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How to Set and Attain Goals
First, let's focus on a few broad-brush concepts that will give you a sturdy foundation for setting your goals. Then, we will look at steps to achieving them.
Why Goal Setting is Important
In a fabled Harvard University study only three percent of Harvard students asked set and wrote goals on a regular basis. The stunning revelation of this study is that 30 years later, 50 percent of the total net worth of the group was held by just three percent of the group. You guessed it! They were the three percent that had a habit of setting and writing goals as students, then continued to write goals and review them regularly.
Identify Your Life Values
There is no satisfaction in a goal you meet if in meeting it you have bent or broken a life value. Let's say your life values include "Thou shall not steal", or "I will walk with integrity", and you meet a major financial goal using dishonesty or trickery. When your acts fall out of balance with your beliefs you throw yourself off balance, you may well feel moral angst and discomfort in the victory, which robs you of the joy of your victory.
Make it Your Own Goal
Your goals must be your own. I like to think of these as guiltless goals. Weight loss goals are a perfect example. Planning to lose weight because you want to make a spouse happy is a sure path to defeat and depression. The weight you lose for someone else never stays off. Your goals must be your own and they must inspire you.
Few but Inspiring
Set inspiring goals, but limit yourself to setting three short-term goals that are a little stretch, and as many long term goals as you want. Long-term goals could be humorous and should really stretch you. Large inspiring goals put your subconscious mind to work creating paths of achievement. As you set short-term goals, choose goals that feed reaching your larger goal. Your goals should also inspire you and measure you as a person. I always like to know where I am in relationship to my goals.
Goals Should be Clear, Specific, and Measurable
The more specific your goals, the more focused your mind becomes. Zig Ziglar, arguably the greatest motivational speaker of our time, asks his audiences a question you might well ask yourself, "do you want to be a meaningful specific, or a wandering generality?"
When you set your goal be sure to answer these three questions:
Do I really want this goal? How badly do I want it? Am I willing to do what it takes to achieve it?
Skip the How to … for Now!
Setting big, specific, measurable and inspiring goals can be a scary matter, but Kevin Lawrence proclaims, "We don't have to know how to achieve our goals, we just have to want to achieve them. A lot of people fail to achieve their goals in life because they tell themselves they don't know how. This is just an excuse for inaction. The truth is, when we focus on what we want with passion, the way to get there becomes evident."
Reveal Your Goals
That's right. Tell people what your goal is and ask for help in reaching it. Successful people enjoy helping others reach their success. Telling others about your goals creates a compelling motivation toward action:
A word to the wise … tell the positive people in your life your goals. Don't bother telling those who have no aspirations of their own, they will douse your dreams with cold water.
When you hit a milestone along the way, reward yourself. Plan each milestone, and your reward will help keep you focused.
Take Action. Now.
I have built 19 successful companies on three continents. The constants have been setting and working toward achieving specific goals. Here are the 12 most powerful ideas I have ever used in setting and reaching my goals:
Finally, as Zig Ziglar says, "A goal properly set is a goal halfway reached."
Many more articles in Coaching in The CEO Refresher Archives