Successful people will tell you about the power of setting goals.
Many people are unsure how to set goals, and therefore are unable to make use of this valuable tool. Below is a guide to help you set goals that will put you on the path to achieving your ideal life.
Decide What You Want
Obviously, the first step would be to decide exactly what it is you want for your life. Think long term.
Do you want to own your own business? Do you want to retire at 50? Write down whatever it is you want. Once you know what your long term goals are, you’re ready for the next step.
What is it Going to Take?
Here is where the actual goal setting begins. What is it going to take to be able to achieve the desired outcome? You should set goals for longer periods as well as immediate goals. Remember that your long term desired outcome is likely going to be achieved in steps. You’ve got to set goals for the actions you must take now, next month, next year etc…in order to get the results that you want.
Write it Down
When it comes to how to set goals, this might sound obvious, but you should write your goals down in a place that you will be able to refer to them often. Leave a place for notes as well as a way to record when and, perhaps how, you reached each goal.
Look at the List
Even if your situation prevents you from being able to take much action on your goal right now, look at the list often. Always be thinking about what it will take for you to be able to begin work on these goals. Add those steps as new, short-term goals.
It’s important to keep these goals in your mind. Even if they have to go on the back burner, keep thinking about them and adding and adjusting your goals as your situation changes.
Keep in Positive
When writing down your goals, use positive language. Instead of “don’t blow investor’s meeting” write “Fully prepare for meeting with investors”. Keeping the language positive will make the goal about stepping up to the plate, rather than instilling fear about failing.
Be in Control
Another important point in how to set goals is to set goals over which you actually have control. Make them action items as much as possible. Instead of “win Pulitzer Prize by age 40”, try “Have completed manuscript published by 39.” You have some control over getting your manuscript published. You do not have control over who wins the Pulitzer Prize. If you set goals over which you have control, you can achieve them based on your hard work and determination. Setting goals over which you have no control is setting yourself up to feel like a failure.
As you complete goals, especially significant ones, take the time to enjoy the feeling of accomplishment. Take yourself out to dinner and dwell on what reaching this particular goal means in terms of your long term plans.
Allow the completion of each stepping stone goal to build your confidence in preparation for the next goal on your list.
As you go about your life, consider your goals when making major life’s decisions. Consider how each of those decisions is going to impact your goals. Ask yourself, “Is this going to help me reach my goal, or hinder me?” Just like the smaller goals add up, the little decisions also add up. Keep your goals in the forefront of your mind, and choose wisely.
Setting goals is necessary to achieve any measure of success. Decide what you want, and then figure out the steps you’ll need to take to achieve it.
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