Goal setting helps us determine our priorities, get organized, make big decisions, and realize our dreams. The act of merely setting a goal brings about positive change for many people. When you set a goal you are creating an exciting challenge for yourself. Almost all motivational experts incorporate goal setting as an important part of their programs. The effectiveness of Goal Setting can be seen in the incredible accomplishments of people such as: Henry Ford who wanted to make cars affordable for everyone, Bill Gates whose goal was to have a computer in every household, and John F. Kennedy who set out to put a man on the moon within a decade. There is a famous story about Jim Carrey who, while struggling as an actor in 1987, drove his car up on Mulholland Drive in the Hollywood Hills to think about the future. While sitting there overlooking the city of Los Angeles he wrote a check made out to himself for “acting services rendered” in the amount of $10 million. He dated the check for Thanksgiving of 1995. Jim’s Goal turned out to be conservative because by the time 1995 rolled around he was making $20 million a movie.
Well-formed Goal Statements
Breaking goals down into manageable Steps
Motivation and Commitment
Reminders and Keeping on track
Frequent Review and Re-assessment
1. Well-formed Goal Statements
The Goal Statement forms the basis for the entire process so careful attention should be placed on formulating a clear and accurate goal statement. A good way to remember how a goal statement should be defined is the old S.M.A.R.T. acronym used by many experts in goal setting. SMART stands for:
The Goal should be specific enough so that we know exactly what we are striving for, measurable, so we know exactly what is to be accomplished and when it has been reached, action-oriented declaring positive activity that will produce results, realistic in that it is practical and can be achieved given the limited availability of resources, and tangible meaning concrete and not vague. The goal statement ‘Increase sales 25% by the end of the fiscal year without increasing advertising spending’ is an example that follows these rules.
2. Breaking down Goals into manageable Steps
Once we have a well-formed Goal Statement we need some direction to follow to achieve this Goal. While the goal ‘Increase sales 25% by the end of the fiscal year without increasing advertising spending’ is a great goal statement, this is a monumental task without being broken down into smaller detailed steps. The creation of Goal Steps gives us an “Action Plan” that when completed will lead to Goal Achievement. Steps also allow for tracking of progress towards the goal. Goal Steps should be positive and not used to list obstacles that must be overcome which focuses on the negative. Negativity can kill motivation but there is power in positive thinking.
3. Motivation and Commitment
Motivation and commitment are what make us strive to achieve. They give us the push, desire, and resolve to complete all the other steps in the Goal process. This motivation can be obtained by developing a personal statement that creates a high level of emotion and energy that guarantees achievement. One self-help expert said that as a child he was kicked out of his local country club pool because he was not a member, in response he later made a goal that he would one day have a pool that is one foot bigger than that country club’s pool. The motivation of being asked to leave the pool provided the necessary fuel for him to achieve this goal. Commitment creates more accountability and is what sets us on a direct course to reach our goals. It may create costly negative consequences of failure to attain a goal. Making a commitment might be something like having invested your savings in your new business which you will lose if it fails. Motivation and commitment are specific to your situation and life and only you can form statements that will ensure you reach your goal the quickest. The more personal you make your motivation and commitment statements for each goal, the more motivated you will be to accomplish your goal.
4. Reminders and Keeping on Track
5. Frequent Review and Re-assessment
When we first sit down and start to define goals it can seem like a difficult and daunting task but over time it begins to get much easier. Patience is required. Goal setting is definitely an ongoing process that is accomplished over time. Any goals program that defines goals and then ignores them will fail. All goals due in the next year should be reviewed at least once a week and daily if possible. The great thing about frequent review is that this forces us to make big decisions and determine priorities in our life. We should keep watch for goals that are not being achieved on time or for goals on which we keep extending the deadline.