We all set goals everyday, even though we probably don’t realise 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’.
As such, the requirement to wake up in time for work in the morning, or making yourself available for your Dentist appointment next Tuesday are both goals, but they’re not usually viewed as goals because they’re seen as just part of life.
So now that you know you can easily achieve your goals, why do so many of us fail when trying to set goals that will change our lives?
When you look back at the definition, the problem with most personal development goals is that either they’re too vague, or there’s a ‘wooly’ or no timescale.
Let’s use one of those two examples above to explain how all goals, including the really big ones, should be approached. They’re specific in their nature, have a series of steps leading to their achievement and have set timescales, making 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 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 get 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; if 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 and, if you should find a penny down the back of your couch, your now have more money than you did before!
So, with a goal that has zero of the three things required for a successful outcome, is it any wonder that people seldom appear to reach those vague goals?
To your mind though, 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!
To properly achieve a life goal like the ones listed above let’s redesign them……
‘To have more money’ could be re-worded to something like “by 1st January 2020 I will have £5,000 in my savings account. I will achieve this by setting aside money each month, which I’ll transfer via standing order and by collecting the loose change from my pockets at the end of each day.”
‘To get 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 want to have £250,000 in my savings account by my 50th birthday”.
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 and set these totals as smaller ‘stepping‘ goals, then celebrate each time you reach one.
Next, work out different ways that you could reach these total, 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 £250,00 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 realise that the final destination is completely achievable, (providing of course, you stick to your plan).
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 the free Goal Setting Worksheet?