Business Management: Psychology of Goal Setting
In order to create the best year of your life, you must know the course you want to chart and the life you wish to live. Goal setting is an excellent way to start the path of life transformation. Unfortunately, however, the majority of people quit before successfully attaining their goals! Though they have the best of intentions they either fail to embrace to the right mindset or are simply unaware of how to correctly go about setting goals that will ensure successful completion. Following are 7 fail-proof goal setting steps that will have you on your way to living the best year of your life!
Step 1: Focus on 1 or 2 goals at a time
Though you may be dissatisfied in a variety of areas of your life, I strongly recommend that you do NOT try tackling all of them at one time. First of all, change can be stressful and frustrating if you take steps that are too big or you take too many all at once. Second, in order for you to successfully attain your goals, you must have a laser-beam focus. Obviously, this is impossible to do if you are focused one too many things at one time. Your likelihood for success is much higher if you take baby steps and stick to one or two goals at a time.
If you choose to work on a variety of goals at the same time, your focus is scattered everywhere, you won’t get anything accomplished, and goal attainment will not occur. Once you achieve your goal, set another.
Step 2: Ensure that your goals are specific and measurable
Be as specific as possible when determining the “what” and the “when” of your goals. Articulate how you will measure success and exactly what you are trying to achieve. For example, setting the goal, “I want to lose weight”, is too general. A better choice would be to set a specific, quantifiable, and measurable goal. For example: “I will lose 25 pounds.” This makes it easy for you to track your progress along the way and gives you something tangible for which to strive.
In order to increase the specificity of your goal, ensure that you have a time-specific deadline in place. It could be 1 week, 1 month, 3 months, 6 months, or one-year in the future. Using the example above, I would now state, “I will lose 25 pounds by June 1st of this year.” When you have deadlines, you automatically work toward those pending deadlines as top priorities. They become your focus. Working toward a goal without a definite deadline will diminish your commitment.
Step 3: Create objectives (action steps) to achieve your goal
Now that your goals are set, the next step is to create the objectives that will plot your course and create astonishing results. To clarify, your goal defines WHAT you want to accomplish, whereas your objectives define HOW you will accomplish your goal. Your objectives become the action plan/baby steps that you will take in order to reach the goal you have set. It is very helpful to break your goal into action steps due to the overwhelm that peering at a long-term goal as one single item might cause.
Following are a few example objectives (action steps) for the weight loss goal:
· Prepare for all meals the night before and bring breakfast, lunch, and 2 snacks to work daily. · Drink 64 oz. of water each day. · Consume 1,500 calories per day. · Every Sunday evening determine work-out schedule for the upcoming week (including the dates and times). · Complete 45 minutes of cardiovascular activity 3 days per week. · Complete 30 minutes of weight training exercises 3 days per week.
Step 4: Connect to why achieving the goal is so important to you
What is your big, compelling why? Meaning, why is it so important to achieve each goal you have selected right now in your life? What are the wonderful things you will experience as a result of completing your goal (e.g., happiness, energy, balance, fulfillment, health, etc.)? Becoming crystal clear regarding your why is essential to successful goal attainment.
You will work harder toward achieving your goal if you have a strong reason for wanting to create change in this area of your life right here, right now. Also, you want your why to be able to reengage, motivate, and inspire you when times are tough and you want to quit.
The more you focus on your “why,” the more like likely you will be to achieve the desires of your heart. You can accomplish ANY goal if you have a big enough why.
Step 5: Keep your goals visible and refer to them often
How many times have you set goals and never looked at them again? Or perhaps you have set the same exact goals over and over and over again because they are out of sight, out of mind, and aren’t achieved?
In order to stay focused on your goals and their achievement, I recommend that you are reminded of them on a daily and weekly basis. You can do this by typing them as the screensaver of your computer, as the wallpaper on your phone, or pinned up on your bathroom mirror. The point is to have them visible so that each day you’re reminded of what you are striving to accomplish throughout the year.
Step 6: Enlist Support
As you work toward your goals, it can be very helpful to ask someone in your life to be your accountability partner. Consider asking your hubby, a friend, or a coach to help you stick to the goals and objectives you have set for your life. I would also encourage you to develop a schedule in which you regularly check in with him/her at least once per week. Perhaps you do so every Sunday evening at 7:00 pm as a review of the week that has just passed and to plan for the week that lies ahead. It is so beneficial knowing that you have someone with whom you are going to check in with and report your progress. Sometimes just knowing this is going to happen will be enough to get you moving. You don’t want to let the person down by not following through with your commitments, right?!
The importance of having an accountability partner when striving to attain your goals cannot be denied. According to the American Society of Training and Development (ASTD) the probability of completing a goal is as follows:
· Hear an idea: 10% · Consciously decide to adopt it: 25% · Decide when you will do it: 40% · Plan how you will do it: 50% · Commit to someone else you will do it: 65% · Have a specific accountability appointment with the person committed to: 95%
Notice how the more proactive you are and the degree of support you receive in regards to your goal, the higher the probability that you will achieve it.
Step 7: Gauge Your Progress.
Create a chart, diagram or collage that will help you gauge your progress for each goal. For example, as it relates to the weight loss goal, you can craft a monthly poster board that lists all of your action steps for each day of the week. Each day, as you complete the items, you can check them off and have a visual representation of your progress! This is a not only a great visual to measure your advancement, it is also an excellent reminder that you need to reward yourself and your accomplishments on a regular basis (e.g., at the end of each week that you have completed your action steps leading to your goal).
In conclusion, I would like to remind you that it takes 21 days, on average, to create a new habit. As such, be patient with yourself. If you fall off your path, don’t beat yourself up! Instead, get back up, pull your take charge mama pants on, and start again where you fell off. Before you know it, you will accomplish your every goal and have created the best year of your life.