“A goal without a plan is just a wish.” – Antoine de Saint-Exupery
If you were to ask most people about the importance of a company leader setting goals for the business, most all of them would agree that goals are essential in business.
If you asked a follow-up question about the importance of setting goals in your personal life, you’d get a different answer.
Unless planning for a marathon, a major trip or a large purchase, very few people understand how powerful personal goal setting is.
With personal goal setting, this is how you can achieve the friends, relationship, health, wealth and hobbies that you have always dreamed about. It really is within your reach.
Research validates the importance of creating and setting goals. People who not only set personal goals, but also write them down, are more likely to reach their goals and report greater feelings of accomplishment in their life. Instead of drifting through life with wishful thinking of “wouldn’t it be nice if” or “one day”, learn how to set some goals for yourself and then work to reach them.
HOW TO KNOW WHICH PERSONAL GOALS TO SET
Spend a few moments (or up to 24hrs away from it all) thinking about your dreams. What is it that brings you joy? What do you envision for your life in the future, if you could pick any scenario?
Your dreams may include a better spiritual, emotional, physical or financial life. Brainstorm about your dreams and make a written list. (Yes, it is important to write them down. Handwritten is better than typed!).
This list can include items you may think is outlandish or impossible right now (take a yearlong vacation, for example) to the specific (learn how to dance the Tango), to the necessary (lose weight). At this stage, you are simply dreaming. Don’t be afraid to let your creativity loose.
Once you’ve developed a list of dreams, begin to prioritize them. Which ones are most important? Which dreams have a stronger pull on you than the others? Put them in order of importance and narrow down your list to include your top 3 – 5 that you want to work on right now. With your prioritized list, you are ready to develop your personal goals.
HOW DO I DEVELOP MY PERSONAL GOALS?
Rewrite your dreams as S.M.A.R.T. goals. Productivity experts use the SMART acronym to help define and craft goals that can help you succeed.
What do SMART goals look like?
They detail exactly what you want the outcome to look like.
Goal: Learn how to dance.
SMART goal: Learn to dance the Tango.
Include a quantifiable indicator to let you know when you’ve reached your goal.
Goal: Travel the world.
SMART goal: Visit 10 countries I’ve never been to before.
Use action words to define what you’ll be doing.
Goal: Be healthier.
SMART goal: Eliminate soft drinks from my diet.
It must have a chance of success. (This can be challenging. Goals should stretch you to achieve more, but not be unrealistic. For example, if you can’t swim, it would be unrealistic to expect to swim the English Channel by next month. Use incremental goals to keep them attainable.)
Goal: Win the IronMan triathlon.
SMART goal: Learn to swim competitively.
Your goal should have an ‘end’ date. Not only does it give you a target to work towards, it helps keep you focused in order to reach your goal.
Goal: Lose weight.
SMART goal: Lose 12 pounds within 24 weeks
WHAT DO I DO WITH MY GOALS?
Write your goals down. (Yes, it matters.)
Post them where you can see them. (Your refrigerator, your bathroom mirror, your bedside table, your desk, keep a reminder on your phone.)
Review your progress regularly.
Do a routine ‘check-in’ on your progress toward your goals. What have you accomplished this week in reaching your goals? What can you do next week that will put you closer to your goals? Review them as often as necessary to motivate yourself to keep working on your dream.
If you are the only person who knows your goal, it is easier to give up. Sharing your goal with another person or a group creates an interesting and supportive dynamic. Suddenly, it becomes a matter of pride: you will find yourself working harder on your goal when you know someone be checking up on your progress. Let a trusted friend in on the goal you’ve set, and ask them to keep you accountable.
Don’t spend your life wishing you accomplished more. Use personal goals to help you achieve the life you’ve been dreaming about.
We are all a work in progress. The powerful, interactive process of the My Big Idea™ Personal Workshops have been designed to shift your personal vision, boost your performance and activate your ability to achieve transformational goals in a systematic and organic manner.