Goal SettingJan 13, 2021
One of the first and most important skills you want to acquire to be successful in goal setting. It should be your first step in any endeavor. After all, if you don’t have a goal, you won’t know what to do first, what to do next, and when you’ve become successful.
Why Is It Important
Setting and defining goals are an essential part of success. They give you a direction to go in, something to work towards, and provide an identifiable result. Let me give you an example. Let’s say you want to be thinner. That doesn’t give you much to work with because the definition is weak. Instead, consider setting a specific goal of losing 25 pounds by the start of your summer vacation. You now have something tangible, and precise knowledge of where you're going. You know exactly how much time you have.
Working backward, you realize that you need to lose about a pound a week to reach that goal. You do your research, try some things, and figure out that by going for a 30-minute walk per day, eating salads for lunch, and cutting out the nighttime snacking, you can lose that much weight each week. Now you know exactly what you need to do daily to be successful and be ready for bathing suit weather when your vacation starts.
Does this mean you’ll always succeed when you set a good goal? Of course not, but you are no longer walking in the dark. You know what you need to do. Some of the other skills will help with making sure it happens.
How To Get Started
The best place to start is to define success for yourself in one specific area. Think of the weight loss example. It’s specific. You’re not worried about finances, or even your looks in general. The goal is to lose weight by summer. Don’t be afraid to be very specific in your goal setting. You can always work on a different goal simultaneously, or once you reach this one. Get specific!
Whenever possible, make it a measurable goal. Losing weight or saving money is too general. It makes it hard to figure out the steps you need to take to reach your goal. Instead, pick something like losing 10 pounds or saving $2,000 in your savings account.
Next, put a deadline on it. A wise person once said that goals without deadlines are just dreams. A deadline gives you something to aim for and keeps you from procrastinating indefinitely.
Last but not least, break down your goal into millstones, baby steps, and daily tasks. What do you need to do today, this week, and this month to reach your goal by your deadline? Write all of this down. Make a plan for the coming days and weeks and get to work!
Improving Your Skills
Once you’ve mastered the basics of goal setting and gone through the process a few times, it’s time to improve your skills. Here are some ideas:
Set the bar higher. Push a little harder and make your goals more ambitious.
You’re capable of more than you think you are. Set a stretch goal and see how close you can come to reaching it.
Start working towards multiple goals at a time. Add one more to the mix and get started on it. Then add another. Continue until you get to a point where it gets distracting. This advanced strategy is particularly helpful when you want to improve things in different areas of your life or different parts of your job or business simultaneously. For example, you can work towards paying off debt, building your freelance business, and losing weight at the same time.
Get better at setting SMART goals. We briefly talked about setting good, measurable goals. SMART goals take it a step further. They are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound. Can you come up with some goals that follow this formula?