It’s been said that everyone has goals, whether we know it or not. We have goals to keep our current job, or to get a different one. We have goals to save for the future, or to travel, take a vacation, or purchase the things we need and want to make our lives more enjoyable. There is an important distinction between those who have a vague idea in their head of what they’d like to see happen, and those who make it happen; the second group is very intentional and focused on their goals, while many of the rest of us are not.
The wording, structure, timing and format of a goal can make its achievement much easier or far more difficult. Here are the 10 most important steps to set and achieve your goals:
1. Reachable goals are SPECIFIC. Top achievers know that to reach their goals, the brain must know exactly, precisely, what they are trying to accomplish. Never word a goal with vague terms like “some” or “a little bit”, or “more”. Be specific! If you want to lose 8 pounds and reach a weight of 175, specify those exact numbers. If you want to save $200 this month, be exact. Your brain can help you accomplish almost anything if it knows precisely what you are aiming for.
2. Reachable goals are SIMPLE. Many people describe their goals in complex terms of retiring on the beach in Hawaii, with nice cars and lots of money, and…. Their list goes on and on. Any ONE of those things is a great goal, but the combination becomes over whelming and the brain gets confused. If you want to retire in Hawaii, just say so! If you want to increase your sales by 10% this month, say so! Keep your goals simple, clear, and focused.
3. Reachable goals are SIGNIFICANT. No one can muster the enthusiasm, hard work and courage to reach a goal they don’t really care about. A reachable goal is one you really, really, REALLY want! It’s something that will change your life, enhance your health or wealth, and make you proud. It gets your juices flowing, gets you up in the morning, and keeps you going all day long, because it is important! Set goals that are worth achieving!
4. Reachable goals are STRATEGIC. High achievers know that the best goals accomplish many great outcomes, all at one time. Running a 10K race will almost certainly: 1) feel great! 2) help you lose weight. 3) lower your cholesterol level 4) strengthen your heart 5) lower you risk of heart disease 6) increase your energy and stamina, and 7) improve your outlook. Design your goals to strategically impact as many areas of your life as possible. You’ll have more reasons to reach your goal and more excitement when you do!
5. Reachable goals are MEASURABLE. A goal without a measurable outcome is just a pipe-dream. You can’t achieve a pound of “happiness” or 6 inches of “self-esteem”, but you CAN get a new job. You CAN run a mile in under 7 minutes, or do 100 sit-ups. Someone has wisely observed that, “What gets measured, gets done.” Define your goals in terms of height, weight, dollars, inches, or hours. Then measure your progress until you achieve your desired outcome.
6. Reachable goals are RATIONAL. To reach your goal, you will need a plan, a path, and a vehicle for getting there. Your goals must make sense! When you explain them to friends and family, your goals should create excitement, draw support, and encouragement. Your goals should be just out of reach, but not out of sight! You want to stretch to be your best, not strain after impossible dreams. Set goals you CAN and WILL achieve!
7. Reachable goals are TANGIBLE. Choose goals that you can see, hear, smell or touch. Go for things you will enjoy and that you can clearly visualize. The brain has hard time going for “financial security”, but it can visualize a bank statement with nice, large numbers on it! Define your goals in terms that excite the senses, then go for it with all your heart!
8. Reachable goals are WRITTEN. High achievers always know precisely what they want, because they’ve written it down. Often, they write a short description of their goals every single morning, as a personal reminder of their priorities and their objectives. The act of writing your goals down vastly increases your chance of success. Write it down! Then, keep your notes where you can see and read them every day.
9. Reachable goals are SHARED. We are far more likely to stick to our plan and reach our goals if we know our friends and family support us. Being part of a team increases our determination, our stamina, and our courage. Caution: Never share your goals with anyone who may ridicule, tease or discourage you! The world is full of doubters and you have no time for them. But, find a support team, a group of cheerleaders, and a coach who will encourage you every step of the way. High achievers count on and work with other winners!
10. Reachable goals are CONSISTENT WITH YOUR VALUES. One of the biggest reasons people fail to achieve their goals is that they have conflict between their behavior and their values. However, when your values and your goals are in agreement, there is no stopping you! Clarify your values first, then set simple, specific, measurable, tangible, written goals that are consistent with those values. You will achieve them, every single time!