Six Simple Factors for Successful Goal Setting

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It feels good when a goal is achieved.

However, the commitment and patience it takes to stick with a goal and then see it all the way to the end is not trivial. It takes courage, faith and a little goal setting know-how to keep the good feelings coming.

Achieving your goals can provide the energy and the confidence needed to continue setting more goals. Goals help you see where you are today and where you want to be in the future.

Goals are the fuel that keeps you moving forward.

Goals can vary in size and effort, but successful goal setting relies on the following six factors. When you combine these simple, yet effective factors and allow them to work together you will find lasting goal setting success:

  1. It’s conceivable
    If you can think it, you can likely achieve it. Must goals start with an idea; a vision. Goals are dreams you want to accomplish. When you use your senses to see, hear, smell or touch your goals then they become more tangible; more approachable and more real.

The first task in goal setting is to clearly visualize what you want to achieve. Spend time considering what you want and then burn this goal into your mind. Once there, the chances of success increase significantly.

 

  • It has to be believable
    After conceiving a goal, your excitement runs high. You can see the thing you want to gain and with a large dose of enthusiasm you set out to get it. But something terrible can happen along the way – you allow others to tell you that you can’t do it.

 

It only takes one or two negative people to put doubt in your mind. An often inaccurate belief system kicks in and you start believing you can’t do it either. Old tapes play in your head; the tapes that say you are not worthy or smart enough to have what you want.

Learn to replace these lies with the truth. The truth tells you that you are worthy to have whatever you conceive. The truth tells you to believe in your goal because you breathed life into it when you imagined it.

 

  • It must be achievable
    Successful goal setting is about achievement. The goals you set are intended to be achieved. To do so, be certain to make them achievable. This starts with being realistic.

 

Even though you have conceived a goal and you believe in its value (and in yourself), now it’s time to be practical and put together a plan to attain it. The expression, “You can’t an elephant in one bite,” is especially true in the context of goal setting. Make a plan to eat the whole elephant (your goal), but begin by taking small, deliberate and calculated bites.

See the whole picture first and then put together this plan with the knowledge gained from past experiences. When an obstacle lands in your path, don’t be afraid to ask for help. Just as there are some negative people in your life, there are also well-meaning people who care about your success. Reach out to these people and allow them to be a positive, helpful influence.

 

  • It must be measurable
    Goals need to be specific and measurable so you can gauge your progress and know when a goal has been met. Asking questions like, “When,” “How much,” and “How will I know it has been accomplished?” provide the most common units of measure when assessing goal completion.

 

If you are a freelance writer, for example, a measurable goal might be something like, “I want to publish two articles in Vanity Fair and GQ by May 1.”

This measurable goal has three important parts: (1) It states how many articles; (2) indicates where the articles are to be published and (3) provides a timeline for completion. In this example, the writer will know exactly when the goal is accomplished. Measurable goals not only provide direction; they also give closure so you will know when to move on to the next one.

 

  • It must be stated with no alternatives
    In war, when lives are at stake, there is no alternative to victory. Seldom is there the same life and death consequence in the business world, but the stakes can feel just as high sometimes.

 

When setting a goal, it must be stated with a firm “all-or-nothing” way of thinking. A soft goal isn’t really a goal at all – it’s a hope. You can hope to be successful or you can plan to be successful. Setting goals with no alternatives leads to the success you deserve.

 

  • It must be something you want to do
    At the end of the day, successful goal setting is about passion. If you have passion for a goal then you are more likely to accomplish it. Your passion gives you the energy to keep moving forward in spite of the negative voices you hear or the obstacles you encounter.

 

Generally, people don’t do anything until they are ready. When setting a goal, if your attitude is anything less than passionate, then you have probably set the wrong goal.

How do you know if you have passion for a goal? The answer is simple: Make a list of the major goals you want to accomplish. The one that jumps off the page and lands right in the middle of your heart is something you may want to do.

Believe in this one. Make a plan to achieve it. Measure your progress as you go and be resolute that there are no alternatives. When you do, you have mastered the simple factors of successful goal setting.

Written on 3/5/2010 by Alex Blackwell. Alex writes for The BridgeMaker, an honestly-written blog about faith, inspiration and personal change. To receive twice-weekly articles subscribe here. Photo Credit: lululemon athletica
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