start a notebook that is devoted to goalsetting. The reason? So that whenever you think of something that you would like to achieve in your life, then write it down. It will be an incredible record for you to enjoy in the years to come.
Then on a daily basis, as Mark Victor Hansen and Robert G. Allen encourage us to do in their book ‘The One Minute Millionaire’, write your six major goals.
This idea was promoted by Brian Tracy, the famous public speaker. He apparently writes his major goals down every day. It magnetizes his mind to what he really wants to accomplish that day.
To maintain balance within your life record your top goals in each of the following six areas of your life:
The important thing too is to write these goals as if you have already achieved your success.
A DAY WITH A GOAL IS A DAY THAT IS WHOLE
So here are some examples of how you could write your own goals in those six areas:
I am happy because I exercise for twenty minutes four days a week and play indoor cricket once a week. I weigh 78kgs.
I am happy because I have understood investment strategies and have purchased two investment properties.
I am happy because I spend time each day reading the Bible and in prayer and meditation and apply its teachings to my daily affairs.
4. Organisational (Time)
I am happy because I work four hours a day six days a week. The rest of my time is devoted to my own education, for researching new deals and spending quality time with my family.
I am happy because I have surrounded myself with a network of 100 key people.
I am happy because I have earned $100K during the past twelve months.
Now that you have an idea of how to write your goals, go ahead and write yours now.
GOALS STOP YOU FROM ACCEPTING MEDIOCRITY AS YOUR LOT IN LIFE
Here are some other ideas that might help you in setting daily goals:
– Write your six goals on a small card and carry it with you.
– Use the word ‘happy’ in your goalsetting because your attitude will determine your results.
– Write the service, product or information that you plan to render and in what quantity or quality.
– Refer to this card four times throughout the day, at breakfast, lunch, dinner and before you go to sleep.
– Sign and date the card and share your card with someone who can keep you accountable.
– Meet with this person to review your progress at least once a week.
– Update your goal card at least once a month.
– Think only of what you want. Visualise yourself earning the money that will transport you to your goal’s fulfilment.
Write. Read. Say and see your goals. Fulfilled goals happen!
Motivational Quote: GOALS = Grasp Opportunity And Live Successfully.
Free Audio Report by Michael Cheney, the Momentum Doctor, explains why less intelligent people that you are beating you to success:
Author: Scott H. Young
Goal-setting seems alien in a process focus. Every book I’ve read about goal-setting makes a point of eliciting your desires and focusing on that goal to the point of obsession. Since a process focus is, by definition, giving up your craving for results and viewing the process, doesn’t this mean you should give up setting goals?
Absolutely not. Goal-setting is still important in a process focus, although the reasons for using it change. Instead of setting goals so that you can have something better in the future, you set goals to give the process structure.
Structure is Critical for Process
The best metaphor I can use to describe the difference between a craving and process focus is to think of a game. The person who craves an end result desires to win at all costs, even if they hate playing. The person who focuses on process sees winning as an aspect that contributes to having fun.
Virtually all games have clear goals and structures. The few examples people could cite of games without goals or structure I wouldn’t call games. The Sims and other games without structure tend to just be environments where people create there own rules and goals. Life could be seen as an environment where you need to make your own structure.
Having objectives and constraints in a game provides an opportunity for challenge, creativity or learning. Having goals in life provides a structure for an interesting process.
How to Set Goals for Process
Setting goals for process is a little trickier than setting goals from craving. The reason is because they work backwards. Craving assumes a goal and designs whatever process necessary to achieve it. Process assumes an interesting path and designs a goal to give it structure.
At first setting goals shouldn’t be difficult. I don’t expect anyone has the power to immediately turn off their cravings after reading just a few posts. So you’ll probably end up picking goals that you desire as you try to transition to focusing on the process.
If you continue with the philosophy of process, however, you reach a point where this simply won’t work. Believing that craving creates pain will make picking a goal based on desires difficult. Alternatively, I believe there are two criteria you can use to set goals:
- Goals that have an interesting process. (i.e. your passionate about working on them)
- Processes that will lead to more interesting processes. (e.g. you may find setting up a business boring, but running it could be interesting)
With the second method there is a limit to how far you can predict into the future, but it can be used as a basis for narrowing down which goals to pursue. Those that create the potential for more interesting processes.
Adding Constraints to Goals
In a craving mindset, you pick the easiest possible route to your goal. From a process viewpoint, that is boring. Instead you want to pick one that meets your level of challenge.
