Goal setting is a common issue in today’s society. People recognize that goal setting is an important part of life, yet we lack vision and the motivation to accomplish the goals we have set. We set goals in New Year to lose weight or pay off debt. We set goals on our birthday to find new loves or pick up a hobby. Goal setting happens every day. So then why is it that so few people actually achieve their goals.
A recent survey completed by the Ford Motor Company found the following interesting goal setting statistics.
And perhaps the most important statistic of all of this: 3% of those studied reach their goals 89% of the time. Their secret? They are the 3% of the population that not only has set up well-defined goals but has also taken the steps necessary to reach them.
What we see in this study is that most people do not set goals at all. Without setting goals, no one can reach any of the dreams that they have set out for themselves. And even those that have goals rarely define them or choose to live them by their values. That means that 90% of all people are failing to achieve what they wish to achieve.
My goal as a life coach is to put you in that remaining 10%. Here are five tips to help you achieve your goals
1. Setting Small Goals Builds Momentum
Sometimes we set goals that are too grand to accomplish in one big swoop. While having large dreams important, and a good step in goal setting, achieving a large dream takes time and effort. A significant step in between is to create several smaller steps and break them into milestones that are achievable. These little successes help you create momentum to build greater success in the future. That allows us also to achieve more, experience the joy of those achievements, and use that joy as motivation to continue further.
Joey is an account manager for a large computer firm. His goal is to is to hit a sales target at the beginning of every month. He has decided to reach a higher sales goal than he has ever accomplished. He has a positive attitude and is ready to take the steps towards achieving it. But within the first week he experiences a few setbacks, and by the second week, he doesn’t even think about his goal at all, causing him to fall even further behind.
At this point, there is no way he can achieve that goal. He is disappointed and decides to give up on his goals altogether. But what Joey should have done was set smaller goals – goals about the number of prospects he reaches, or the amount of money he brings on any given day. By achieving these more modest goals, he’ll start to learn that reaching goals is attainable, and though sometimes there are things that get in our way, there are little successes in everything you do in life.
2. You Must Understand Why You Set Your Goal
When you set a goal, you must understand why you’re setting that goal and your rewards. You need to have clarity. You need to thoroughly understand why you are setting each goal and what the consequences each goal will have on your life if/when you reach them.
Often we set goals that we THINK we need to set but do not have the actual desire to achieve. We know that these goals have positive implications for our family, for our relationships, for our jobs, for our children or our friends, so we choose them without thinking about our internal motivations.
Suddenly we don’t have a clearly defined “why.” And without that reason, it becomes easy to lose passion for your goal and decide it is no longer your priority. Ask yourself if you have ever reflected on the most genuine reason you have decided to achieve that goal. Most likely it doesn’t have as much passion as you wish it did.
3. You Need to Have Clearly Defined Expectations With Your Goals
Realism is critical in setting goals. Without realism, you end up shooting for a goal that no one in the world can achieve. Goals should be far enough out that you are challenged, but it is also crucial that you have clearly defined expectations. That way when you can achieve your goals you know exactly what you did to get there, and if you fall a little bit short you understand what you could have hoped to accomplish based on your current scenario. Ask yourself what expectations you have for this goal, but regarding what you hope to achieve and what you can realistically complete if you give it enough effort.
4. Keep Your Goals in Front of You
Your goals should not be some abstract thought that you forget when you run into some life distractions. Your goals should be in front of you so that you can visually see what you want to accomplish and motivate yourself to take steps to reach it. You are not limited to keeping your goal written on a piece of paper. You can show your goal in terms of a photo of the place you would like to travel or keychain with the dog you hope to raise. As long as your goals are in front of you, you will be motivated to meet them.
5. What Legacy Are You Leaving Behind With Your Goals?
I had the privilege of being on a conference call with a woman that shared a story about her dad and his long battle with cancer. He was in his last days when he looked his daughter in the eyes and asked “Did I leave you with the right legacy behind? Did I remind you that you were loved and cared for?”
The father’s goal in life was for his daughter to feel that love and affection. It was not about his wants. It was about leaving behind a wonderful young lady that felt the love that he shared for her.
When you set goals, make sure your goals are what is truly important to you. Sometimes we set goals for the wrong reasons, and the pursuit of these goals will never carry a lasting legacy. Achievement doesn’t always bring exactly what we think it will. That is why we need to evaluate what is important and make sure that our goals and our legacy are in alignment with each other.
These are the five keys to goal setting. If you follow these principles, you will be far more likely to achieve success and abundance in life.
You Reflect and Apply
Using these five goal setting tips, write down one or two goals and filter them through everything you have learned in this column. Set smaller goals, make sure you can answer questions of “Why,” define your expectation and make sure that your goals will help you become the person you wish to be.