Few dispute the importance of setting goals. It only makes sense that having a defined objective increases the likelihood of success! Effective goals have several characteristics that help to assure a positive outcome. Have you worded the goal in a way that ensures your success? Have you adequately prioritized the goal?
By incorporating a few strategic ideas into your next goal setting session, you can greatly increase your odds of success.
Try these strategies to help make your goal a reality:
1. Choose the best goal for you. Consider all possibilities before you select the topic of your goal.
A simple, but effective exercise is to list 5-10 possible goals that you believe would improve your life. Then ask yourself, “Which of these goals would benefit my life the most right now?”
A more meaningful goal has a better chance of being achieved.
2. A goal statement must have a deadline. Without a deadline, your goal will lack any sense of time urgency.
A recommended way of formatting your goal is: “On or before 06/01/xx, I will have completed specific actions #1 and #2 to lose at least 15 lbs.” This statement provides a clear endpoint, but still allows for the goal to be accomplished sooner.
It is generally more effective to limit the timeframe to 12 weeks or less. If a goal will require a greater period of time, break the goal down into smaller, multiple goals.
3. Leave the results open ended when appropriate. Just as you allowed the goal to be accomplished sooner than the specified date in the above example, where appropriate, also allow your results to surpass your goal.
Notice the portion of the goal above: “lose at least 15 lbs.” Wording the goal statement in this fashion allows for greater results, assuming that is appropriate for you. Avoid limiting your results if it’s unnecessary to do so.
Here are some examples of goals that can usually be left open ended:
i) Money-based goals: Would anyone ever want to limit themselves here?
ii) Weight-loss goals: Depending on the amount of weight that needs to be lost, losing a couple more pounds would usually be received as good news.
4. Include your responsibilities. Always include specific actions in your goal statement.
Engineers frequently state that something is “necessary, but not sufficient.” For example, an egg is necessary to bake a cake but it’s not sufficient; other ingredients are also required. By including specific actions in your statement, you’re claiming responsibility for doing everything that needs to be done to accomplish the goal.
5. Prioritize your goal. Your brain is inundated with countless things every day. It needs to know that this goal is more important than all the other tasks it faces each day.
One way to accomplish this is by utilizing repetition. After first setting your goal, write it down 25 times. Now notice how you feel about the goal. If you feel anything less than motivated and excited, there is some question in your mind about it; try to figure out what’s holding back your enthusiasm so you can move forward with confidence.
Strong, positive emotions can also be used as a prioritization tool. Imagine what it would feel like to achieve your goal. Imagine the ideal scene. What would you see, smell, think, and feel? The better the vision, the better the odds of success.
Every day, write your goal one time and perform the visualization process several times. This will reinforce the priority of your goal.
Consider these ideas the next time you set a goal. By using these tips, your odds of success will increase greatly. While there are multiple ways to set goals, the process above has been proven to be highly effective time and time again. Try it on your next goal; you’re sure to be pleasantly surprised.