When I tell people my interests are in entrepreneurship, I often get a warning about how difficult it is. “My cousin/friend/brother-in-law owns a business, and it is a lot of work.” From a craving standpoint, this seems like a reasonable comment. If entrepreneurship is really that risky and difficult, why not just pursue a shorter path to satisfy your cravings?
But from a process standpoint that statement doesn’t make any sense to me. The only thing I crave is the challenge. If entrepreneurship were easy, why would I want to do it? The difficulty makes it an interesting pursuit.
The best constraints are external ones, since they are easier to enforce. Start by selecting goals that naturally create a challenging terrain. Don’t start climbing mountains before you’ve learned to walk, but once you have, don’t waste your time running over hills.
Finding Goals that Match You
Select goals that match your personality and challenge level. When I see infomercials for strategies to get rich quick, I laugh. Aside from the lack of integrity, the idea of “getting rich quick” seems like such a shallow goal to me. If it is both easy and made for everyone, why on earth would you bother doing it?
Instead pick goals that are both challenging and tailored to who you are. Don’t borrow society’s to-do list.
Setting goals is a crucial part of obtaining financial freedom. We stress goal-setting with all of our clients, and here we offer 7 steps to ensuring you will be successful in achieving your goals.
When we educate consumers about achieving financial freedom, goals come up early and often. Setting goals is an essential early step for anyone who wants to achieve success, whether that involves financial, personal, career, spiritual or any other area of individual achievement.
Here are 7 ideas to consider that can help you make your goal-setting more successful:
- Set a concrete goal. A goal isn’t the same as a wish. You may tell yourself you want to be out of debt or have more money in the bank, but making it a real goal means writing it down and having a specific end point. How much money do you want to have in the bank? By when? If paying off your debts is your goal, calculate an exact figure and prioritize your debts.
- Break your goal down into steps. You can’t focus exclusively on the end result of your goals; you need to determine what actions you’ll have to take along the way in order to get there. If your goal is to build up your savings, you need to determine how much money to add to your savings fund every month, every week, or even every day if necessary.
- Figure out what you need to acquire to achieve your goal and get it. If you need to open a new savings account, do that before you start accumulating money. Have a place to put it before you set it aside and you’ll be less likely to spend it. If your goal is to further your career, figure out what skills you need to acquire and how you’ll get them: college, night classes, books, etc. If there’s something you lack that is keeping you from getting your goal, get it right away and eliminate that obstacle.
- Tie it in with a whole list of other goals. You should have goals for multiple areas of your life. Your financial situation is only one part of the picture. What are your goals for your personal relationships? Your health? Your home? Keep all of your goals in mind and don’t leave out any essential part of your life while you’re focusing on your finances.
- Don’t get dragged away from your goal. You must always know what direction you should be moving in, and stay on course. If your goal is to build savings, and you run up credit card debt, you’re not only failing to achieve your goal, you’re moving in the opposite direction.
- Every day ask yourself what you’ve done to move forward. Evaluate your progress at the end of each day. Did you make progress toward your goal? If you’re trying to build savings, know how much you added to your savings account every day. If you didn’t set anything aside that day, you should be aware of it so you’ll do better the following day. If you’re working toward being debt free, figure out how much progress you made toward paying down your debts that day. Ask yourself if you spent money on anything that you shouldn’t have. Confront each day as it ends and resolve to do better the next day.
- Stay flexible and don’t get discouraged. Setbacks will happen. Sometimes your goals may need to be completely overhauled. This is normal and shouldn’t be a problem. If something more important comes along, you shouldn’t cling to a goal that’s a lower priority just because you thought of it first. Revise your goals as needed so you’re focusing on the most important thing facing you today. If you evaluate your progress and find that your goals were too ambitious, revise them to something more attainable. Better to ratchet down your goals to something more realistic than to abandon them altogether.
In the theory of the broken windows, Josh Hinds talks about the importance of regularly taking care of the little things, like setting aside a bit of time to set goals. Now be honest, doesn’t the word “goal” seem too big sometimes – don’t we all at least have a bit of a suspicion that goals are really meant for super successful athletes, the ones who win FIFA and bring home the Stanley Cup?
Maybe that’s one of the reasons why we shy away from them. And then if goals are big, how can we take a little time to set them? That doesn’t make sense! Ah, forget it, let’s go back to watching The Office.
Let me tell you how I spend 10 minutes a month to set small goals that move me forward.
