4 tips for effective goal setting
By Anne Bachrach
The Accountability Coach
Goal setting is directly tied in to your future and affects your life. Setting goals not only prepares you for success, it guides you there, to that place that you envision as your ultimate destination. Setting goals helps you to know exactly what it is you want to achieve and the steps needed in order for you to succeed professionally and personally.
Effective goal setting sets you on a certain path that is free from distractions and time-wasters that could slow your progress. Finally, goal setting is motivational, because the more goals you set and achieve, the more self-confidence you build and the happier you are. There are two main components to successful goal setting.
Set short-term goals
You have probably heard of the effectiveness of goal setting before. Who uses this system to their advantage? Many world-renowned athletes, as well as successful businesspersons and celebrities, have adhered to this philosophy. They have to approach their dream from a logical and progressive standpoint. Nobody can say, “I want to be rich” and then go from point A to point Z. In order to find success, as you define it, you must create short-term goals that will ultimately guide you to your vision of success. These goals will, at once, give you short-term motivation while still making your long-term vision ever clearer.
Essentially, goal setting is a means of organization. The best way to achieve anything, as an individual or as a group, is by being organized. Arbitrary desires usually do not go very far, and most people are content just to dream. When you actually take the time to organize your resources and efforts, you will come much closer to fulfilling your dream than the countless number of wishers out there. Everyone has the ability to set goals. The question is, who wants it bad enough to actually do it? You may be surprised by how few people really want it that bad. Tips for setting goals
How do you go about setting goals? There are different levels to goal setting — you might even say there are goals to setting goals.
Tip 1: Start broad and get specific
You start at the base level, which means deciding what it is you want out of life. Are you interested in a particular career path or are you after the benefits of success, such as money or influence over others? After you decide on a mission, you must break down this destination into smaller targets. The entire mission may take a lifetime, so why limit yourself to just one target? Having a series of targets to accomplish over a short period of time keeps you motivated.
Tip 2: Brainstorm
It is important to give some attention to the brainstorming process. The object of these sessions may be to expand your vision of success, with proper attention given to breaking down long-range goals into achievable steps. For example, an artist might ask himself, “If I want to be a professional artist, then what kind of art do I want to make? How will I go about making it?” A career professional might ask herself similar questions, such as, "What corporate level do I want to reach and why? Do I want to open my own business someday, and if I do, what kind of business would it be?”
You may also find that it helps to ask deeper questions such as, “How could I make the world a better place?”
Tip 3: Do a personal assessment
After you decide exactly what it is you want to accomplish, you have to compare the person you are now to the person you will be then. Examine your circumstances and unique personality to see what is holding you back from achieving your dream. Can you trace your lack of success or motivation to get started to a certain mindset? Is your behavior or your present living surroundings preventing you from reaching a goal?
Tip 4: Create specific timeframes
After you consider how to correct the circumstances, you must organize your goals according to a specific time frame. A specific time frame means that every goal you set should include a month, day and year for when you would ideally like to achieve that goal. If the grand scheme of your ambition takes 25 years to accomplish, then try and envision yourself at the one-year point. What do you see? What progress could you realistically make? Better yet, could you break down these goals even further, to a month’s time frame, perhaps even a week’s time frame?
Start with long-range plans and then write them to be progressively smaller. There should be a logical coherence between each of the plans you create so that the new plan picks up where the previous plan leaves off.
Once you create this progressive plan it becomes a matter of taking action and then updating your list on a regular basis. You may find yourself modifying short-term plans as you continue to grow in experience and as you always keep the long-range mission in mind. It is about consistently making progress toward your goals.
When you are effective at goal setting and focusing on the activities required to achieve these goals you will feel confident about fulfilling what is truly important to you in life.