The goal in goal setting is always to achieve the goals we set.
However, getting derailed along the journey to achievement is, sadly, more common than not.
So, how do you stay on track and avoid the disappointment, self-reproach, and slumping confidence of not achieving your goals? Is it the goals you choose? Is it luck or timing? Is it you?
Goal setting might seem simple, and it is easy to set a goal. It’s staying on track to achieve it that’s the hard part. But take heart—goal setting is a skill you can learn.
How to set life-changing goals.
The first thing to realize is that there’s actually no such thing as “completing” your goals. As long as you’re growing and learning, you’ll always keep adopting new goals and making new progress. The more you learn, the more you’ll want to discover.
Your goals will draw you into situations, relationships, and endeavors that will force you to adapt, change, and improve. Constant improvement will be its own reward and will fuel your desire for even more learning and growth. Therefore, it’s best to think about your bigger future as involving a balanced approach to life and your goals.
Your success depends on it.
Goal setting offers tangible benefits to you and your business, too. Consider these statistics from a Harvard Business School study on goal setting. Prior to graduation:
- 84% of the class had set no goals at all
- 13% of the class had set written goals but had no concrete plans
- 3% of the class had both written goals and concrete plans
Ten years later, the 13% of people in the class who had set written goals were making twice as much money compared to those who had set no goals at all. Even more impressive? The 3% of the class that had both written goals and a plan were making ten times as much.
The good news is that effective goal setting is a strategic process, one that can be strengthened over a lifetime of setting meaningful goals. Stick to the following five success strategies to keep on track, stay motivated, and achieve the results you set out to accomplish.
Want to develop your goal-setting skills? Download our Entrepreneur’s Guide To Goal Setting today to gain the tools and confidence you need to set goals effectively.
Our Top 5 Strategies For Setting And Achieving Goals
- Visualize a new reality in Technicolor.
All goal setting starts with your seeing something in the future that doesn’t currently exist. Visualize your future in as much detail as your imagination allows—what it looks like, what it feels like, the conditions that will define it as a success, and everything you want to be true when you make that vision a reality.
The more details you specify, the more your mind takes ownership of the result.
- Choose your words wisely, and write them down.
Goal setters who write down their goals are even more likely to have success getting to where they want to be. There’s a brain-to-hand connection that comes into play, and no, the digital route doesn’t achieve the same effect.
Goals are about articulating your desires and telling yourself where you’re headed. It’s important to use the right words to specify what you want and to write them down. This goal-setting process allows you to create the kind of future you want, independent of what others want you to do or are doing themselves.
- Set a realistic time frame.
Once you have a clear vision and have filled in the details, your mind needs a deadline to take it seriously. As Dan Sullivan says, “A goal without a deadline is just a slogan.”
The time frame is critical. Dan has also said that there’s no such thing as an unrealistic goal, only an unrealistic deadline. When you set your deadline, make sure it’s challenging and exciting, but also achievable.
- Watch for strategic by-products.
These are the surprises, the unexpected things that happen off to the side, on the way to achieving a specific goal. All you need to do is develop the ability to notice them.
Sometimes these by-products turn out to be even more important than the original goal. But if you hadn’t set the original goal and put things in motion, nothing would have happened as a result.
- Set goals in all areas of your life.
Your life has many different dimensions. Goals are the fuel for growth in all of these areas—personal health and fitness, relationships, business growth, personal finances, and teamwork are just a few.
As you look at your most crucial goals, consider all time frames, from the very short-range to the end of your life. Also look for the underlying motivation for your goals. Why is the goal important to you? What difference will it make in your life?
Goal setting and staying out of “The Gap.”
Once you know how to set goals that truly move you forward, you’ll always be growing as a person and as an entrepreneur. Surround yourself with other goal setters, and your successes will multiply tenfold or more.
But keep in mind that even the most successful entrepreneurs, those who are at the top of their game, with tremendous achievements and all the benefits that brings to their lives, can feel like failures.
When we picture our future, we have an ideal in our minds in terms of what kind of progress we want to achieve in all kinds of different areas. The purpose of the ideal is to motivate us emotionally. It’s exciting to move into a future that we see as bigger, better, and more rewarding, guided by the ideal picture of what we want to achieve.
It’s important, though, to recognize that the ideal is not a measuring stick. It’s meant only to inspire and illuminate the path ahead so we can see what our goals should be. A goal, on the other hand, is a point that we can actually reach because it has measurable attributes.
One of the most essential tools in The Strategic Coach Program is what we call The Gap And The Gain. It helps you to always keep your confidence at its peak.
Measure forward against the ideal, and you’re headed for The Gap, the space between where you currently stand and your ideal. When you’re in The Gap, you feel like you’re failing, becoming disillusioned, dissatisfied, and unhappy with yourself—and your confidence plummets.
Measure back from where you are currently to where you started, and you’re rewarded by seeing all the progress you’ve made. You’ll feel happy and satisfied about how things are going, and your confidence will take an immediate leap. We call this The Gain.
Get your daily confidence boost.
At the end of each day, regardless of what happened, record what your biggest “wins” were. Then, plan what your biggest wins will be for tomorrow.
This will keep you focused on our goals while recognizing and celebrating your achievements along the way. It’s that easy.
Lifetime growth and goal setting, hand in hand.
Growth is at the root of everything that gives us a feeling of meaning, progress, and accomplishment. And people who are always making plans, measuring their progress, increasing their performance, and taking on new capabilities are just a lot of fun to be around!
In that case, why would anyone want to stop growing?
The best way to create a bigger and better future is to always be growing. And it’s the power of goal setting that fuels that growth.