What is your goal in life? Have you ever asked yourself that question? Or has somebody ever caught you by surprise with it? Unfortunately, a lot of people today have lost the art of goal setting. They live out each day as it passes, with no definite finish line ahead.
Others have a vague idea of becoming successful in the future, but that’s about it. I’ve heard many people say that they want a house of their own. While such goals are inspiring to achieve, they’re too broad and are more likely to remain dreams rather than reality. What use is a goal when you’re far from likely in reaching it?
This is where effective tips for goal setting come in. These tips spell the difference between dreams and reality. If you’re ready to start checking off items from your goals list, read on!
1. Set achievable goals
One of the most important tips for goal setting is to set achievable goals. Do not set a goal of earning a hundred thousand dollars by the end of the year if you’re barely making a thousand dollars monthly. Those kinds of “big jump” goals are bordering on wishful thinking and are a lot more difficult to realize.
Yes, it’s important to dream big and never let the ultimate prize out of sight; but you should do it gradually – to make it more believable and attainable.
Using the example above, you could set a goal of earning two thousand dollars by the end of the year. After you have achieved that aim, your next goal is to make three thousand dollars, and so on. Ultimately, you could reach the point where you could set a goal of earning a hundred thousand dollars by year end… but not until you’ve passed through several intermediate goals.
2. It’s all in the details
The more detailed your goal is, the more effective it becomes. By being very specific and putting a lot of effort into creating a goal, you are already halfway done with the job. Your mind has already mapped out the outcome of your goal. That alone helps you a lot.
For example, instead of writing down that you want to have a nice job after graduation, write down that you want to become a member of your favorite magazine’s editorial team. It instructs your subconscious mind to focus on something more concrete, gives you something more to hope for, and energizes you to achieve your goal.
3. Allow for flexibility
If there is really no way you can meet your goal, don’t stop yourself from tweaking it a bit.
If your goal is to move out of your parents’ home in two years, and you still haven’t been able to do it after all your efforts, you can always stretch that deadline for a few days, weeks, or months.
This allows you some leeway and still keeps you dedicated to moving into your own home one day. Don’t keep changing the deadline though, because then you’ll never be able to cross that item off your list.
Here’s the point I’m trying to emphasize: You should be dedicated to achieving any goal within a certain time limit, but you should never give up if things don’t go as planned. The important thing is that you do your best to achieve it, and that you’re flexible enough to know when you should alter your plans.
4. Treat yourself after achieving every goal
It’s important that you reward yourself for a job well done. If your goal is to finish writing that article, you can promise yourself a nice bowl of ice cream after as a treat.
This motivates you to do your best to achieve your goal. This reward system works quite well for goals that are a little less fun to fulfill.
5. Keep things positive
When writing down your goals, try to keep your words as positive as possible. In fact, you can do this with tip number four. You can write down, “Pass the exam and go celebrate at the best restaurant in town.”
That’s definitely more effective than writing down, “Pass the exam or else mom will take the laptop away.”
6. Stay committed to your goals
Don’t go about setting goals and then dropping them once the going gets tough. Goals aren’t always easy to achieve. They may require time, hard work and even sacrifice.
If you’re scared of a little hard work, then you’ll only be setting yourself up for failure. Giving up on one goal too quickly also weakens your chance of completing even one goal on your list. Stay committed to your goal unless it’s more practical to change course.
7. Make your goals coherent
Don’t set goals that might conflict with another goal each other. Many people fail to notice how contradictory their goals are. Look at your goals list, read it more carefully, and take note of any goals that conflict with each other.
For example, your dream of becoming a champion sumo wrestler would offset a goal of having 6-pack abs. (Ok, this is extreme, but you get the drift.)
Goal setting need not be a waste of time. As long as you stay realistic, committed and positive, I see no reason why you can’t achieve your goals. So do things the right way and you won’t have to worry about setting yourself up for failure.