Set a Goal or Two or Three
It is estimated that only 5% of the population takes time to set a goal and write them down. Maybe it’s why so few people are actually living the life they dreamed about.
Benjamin Mays, minister and mentor to Martin Luther King Jr., summarized the important of setting goals succinctly when he said, “The tragedy of life doesn’t lie in not reaching your goal. The tragedy lies in having no goals to reach.”
A 2009 study by San Francisco State University concluded that long-term happiness comes from the “wealth of memories” an experience provides, and that people do not get bored with memories the way they do with objects. Participants indicated that experiential activities represented money and time better spent, and provided greater happiness both for themselves and others.
Aristotle once said, “Man is a goal seeking being. His life only has meaning if he is reaching out and striving for his goals.”
Establishing your goals in writing can help give you a “wealth of memories”. It can help you live your life with the sense of purpose that only fulfilling your goals and dreams can offer.
Lou Holtz, one of the greatest college football coaches of all time stated, “If you’re bored with life — you don’t get up every morning with a burning desire to do things — you don’t have enough goals.
4 General Goal Setting Rules:
When you set a goal write them down as specific, and with as much details as possible. We tend to want to take the path of least resistance in life.
It’s easy to say, my goal is to “Love everyone”, when we should be striving to “Love our neighbor next door”. To accomplish goals we must be specific as possible. Remember our minds do not function well with vague or ill-defined concepts. We should give our mind a set of detailed instructions to work on. The more information we give it, the clearer the final outcome becomes.
Sometimes we need to set a goal and list what we really want in a goal. Instead of writing “A new home,” write “A 3,000 sq. ft. turn of the century home with 4 bedrooms, 3 baths, large front porch, view of the mountain on at least 3 acres of land”.
An example of a more precise goal would be, “Loose 10 lbs by my next birthday”, instead of just writing down “Loose weight”. The more specific we can be, the easier it is for us to take action.
Remember, the more precise we specify an outcome, the more efficient we can be in setting proper action steps. With a specifically defined goal, it is easier for us to find the steps we have to take to reach various aspects of our goal. With this in mind, we can work on the next point of good goal setting which is, goals must be your own.
2. SET A GOAL THAT IS OWNABLE
This may sound kind of ridiculous, for who would make goals for others? The answer is pretty much everyone. It is human nature to want change in other people whose behavior or attitudes we find unappealing.
The natural mindset of humans is often, “If only my boss, neighbor, spouse, or children would change, then we would be soooo much better off.” The problem is we can’t set goals for other people.
Yes we can help influence, give direction, offer advice, and make life easier for others, but if our goal is “world peace” then we are setting ourselves up for failure. Now world peace would be a great thing, but the accomplishment of this goal is entirely dependent on everyone else changing.
When we set a goal it must always be clearly defined around you. Not that we only care for ourselves, but our goals must be for ourselves first, and then we can bring others in.
For example, if we want to have a family reunion, then we must be willing to organize the reunion by ourselves, regardless if others get involved or not.
If the accomplishment of a goal is entirely dependent on actions, or inactions of others, then we would not fulfill many goals.
When you identify goals that are most important to you, you begin to figure out ways you can make them come true. You develop the attitudes, abilities, skills, and financial capacity to reach them.
You will also begin to see previously overlooked opportunities that will help you come closer to achieving your goals. Remember goals must chiefly be our own, and then you can bring in others. This will allow you to work on the next point when you set a goal and that is, goals must be attainable.
3. SET A GOAL THAT IS ATTAINABLE
When you set a goal that is too far out of reach, we typically wont commit to doing them for to long.
Although we may start with the best of intentions, the knowledge that it’s too much for us means our subconscious will keep reminding us of this fact which stops us from even giving it our best.
We need to have as much control as possible. It can be quite dispiriting to fail to achieve a personal goal for reasons beyond our control! If you base your goals on personal performance, then you can keep control over the achievement of your goals and draw satisfaction from them.
All sorts of people, employers, parents, media, and even society can influence us to set unrealistic goals. Alternatively we may set goals that are too high, and not appreciate the obstacles in the way. Sometimes we don’t understand the skills we need to meet a particular level of performance. Remember in the beginning, it is important to set goals we can make. It’s like trying to compete in a marathon without entering a few shorter races first.
Our abilities do not always determine what we accomplish in the future, because skills and abilities can be learned along the way.
The ability to set attainable goals will become easier over time, as you begin to identify the things you want to accomplish in life and set out to do them.
If you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it. A goal must have a deadline, and when you set up goals you must ask yourself, “When do I want to reach my goal?”
Set a time limit to your goal, because this is the best way to measure your rate of success, or failure as the case may be.
Make sure there’s measurable progress, so you can see the change occurring. For example if you write, “I will read three books before my next birthday”, then on your birthday, you will know whether you reached your goal. If you say, “I want to read more”, you probably wont because “more” is hard to measure and probably wont be reached.
Try to establish concrete criteria for measuring progress toward the attainment of each goal. When you can measure your progress it will be easier to stay on track, reach your target dates, and experience the exhilaration of achievement that can spur you on to continue to reach your goals and dreams.
IT ALSO HELPS TO:
WRITE THEM AS POSITIVE AS POSSIBLE
Part of the reason we write down and look at our goals is to create a set of instructions for our subconscious mind to carry out. Thinking positively in everyday life will also help in your growth as a human being. Don’t limit it to goal setting. Remember try to be positive. For example when you set a goal you don’t say, “I want to quit smoking”. You would say, “Stop smoking to live a healthier life.”
HAVE A MENTAL PICTURE OF YOUR GOAL
It is good to say, “I will live a healthy life”, but to see it mentally we may have to write various sub-goals like, “I want to take karate with my son.” And “I will only eat sweets on the weekend.” This way you make it specific, so you can have a clear mental picture of it, and by having a picture of it in your mind, you can stay focused on your goal.
When goals are written and repeatedly re-written they will often have a more substantial impact on our determination to complete a goal. Sometimes it may help to rephrase it in different words, compact it, add motivating adjectives, make it pithy or rhyming, and continually fine tune your goals.
MAKE IT EMOTIONALLY ATTRACTIVE
When it come to reaching goals and living our dreams, it must be something we really desire to reach, because sometimes it’s really all about motivation. If you set something as a goal and don’t have an emotional attachment, it will often be very difficult to realize. So think through your goals and listen to your instincts. Ask yourself, “Do I really want to reach this, or is it just some short flight of fancy on my part?”
CAREFUL IT’S NOT DESTRUCTIVE
When you set a goal try to make sure it doesn’t become destructive to you and those around you. It would be quite selfish to say you want to travel around the world when you know that your partner can’t leave their job, or has to take care of the children. Your goals should not bring harm to your family and loved ones or the environment in which we live.
Dr. Win Wenger studied many techniques to improve intelligence and has written several books on the topic. Dr. Wenger noticed this connection between writing out your goals and later success in life, and believes that the very act of writing about your goals and thoughts will stimulate more development in your brain and will help you achieve your ambitions.
The fourth commandment of success is to write a goal or two or three, and then make a plan of action, work on it diligently and act it out until the goal is realized.