Does anyone set goals anymore? In this age of immediate gratification, over extended credit and the internet that provides just about anything you need day or night, is there even a reason to set goals?
Of course there is. We need goals so we can achieve great things, so we can become masters at that which we are passionate and so that we don’t stagnate. We need to set goals so that we can grow. Without goals we wouldn’t have gone to the moon, we wouldn’t have the internet, we wouldn’t have breakfast all day at certain fast food restaurants.
Goals are important, and setting them is easy, reaching them is another story.
- You Can’t Reach A Goal If You Never Set One – You have to know what you want to achieve before you can set out to achieve it. What do you want to do? Do you want to look better in that bathing suit or do you want the number on the scale to go down? If it’s the former you might join a gym and start a weight lifting program to get into better shape. If the number on the scale is all that matters to you then you need to start cutting out calories each day (exercise helps too, but it isn’t as affective as cutting calories to lose weight). Take some time and figure out what you want to achieve. How you’re going to get there doesn’t matter, you just need to know what it is you want.
- Write It Down – When you write something down it instantly becomes something you’re more likely to achieve. If you don’t write it down it can be easily forgotten or ignored. Take it a step further and write your goal on Facebook or shout it out on Twitter.
- Set a SMART Goal – Setting a SMART goal means you set a goal that is: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-Bound. In other words your goal should be something concrete that you know when you’ve reached it. Using a calendar or planner (or app on your phone) is a great way to keep track of your goal and where you are on the journey to reaching it. It goes without saying that your goal should be one that you can reach. Don’t set yourself up for failure by setting a goal of flying a commercial airline within 6 months unless you’ve got your pilot’s license already. Don’t set a goal that is unhealthy if achieved either. If your goal is to lose 20 pounds, do it in a reasonable time.
- Make A Plan – How will you reach your goal? What steps will you need to take to achieve your goal. The steps you take will be different for each goal but the process is the same – each step builds on itself propelling you forward in your journey. We don’t run before we’ve learned how to walk and we don’t walk until we’ve learned how to crawl. What do you need to do to start reaching your goal. Write down each step and then follow the steps until your find success!
- Get Back Up Again – Depending on your goal, you may falter from time to time. That’s ok. Failure is okay, and there’s plenty to be learned from it, so don’t fear it. If you fall down, brush yourself off, get back up and keep trying.
- Choose a Different Goal – When you reach your goal it’s time to choose another one and start the process over. Conversely, it might be time to choose another goal because the one you’ve been working on isn’t working out and you’ve lost interest. Sometimes it’s okay to quit. Freakonomics has a wonderful piece on quitting, it’s worth the listen or read.