You often hear people say things like “I try to set goals, but I always mess up!”, or “I might last a week-or-so, but then it’s all too much trouble”, etc.
But, we all set goals everyday, even though we probably don’t realize it. And we’re all actually really good at it!
A goal can be defined as: ‘an observable, or measurable end result, which has one, or more objectives, or steps that have to be reached within a given time period’.
So, if we look at it, the need to wake up in time for work, or to get for your Dentist appointment next Tuesday are both goals. Goals we all set and achieve. Yet they’re seen as just part of life.
So, why do so many of us fail, when we’re trying to set goals that will change our lives?
Looking at the definition, the problem is that our goals are either too vague, or there’s no definite timescale.
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How to approach your goals?
Firstly, they must be specific in their nature. They should have necessary steps leading to their achievement and have set timescales.
These things make them much simpler to achieve; “I will get up at 7am tomorrow, so that I can be at work for 9am.”
This goal has a specific measurable end result – to be at work for 9am. It has a required step that needs to be taken – getting out of bed at 7am and a specific timescale – tomorrow morning.
Now if we take a couple of standard goals that many people aspire to, you can see the difference;
1. I want to be fitter.
2. I want more money.
If we break these down into their component parts, we can see why there are problems.
Do they have specific steps to their achievement? – NO
Do they have a specific timescale for their achievement? – NO
Are the end results measurable, or observable – YES (ish!)? You can measure whether you have become fitter and whether you have more money. However, your mind is incapable of making a judgement decision;
eg. Two weeks ago you used to drive to the corner shop and now you walk. Your mind assumes that you’re fitter than you were before! If you should find a penny down the back of your couch. Your now have more money than you did before!
So, is it any wonder people seldom appear to reach those vague goals?
But, to your mind, the goals have been successfully reached. Hence the reason many people join a gym at the start of a new year, then stop going a few weeks ( or days ;-) ) later. Their mind is telling them that they’ve already achieved their goal, so they can stop trying now!
Setting goals the right way
To properly achieve a life goal like the ones listed above let’s redesign them……
You could re-word ‘To have more money’ to something like; “by 1st January 2020 I will have £5,000 in my savings account. I’ll do this by setting aside money each month, that I’ll transfer via standing order and by collecting the loose change from my pockets at the end of each day.”
‘To be fitter’ could be re-worded to maybe; “During the next 18 months I will complete at least 30 minutes of cardiac exercise at least three times per week and jog at least twice per week, increasing the distance slightly each time.”
One of the main reasons a lot of people’s bigger dreams never become a reality is purely because they seem too big to ever reach.
Let’s say you’re 21 years old and have goal that says “I will have $250,000 in my savings account by my 50th birthday”.
“A goal properly set is halfway reached.” —Zig Ziglar
Break it down
To everyone except the already wealthy, that goal seems impossible to reach. But, with a series of smaller, achievable steps it becomes a reachable goal; if, of course you set up a plan to get there. -eg: Work out how much you would need to save each year to reach your eventual goal. Then, set these totals as smaller ‘stepping‘ goals. Then celebrate each time you reach one.
Next, work out different ways that you could reach these steps, for example;
1. I will work another job on a Saturday and have my wage paid directly into my savings account.
2. I will also transfer $250 from my main salary into my saving account.
3. I will put in the extra time necessary to gain an additional 5 sales per month – the commission from which will be transferred directly to my savings account,
Now, your original goal of having $250,000 in the bank in 39 years has everything you need to make it successful…
You have series of measurable outcomes, a plan of actions necessary to achieve them and a specific time period for each outcome.
Setting steps along the way will give you the impetus to continue and help your mind to realize that the final destination is completely achievable, (providing of course, you stick to your plan).
One thing that always makes a huge difference to your level of success is finding you why. If you have a good reason for wanting this goal, everything else is so much simpler.
It’s also important to write your goals down and review them regularly. By keeping them at the forefront of your mind, you’re more likely to bring them to fruition and lastly, tell as many people as you can about your plans. It’s much harder to give up on your goals when you have to admit to other people that you’ve decided to give up!
When you’re ready to get started, why not download my Goal Setting Worksheet? And don’t forget to let me know how you get on, using the comments section below 🙂