People that set goals are traditionally more successful in life. There are a variety of ideas on how to set goals, but all agree on that you need to write your goals down on paper as those that do are 40% more likely to achieve their goals compared to those that don’t.
I believe goals should be part of your overall strategy to continually improve. Goals will also help you stay on track. Besides writing them down you should review them on a regular basis. I personally read mine out loud almost every day, which allows my brain to process them and provide me with ideas on how to achieve my goals.
How Do You Set Goals?
I often use the S.M.A.R.T. goal principle, which is a great guideline to follow.
S stands for Specific
M stands for Measurable
A stands for Attainable
R stands for Realistic
T stand for Time Bound
By having a goal that is more specific and that has a deadline to it, you can then decide how you will measure your progress. You of course need to take a look at if your goal is attainable and realistic. Me playing in the PGA tour a year from now is not a realistic or attainable goal. As a non-golfer I would need to adjust my goal or my time frame on how to get there. Using this tool helps you adjust your goals better.
I’m also a huge fan of BHAG which stands for Big Hairy Audacious Goals. They are those “shoot for the moon” goals that when you write them down you get that sick feeling in your stomach at the same time you feel excited. They need to be BIG goals that gets you way out of your comfort zone.
Now, your goals shouldn’t only reflect growth in one area of your life but reflect all your areas of life. A great tool to use is the wheel of life, which consist of seven areas of your life.
Career: Where do you want to be a year from now? And what do you need to do to achieve that? Do you need to change jobs, attend training, start your own business?
Financial: Where do you want to be a year from now? And what do you need to do to achieve that? Create a plan and stick to it.
Social: Where do you want to be a year from now? And what do you need to do to achieve that? Maybe you need to start scheduling things in so they will happen.
Family: Where do you want to be a year from now? And what do you need to do to achieve that? What memories do you want to have a year from now?
Physical: Where do you want to be a year from now? And what do you need to do to achieve that? This includes not only exercise but food and overall health habits too.
Personal Growth/Development: Where do you want to be a year from now? And what do you need to do to achieve that? What books, seminars, courses, coaching do you need to add to your life in order to improve?
Spiritual: Where do you want to be a year from now? And what do you need to do to achieve that? This includes things like mediation as well as connecting with your source of inspiration.
Goals Are Part Of Long-Term Strategy
No matter what goal setting technique you ultimately settle on after testing what works best for you the goal should always be to grow as a person and think long-term. There’s a great word in Japanese, Kaizen, that means continuous improvement.
Set the goal to strive each day to become a better person. To learn more, to grow, to improve. If you improve in tiny increments you will grow leaps and bounds over time.
Setting one goal for 90 days is also a great way to move forward on things. Work on just that one thing for 90 days, then pick another thing to work on for 90 days and so on. This technique stems from sports training where athletes often maintain their regular training schedule but then focus exclusively on improving one thing, instead of improving multiple things at the same time.
Before you run off to set goals make sure you know how you react to goals. Some people do much better having goals that are set slightly unattainable. It makes them work harder and go further than if their goal is attainable. BHAG is perfect for you.
Some people are the opposite, if they don’t reach their goal the world ends and they give up. If you are the latter, make sure to set 100% attainable goals. It’s better you lower your reach and hit your goals every time as that will motivate you instead of demotivate. Then as you gain confidence continually raise the bar so you start stretching yourself a bit.
Everyone is different so find a way that works for you. The goal is for you to achieve the things you want to achieve, not follow some “perfect” plan. How you get there doesn’t really matter as long as you do.
If you’re new to goal-setting don’t stress. Even having one goal is better than no goals. Start there and you’re ahead most people. Just make sure you write your goals down on paper and you’ll even be ahead even more.
Do you set goals each year? If so, do you achieve them or give up a few months in?