Goals are dreams with deadlines. It's goal time for 2011 - Human Capitalist - December 2010
Goals are dreams with deadlines. It's goal time for 2011.
THINK ABOUT YOUR favorite athlete or super achiever. Do you think that he or she became successful without first setting up a target and then taking aim? Not likely. Without a target, your fulfillment is left to chance.
Striving for and attaining goals makes life meaningful. People who have no goals feel emotionally, socially, spiritually, physically, and professionally unbalanced. This can only cause anxiety. People who have goals are respected by their peers; they are taken seriously. Achievements come from aware-ness, which starts with evaluating your strengths and weaknesses in light of your current situation. You then expand your beliefs (assumptions) to accept more goals for your-self.
This leads you to establish plans and expand your actions to eventually achieve your goals. After an achievement, you reevaluate yourself and find that each new feather in your cap makes you feel capable of accomplishing more and more. Your beliefs (assumptions) then expand, making more goals possible. The effect gains momentum and snowballs. In this way, greatness is achieved by small stepping-stones.
Rules of Goal Setting
Most people, when asked, “What are your goals in life?” say something like, “To be happy, healthy, and have plenty of money.” On the surface these goals seem fine. However, if you think about goals in terms of leading to actions, they don’t qualify. These types of goals don’t have the key ingredients necessary to make them effective, workable goals.
Your goal must be personal. This means your goals must be uttered with sincerity. A goal must be some-thing you want to do rather than something you think you should do.
Your goal must be positive. Take the following test: Don’t think about green elephants! You can’t do it; that’s why an image of a green elephant immediately pops into your mind. It’s an automatic response to think of the thing you’re told not to think about. This is because the mind cannot refuse to think of something when instructed to do so. We tend to focus on ideas and actions from a positive frame-work. When you think a negative thought such as, ”I will not smoke today,” your mind automatically ends up thinking more about smoking than if you had phrased it differently. “I will breathe only clean air today” is a statement which serves the same pur-pose and is more effective.
Your goal must be written. Writing a goal down has effects which are a bit difficult to explain. It does, nonetheless, prove effective. Written goals take a jump in status from being nebulous thoughts. When things are “put in writing” they become official in our minds. A written goal strength-ens our commitment to accomplish it.
Your goal must be specific. If you set your goal by saying “I will increase my sales next year,” chances are you won’t do it. You need to be specific to avoid the lack of commitment which comes with being vague. A more workable and motivating goal would be, “I will increase my sales next year by 10 to 15 percent.” This revised statement defines the increase which you are striving for as well as the range of the desired increase.
Your goal must be a challenge. A goal must motivate you to work harder than you have in the past. It must move you forward. Set your goals just beyond your reach so that you’ll have to stretch a bit.
Your goal must be realistic.
Everything is relative to time and space. What is unrealistic today may be totally within reason five years from now. How do we define realistic? For our purposes, the best definition must come from you and your values. You must ask yourself, “What price am I willing to pay to accomplish this goal?” You should always weigh the payoffs and the sacrifices involved before coming to a conclusion.
Goal Action Plan
Now that you know the rules for setting goals, you can apply them to the goals you set for yourself. What fol-lows is a goal action plan that can be applied to each of the seven facets of your life: mental, physical, professional, financial, spiritual, family and social.
Define your goal. Your first task is to determine whether your goal meets all six requirements of the rules listed above. If it does, then write it as clearly as possible at the top of the worksheet.
Examine obstacles that stand in your way. This is a time to guardagainst negative assumptions and other self-defeating thoughts. Remember the definition of realistic. An obstacle blocks you only if you let it.
What’s in it for me? Why do you want to achieve the goal? What kind of payoff is motivating you?
Plan your action. You need to care-fully list the steps you will take will bring you closer to your goal. The smaller the increments, the easier they will be to accomplish.
Project a target date for your goal. State your deadline range, such as “between March 15 and April 1.” Think carefully about the amount of time you need. Too little time will increase the pressure and frustrate you. Too much time may reduce your drive.
Know how you’ll measure your success. Goals should be described interms of the final outcome of an activityrather than as the activity. This ispart of being specific. Instead of saying,“I will be running more in four tosix months,” you could say, “I’ll berunning three miles instead of twomiles in four to six months.”
Create a worksheet to suit your needs. The important thing isto create a goal sheet, fill it out completely and to keep itvisible for each of your key goals ineach of the seven facets of your life.Put them in a place where you willsee them every day. Check off items as you complete them. Use them to chart your progress and take pride in your accomplishments.
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