Monday, August 3, 2009

Setting and Reaching Goals...

We all set out to accomplish goals. But we don't always achieve them. Why is that? I have often wondered why it is that when I set a goal for myself, I sometimes waver away from achieving that goal. It's not that I've decided not to do it, because 99.9% of the time, I often still want to achieve what I had set out to do.

What are some strategies for setting and achieving goals? First, let's define what a goal is. A goal is a "want". Goals and dreams are often confused. The difference between a goal and a dream is the goal is more specific. However, you can use your dreams when setting your goals. Look back at your dreams and start a specific list of what you want from that dream. Be very clear about what you want and mean when you express it. Remember, goals are things you want. They are never things you don't want. Here's an example...

Right: I want to stay at my current weight. Wrong: I don't want to gain weight.

Right: I want to remain out of debt. Wrong: I don't want to use credit cards.

Can you see the difference? When setting goals it is a good idea to write that goal down on a piece of paper. Studies have shown that when a goal is written, you are 75% more likely to achieve it. This is because you have already invested time by writing it down. Also, be specific when writing down your goals. If you want to lose weight, don't just say "I want to lose weight". Here's another example...

Wrong: I want to lose weight. Right: I want to lose 15 pounds.

Now remember, specifics are important! When setting a goal, use a time frame to achieve that goal by, and write that down as well! Example...

Right: I want to lose 15 pounds in the next 8 weeks. Wrong: I want to lose 15 pounds soon.

After you have a specific goal in mind, put together a specific plan of action for reaching that goal. For instance, how will you go about losing 15 pounds? Will you exercise every day? For how long? What type of exercise? Where will you exercise? At what time? Do you get the idea of why it is so important to be specific? If you leave out the details you set yourself up to fail because you lose sight of what needs to be done!

Are you getting the hang of this yet? Setting goals is a good way to get what you want. When you follow those simple steps, achieving your goal will be much easier. However, I know firsthand that it can still be hard to achieve goals, even when you are specific. At that point, I need some inspiration and motivation. What motivates you? For me, when I see someone who has achieved what I want, that is inspiring. I want to find out how they did it! Surround yourself with the support of people who have done what you want and ask them how they did it. Ask them to support you in your efforts to reach your goal, as well. When you hit a bump in the road, don't give up! Ask for advice on how they may have handled that same bump.

Goals are a wonderful thing to have to motivate us and keep us moving in the direction we want to be going. I have found that the more simple and specific they are, the more successful I am at achieving them. But also in addition to the specifics, I arm myself with support, whether it is someone who wants the same goal, has reached that goal, or can assist me in the process. Support is key! Take a good look at the goals you are setting aside and not working towards. Look for something that inspires you and re-ignites the desire to achieve them. Then sit down and re-write the goal with the specifics of what you want and how you will go about getting it. Success will occur if a good plan is in place! Now go get to work!

4 comments:

Kristina P. said...

I agree that you need to be specific and reasonable.

When I would teach setting goals to the kids I worked with we talked about The Three M's: Meaningful, Measureable, and Manageable.

anymommy said...

I am an ice cream junkie...just thought I'd tell you. I get it.

Jean said...

how much do I owe you? such great advice! I feel like I need to pay you for this session. :)

Penny said...

Setting and Reaching Goals: great advice. I have found that setting goals gives me a purpose and a direction. At http://determined2.com Promotes successful pursuit of life goals.