6 things you need to know about setting goals
Have you realized that it’s almost the middle of the year? How are your New Year’s resolutions going? Whether you made a New Year’s resolution or have simply tried to commit to something since then, you’ll know that within a few months those resolutions often end up unfulfilled. So what is the trick to keeping those goals on track and ensuring you achieve them?
My secret is answering six crucial questions when outlining your goals to ensure you can make them happen.
No matter what goals you set for yourself, chances are you’re going to need someone else’s help to accomplish them. The key is to identify the people who are able to help you achieve your endeavors on your road to success.
The first person to consider is a mentor. A mentor is someone who has already achieved significant success and who you can learn and get advice from. Finding someone who has already accomplished the kind of success you are pursuing, and building a relationship with them can help you achieve your goals faster.
In addition to a mentor, an important person to have on your side when setting your goals is someone who can help build your network. Having the right connections, particularly in business, can significantly improve the odds for your success. This person can help connect you to the right people, making the introductions you need to achieve your goals.
Finally, whose cooperation do you need? Do you need an investor or client to say yes in order to achieve your goal? No matter what your goal is, there’s a good chance that achieving it means getting the cooperation of someone else, the person who needs to say ‘yes’. This usually calls for some persuasive efforts on your part so it’s important to remember to make your goals appealing to them as well.
What exactly are your goals? What do you want to accomplish?
These seem like fairly basic questions but the key here is to be specific. Specifics are crucial when outlining your goals because it makes them clear and attainable, and helps you assess when you have achieved them.
For example, a goal to ‘get more clients’ is a generalization and has no specific point to reach; there is no measurable way to asses when you have achieved the goal. It also lacks inspiration and this is a common mistake people make when setting goals. If your goals don’t inspire you, you won’t be motivated to achieve them.
A better goal would be to ‘secure five more clients on a 36-month contract by June 30th’. By rewording the goal and being more specific you are able to visualize it, which allows you to focus your efforts and actually achieve it.
Some other ‘what’ questions to ask yourself to help achieve your success are:
What are my strengths?
What are my challenges?
What do I need to do to accomplish my goal?
By answering these questions, you are providing clarification on what you need to consider when achieving your goals, keeping things in perspective, and in turn making sure you stay on track.
In order for a ‘goal’ to actually be a goal, you need to set a measurement of time to achieve it.
Having goals with deadlines helps you identify the work that needs to be done to get there, and allows you to allocate your time effectively in order to accomplish them.
If your goals don’t have timeframes, then you don’t have a way to priorities your time and in turn, your efforts to fulfill your goals will become redundant.
Setting ‘checkpoints’ throughout the journey to achieve each goal can also be very valuable. Rather than just setting an end date for when the goal needs to be accomplished, setting dates in between for when certain things should be in place will help break things down into steps and make each goal more attainable. This also allows you to check your progress and evaluate your approach to achieving each goal.
As well as considering the physical ‘where’ of where you need to be to achieve your goals, whether it be at home, work, interstate or even overseas, you need to consider where you are in life.
Depending on how long you have given yourself to reach your goal it may, over time, be necessary to reflect on where you currently are.
For example, if your goal was to pay off your mortgage in 10 years, it’s important to include the above mentioned ‘checkpoints’ to also confirm where you are financially. Unforeseen circumstances can and will arise so your long-term goals may need to be reassessed from time to time.
Another question to ask is where will your goal take you when you achieve it? It’s always important to be prepared for what comes next to keep you on the road to success.
It may seem like an obvious question but it’s important to dig a little deeper here. Ask yourself why you want to achieve your goals.
By ascertaining why, you want to achieve something it gives you a sense of purpose and direction, and makes achieving the goal more fulfilling.
Give your goals some life by listing all the compelling reasons why you want them. It will be sure to motivate you further and give you the fuel you need to stay focused and keep moving toward them.
Commit to yourself and stay focused.
Whatever the reason you chose your goals – whether it is because you wanted to be a better version of yourself, or have a more fulfilling life, or achieve something great – there’s a reason you wanted to accomplish them, so give yourself the power and the priority to make them happen.
Write down your goals, and better yet include pictures. When we can actually see something it becomes more powerful and motivates us further.
Want a new car? Save a picture of it on your desktop! Having a constant visual in front of you can keep you focused and improve your clarity.
When you know what you want, you become more resourceful and alert to things that can help you reach your goals, and you also become more aware of distractions that take you off your path.
Finally, make the decision and just do it. Stop making excuses for why you can’t fulfil your goals and choose to believe in all the reasons why you can!
Setting goals takes hard work and commitment but in the end we set goals for ourselves because we want to achieve something great. So remember: the time is going to pass anyway; you can either look back and think ‘I wish I had of’, or you can look forward and think ‘wow, what’s next?’