There are those who say that setting goals is a waste of time. For some, unrealized goals are just another reason to beat themselves up. Yet studies have shown that those who set goals accomplish far more than those who don’t – having a clear goal can be a positive influence on our behavior.
So who is right? And what makes the difference?
A key explanation is the underlying reason for the goal. Before you set any goals, whether for yourself or for your business, ask yourself these questions:
1. Whose goal is it, anyway? Any goal which is not truly yours is more difficult to achieve. Perhaps you want to lose weight because your doctor suggested it. Or maybe your manager recommended making 100 cold calls per week. These can be worthwhile goals, but if they are not important to you, it is unlikely that you will find the motivation to make the sacrifices, large or small, required to achieve them. If the goal isn’t your own, it isn’t important to you.
2. What does it mean to you? Goals must be deeply personal. Ask yourself why you want to achieve the goal. What meaning does it have in your life? If you double your income, will your life improve? Will your relationship with your spouse improve? Or do you actually harbor a fear that your relationship will fall apart if you spend additional time working? You must be honest with yourself about setting goals. Identify any internal conflicts. Work through them with a coach if you can’t find clarity.
3. Do you believe you can achieve it? You may have heard the quote by Henry Ford, “Whether you believe you can, or you believe you can’t, you’re right.” If you have doubts about your ability to achieve a goal, ask yourself why. Do you feel you lack the necessary skills? If so, is it possible for you to acquire them? What would have to change so that you could believe your goal is possible? Look for examples of people who have already reached your goal.
4. Do you have a support team? Changes you make in your life may impact people around you. Achieving your goals is much easier when the people in your life support, motivate and encourage you. Ask people to support you. If you don’t have someone who will support you, find someone. Get a personal trainer. Join a mastermind group. Find a mentor. Create an environment that makes it impossible for you to fail.
5. What will happen if you fail? Be honest. If failure won’t make much difference, then perhaps this goal isn’t important to you. Then again, you might be afraid of stretching yourself. But are you willing to reach for the stars – and settle for the moon? How would you feel if you failed because you never tried something new?
6. Can you envision it? Olympic athletes have learned to improve their performance by imagining themselves winning. Training your mind through the use of your imagination is a powerful tool for any kind of success. Make your goal a reality by creating it in your imagination. Use pictures, sounds, feelings and words. Rehearse it in your mind. Post pictures and reminders where you will see them often.
7. What must you do to achieve it? Between you and your goal is a series of actions. If you don’t know all the actions to take, here are some suggestions:
Imagine you have already reached your goal, and ask yourself how you got there. What did you do? What did you learn? Who helped you?
Make a plan of action based upon these answers. People often set goals without having a clear idea how to achieve them. In fact, if you know exactly what you need to do to reach your goal, maybe it’s too small!
When you set meaningful goals, believe them, envision them, create a support system and take action, you are becoming a powerful force for change.
And one final postscript: Have fun along the way. Life is your game – play it to win!
Carole is a wonderful friend and a brilliant coach. If you’d like more help for getting your life and your business together – you can download her Wisdom Journal for free, and it’s SO GOOD – here’s the link to it:
Are you ready to create a great future now?