As counselors and coaches, my coworkers and I spend quite a bit of time preaching telling our clients about the benefits of taking small actions to move towards their goal. We use the SMART method, which recommends that goals should be
S – specific – e.g. “I’m going to become a better boss” is not specific; “I’ll listen to Jody when she needs to vent about project X” is.
M – measurable; that means you need to know when you’ve met the goal. “I’ll work on project Y” isn’t measurable; “I’ll read the first 20 pages of Jody’s draft” is.
A – achievable. Is it doable? “I’ll increase sales from $1,000 to $1 million in 3 months” is probably not doable.
R – realistic. That’s my favorite. You probably can meet the goal, butwill you? Of course I can stay up for 48 hours, but what are the chances I’ll actually do it?
T – timeline. Simply: WHEN will you do it?
Early on in presenting this to our clients I figured that we needed to use this method, too, otherwise we’d be recommending something to our clients that we ourselves weren’t doing. Walking my talk is an important value for me, so I suggested we find a way that we could use this method together without adding too much to our already busy work lives.
And this is what we do now: Once a month we get together for 20, 30 minutes, and each of us fills out a little sheet where we quickly write down three accomplishments we made last month, and what we want to accomplish the next. It takes about 5-10 minutes per person to write this down and share it with each other.
Doing this focuses me through all the chaos in the month ahead, and I get things done that otherwise would have fallen by the wayside. For example, I managed to work on workshop curricula that had been pushed aside for months, connected better with our clients by focusing on little things like getting to know more about their cultural backgrounds, and learned to take care of myself better by setting self care goals like leaving the office for at least 5 minutes every day.
Why is this working so well?
It’s because these goals are
- aligned with our values (we want to walk our talk)
- easily achievable (they’re not overwhelming and we have a whole month to achieve them)
- communicated to each other
- aligned with our motivation.
Let me tell you a little more about the last point.
To be honest, I don’t really care about a goal if it’s not hooked into what motivates me. So here is what I do: When you come into my office, you will see on my cork board a sheet with my three goals, written down in fancy font, accompanied by an image that illustrates one of the goals. Beauty and creativity are two things that motivate me.
I love the little creative act of finding just the right picture for my monthly goal sheet, and using a font that expresses the mood that goes along with those goals. I love coming into my office and seeing a photograph that lifts my heart with its beautiful colours and interesting shapes. That makes me want to look at my goal sheet and work on it.
Of course that’s just the way I work. Other people are motivated by completely different things. I know someone who writes down her goals and pins a $50 bill to it because she’s motivated by money. Others can’t stand the idea of letting others down, so they turn their goals into promises to their loved ones.
So – what SMART goals can you set for yourself?
And what’s your motivational style? How can you make that work for you so that you get all excited about meeting your goals?
‘We succeed only as we identify in life, or in war, or in anything else, a single overriding objective, and make all other considerations bend to that one objective.’ Dwight D. Eisenhower
One of the greatest contributors to an ineffective life is the lack of purpose, the lack of an objective, and the lack of a mission.
That is why it is so important to draw aside and ask ourselves, ‘What is my life mission? What have I been born for? What unique contribution can I bring to my world?’
This is not something that you can pluck from the air or arrive at while engaged in the endless treadmill of life.
You must draw aside.
Years ago, I pulled aside for three days and locked myself away in a motel room with nothing more than a Gideon’s Bible, a notepad, a stimulating book on setting life goals, and a pen. For three days I wrestled with my thoughts and wrote volumes. I know for a fact that my life’s present path has been defined by paying particular attention to what I defined in those three days as my life’s mission.
For with one objective in place – when life throws you a million opportunities or oppositions your way, these will either bend in line with your one objective or else break against it, and thus be discarded. The result is liberation.
For every decision, every action, every motivation, every relationship, and every interaction is guided by that one objective. And it is in that place where confusion is reigned in and clarity revealed.
But unfortunately many say that they are too busy to draw aside. I have always looked at it another way. I am too busy to not draw aside – and as a result my busyness will not simply result in me spinning my wheels, but rather my life will take on more purposeful action that will culminate into a more productive life.
As Abraham Lincoln revealed to us many years ago – it is in the time spent sharpening the axe that will make the final cut that much sweeter and the work done in a much more efficient and effective manner.
Don’t be pushed around by life. You be the pusher by making it your mission to discover your one objective, and then by living a life dedicated to the outworking of that objective.