5 Rules to Goal Setting Success
Goal setting is much more than simply saying you want something to happen. Unless you clearly define exactly what you want and understand why you want it in the first place, your odds of success are considerably reduced.
By following these Five Rules of Goal Setting you will set goals with confidence and enjoy the satisfaction that comes along with knowing you achieved what you set out to do.
Five Rules to Goal Setting
1. Set Goals that Motivate You
Make sure your goals are important to you, and that there is value in achieving them. If you have little interest in the outcome, chances are you will not put in the effort to make them happen. Goal achievement requires commitment, so to maximize the likelihood of success, you need to feel a sense of urgency and have an “I must do this” attitude. Motivation is key to achieving goals.
2. Set SMART Goals
Specific – Your goal must be clear and well defined. What do you want to accomplish? Specifically state what is the purpose and benefits of accomplishing the goal?
Measurable – Include precise numbers and dates so you can measure your degree of success. If your goal is simply defined as “To reduce expenses” how will you know when you have been successful? In one month’s time if you have a 1 percent reduction or in two years’ time when you have a 10 percent reduction? You need way to measure your success to see if your efforts are moving in the right direction. You need to know when to celebrate your progress and accomplishments.
Attainable – Make sure that it is possible to achieve your goals. Setting a goal that you cannot achieve will only erode your confidence. Setting goals that are too easy to accomplish will seem lack-luster and meaningless. Setting realistic and challenging goals to “raise-the-bar” brings the greatest personal satisfaction.
Relevant – Goals should be relevant to the direction you want your life and career to take. By keeping goals aligned with this, you will develop the focus you need to get ahead and do what you want.
Time Bound – Your goals must have a deadline. You need to know when you can celebrate success. When you are working on a deadline, your sense of urgency increases and achievement will come that much quicker.
3. Put Your goals in Writing
The physical act of writing down a goal makes it real and tangible. It sets the process in motion. Use positive statements to work for what you want, not for what you want to leave behind. As you write, use the word “will” instead of “would like to” or “might.” For example, “I will reduce my operating expenses by 10 percent this year,” not “I would like to reduce my operating expenses by 10 percent this year.” The first goal statement has power and you can “see” yourself reducing expenses, the second lacks passion and gives you an excuse if you get sidetracked.
4. Plan Your Work, Work Your Plan
Create an action plan. This step is often missed in the process of goal setting. You get so focused on the outcome that you forget to plan all of the steps that are needed along the way. By writing out the individual steps, and then crossing each one off as you complete it, you’ll realize that you are making progress towards your ultimate goal. This is especially important if your goal is big and demanding, or long-term.
Goal setting is an ongoing activity not just a means to an end. Build in reminders to keep yourself on track. Schedule regular time-slots to review your goals and your progress. You may need to make modifications to your action plan along the way. Stick with it. Celebrate incremental progress and when you reach the end goal celebrate big!