December 7

The Fundamentals of Goal Setting

Most people understand the value of having short-term and long-term goals, but for some reason, they are unable to move forward. They set goals, but due dates and deadlines pass them by. Little progress is made, and they don’t feel any closer to achieving what they set out to do. Does this feel familiar?

Have you ever tried to get to a destination without a roadmap or directions?

You can make all the preparations you want, but if you haven’t planned your trip or entered an address into the GPS, then you’ll drive around aimlessly, making unplanned stops, hitting dead ends, retracing your steps, unsure of when or how you’ll arrive. You will continuously expend energy with little to show for it, becoming increasingly frustrated and upset. You might even contemplate canceling the entire journey. It’s obvious; you aren’t getting anywhere because you don’t know where you’re headed.

Transfer this to a business context and it’s sure to feel familiar.

If you’re a coach, entrepreneur, or a business owner, you have to plug in the destination and pick your directions. It’s you who drives the business. You are the one who sets measurable targets and expectations, fires up yours and other’s performance, and builds in accountability. Even if you work with a team, they rely on you to provide inspiration and direction. All of this is what’s required to realize your vision.

You also need a powerful way to set the specific goals that will help you get there. Define precisely what you want to achieve, and you’ll know where you need to focus your attention. Spell out the action steps that ultimately lead to your desired objective and you’ll steer clear of any distractions on the route.

Imagine you’re planning a journey. Your suitcases are packed, your car serviced, and your plants watered. You organize your family and load up the car. You hit the road all together feeling excitement and a sense of anticipation. Down the road, you come to the first stop light. You don’t know whether to turn right or left, so you make a guess and turn right. You then come to an intersection a long way away from home with multiple exits. Which one are you going to take? Your sense of anticipation turns to a sense of panic as you drive in circles trying to decide. The children are screaming, you’re running out of gas, you’re getting hungry, and your dream journey has turned into a nightmare. This is what happens if you leave home without a clear destination.

Goals are your destination. They: 

  • Provide direction
  • Concentrate your attention on your intended results and keep you away from distractions
  • Stretch and challenge you so you can see what you’re truly capable of
  • Inspire you to put in your best effort and tackle any obstacles that arise
  • In these ways, goals lead you to your planned results. When you formulate your goals, there are some key points to bear in mind.

Goals need to be:

  • Positive.
    Goals should express what you want to happen, not what you want to avoid. For example: “I increase my monthly income and easily pay my bills,” rather than “I no longer struggle to meet my monthly financial commitments.” Concentrate your attention on your intended results and keep you away from distractions
  • Personal.
    Make your goals more motivating by using the first person and relating outcomes to yourself. For example: “I am happy and fulfilled when I read the positive comments my customers leave” is better than “Customers consistently give positive feedback on our products.”
  • Present Tense.
    It is more powerful to articulate a goal in the present tense, as if it has already happened, versus writing about an unknown future. For example: “I am the go-to person for business coaching” rather than “I will be the go-to person for business coaching.”

These points may seem so simple that you don’t bother with them. But it’s worth the effort to make these small but important changes. You’ll feel more excited about your goals and therefore more likely to achieve them.

Interested in learning more about setting powerful goals for 2022?

Check out my Goal Setting and Vision Board Workshop to Rock Your 2022!

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