Goal setting allows you to gain focus and direction in order to succeed in life. It also provides a certain benchmark that can help you determine if you are actually succeeding.
Goal setting is not simply choosing the rewards that you want to have in life. It also involves the costs that you are willing to pay in order to achieve those rewards. There’s a lot of difference between sitting around and thinking what we’d like to do and taking action or having the willingness to undergo training to reach the top.
In the world of business, it is important to identify your business goals prior to getting started. Some people would aim for having the freedom of doing what they want and when they want without being told otherwise by anyone else. Others would aim to have financial security as a result of doing business.
What is a goal?
A goal is simply anything that you aim for. It gives you a certain framework on what you should work on. When you set a goal, remember to aim for some qualities such as specificity, optimism, realism, and short and long term visualization.
Useful Strategies In Goal Setting
There are at least three basic strategies that you can do when you are setting goals.
1. Focus on one goal at a time.
Learn to reorganize your priorities and be fully committed to one goal. Choose a big dream that can motivate you every day. Focus on a dream by choosing one thing and then ruthlessly eliminating everything else.
2. Practice habit stacking.
Try to fill out this sentence: After/Before [current habit], I will [new habit].
Once you have successfully filled out everything, then you know how habit stacking can actually work. Habit stacking not only allows you to make a certain plan on implementing your goals but also to connect your new goals to what you have been doing every day. When we combine habit stacking with implementation, we are able to move the goal from simply staying in our head into becoming our springboard to success by following a specific process.
3. Learn to set an upper limit.
Success is even better when we can make it sustainable. Let’s take a look at the goal of losing some weight. You may hear an individual saying “I want to lose at least 5 pounds this month.” Then, see how the goal changes a bit when we add an upper bound to it. “I want to lose at least 5 pounds this month, but no more than losing 10.”
Adding an upper bound or limit allows anyone to easily sustain progress and continue to show up. In fact, showing up is deemed as even more important than succeeding. Therefore, building the habit of showing up can definitely help in enhancing the future.
We all have goals we want to achieve, whether it’s getting that raise or losing those last 30 pounds. Our intention is there but sometimes we face the obstacle of how to get to our goal and staying motivated while getting there. One of the most effective ways to overcome these obstacles is to set goals for yourself. However, the type and quality of goals you set affects how well they will work.
Let’s go back to the 30 pounds scenario mentioned above. Imagine you are 30 pounds over your ideal weight and want to lose these pounds. When setting your goal, you have options. You could say, “I want to lose weight this year and I will go on a diet to lose the weight.” This goal is quite vague and not well laid out; you haven’t specified how much weight you want to lose or what real steps you will take to lose it.
Now let’s rephrase this intention and set up some specific goals: “I want to lose two pounds a week for the next six months. I will go to the gym five days a week and exercise for 30 minutes. I will also change my eating habits and include fruits and vegetables, whole grains and cut out sweets and alcohol. I will also limit myself to eating out just one day per week.” Here the goal is much more specific and includes specific steps. The underlying thought is that by clearly stating your intentions, you are encouraged to work harder, be more focused and overcome any obstacles that may come your way.
In the late 1960’s, American psychologist, Dr. Edwin Locke, developed the goal setting theory stating that setting a clear and specific goal helps increase a person’s performance. It’s a mental technique that can be used to motivate and increase an individual’s commitment to achieving a personal goal. He initially started his research to explain human actions in specific work situations, and discovered that workers were much more productive when given specific and more challenging goals versus general, easy ones.
However it wasn't until the late 20th century that a man named George Doran put forward his S.M.A.R.T. method, which discussed the importance of having objectives - and this truly put the goal setting theory on the map.
The SMART mnemonic stands for the following:
- S – Specific: be very clear about what you want
- M – Measurable: quantify or have an indicator of progress
- A – Attainable: goal needs to be possible and achievable
- R – Relevant: how important is to you?
- T – Time-bound: set a deadline so you know what to work towards
Let’s break down these 5 steps with an example:
Perhaps you’ve always dreamt of traveling around Europe. It’s on your bucket list but it hasn’t happened yet. You have a million excuses why; you don’t have the money, you don’t have time, no one to go with….
If you use the SMART method, you might come to understand that your trip to Europe is eluding you because your plans have been too vague or unrealistic. Think about your vision and rephrase it with the SMART criteria and see if things change at all for you.
Specific: I want to go to Europe, specifically Paris.
Measurable: I will set money aside every month for a year until I have enough money for a ticket.
Attainable: I will listen to French books on tape, as well as request 2 weeks vacation next year.
Relevant: I have wanted to go since I was a young girl. It’s my dream!
Time-bound: I want to go before I am 35.
By dissecting the above goal with the SMART tool, it becomes more specific and achievable. That trip to Paris goes from dream to reality.
Whether you have small or big dreams, setting goals allows you to plan in order to achieve the things you want.
1. )One of the most effective ways to overcome obstacles is to:
A. Pretend like they don’t exist
B. Set goals for yourself
C. Believe you can accomplish anything
D. Pray that things will happen
E. Meditate until the obstacle becomes reality
2.) What is the recommended method for goal setting?
A. Allow things to happen when they are supposed to happen
B. Keep a diary of what you do every day
C. Listen to your inner voice - you know the answer
D. Clearly state your intentions and be more focused
E. Dream about your goals
3.) Who developed the goal setting theory?
A. Sigmund Freud
B. Aleister Crowley
C. Dr. Edwin Locke
D. Benjamin Franklin
E. Robert Kennedy
4.) The SMART mnemonic stands for the following:
A. Solid, Market, Attractive, Responsive, Taken
B. Sound, Makes, Allowable, Reason, Today
C. Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-Bound
D. Sum, Money, Affords, Rich, Tomorrow
E. Someone, Might, Attain, Respected, Truth
5.) How does setting a clear and specific goal help?
A. Increases motivation
B. Shows greater commitment
C. Allows one freedom to think
D.Gives a feeling of relief
E. Both A and B