Zig Ziglar, arguably the most famous motivational speaker of our time once said, “If you aim at nothing, you will hit it every time.” In short, without goals, rewarding accomplishments won’t often follow. Goal setting can be a source of great frustration, leading to self doubt and feelings of failure. Or it can be a source of great personal satisfaction and fulfillment. The difference lies in our preparation, planning and, most importantly, execution of our goal.
If it doesn’t CHALLENGE you, it won’t CHANGE you.
WHEN it comes to goal setting, many times it is tempting to set the bar low. Maybe we set the bar low because we are afraid to fail, maybe we are afraid of the stress of challenges, or maybe, just maybe, we are just being lazy. Don’t plan to be lazy. When setting a goal, it needs to be attainable, yet challenging. We should have to stretch to accomplish our goals. By the same token, our goals should not be totally out of reach. A goal should push us to do better and be within the realm of reason.
A goal not WRITTEN DOWN is just a nice idea.
EVERYONE has wants and desires; the first step to transforming those desires to reality is to write them down. A goal that is written down has a physical presence, giving us something to touch and feel and see. Post your goals where you can see them often as visual reminders. Place sticky notes on the bathroom mirror, make it your phone or computer background, have a reminder in your car; however you can remind yourself daily of your goal. Another great way to start the process of transforming ideas to goals is to become accountable to another person. You can do this in a few ways. First, you can have an accountability partner or partners. Tell one or two close friends about your goal and ask them to check with you periodically on how things are going. They become your human sticky note on the mirror, so to speak. Have a daily text, call, or message scheduled for them to check in with you on your progress and to offer encouragement. The best case would be if your accountability partners actually shared your same goal. Knowing we are responsible for others success is a great way to motivate us when normal methods fail.
“You must have LONG TERM GOALS to keep you from being frustrated by SHORT TERM FAILURES.” -Charles Noble
THERE are basically two types of goals: long term and short term. Long term goals are generally facilitated by the culminating of many successful short term goals. For example, we may have a goal to run a marathon. That would be a long term goal. The short term goals that may accompany our marathon goal could be to run every day, or to get a certain amount of sleep each night. As long term goals are usually (just like they sound) long term, we need to be sure and have regular reminders just like with short term goals. Back to our marathon example, we may get caught up in running everyday or eating healthy and forget that all these small things are for that one big goal, running a marathon. Constantly remembering what our long term goals are will make it easier to accomplish the short term goals.
Goals are dreams with DEADLINES.
A crucial step in goal setting is planning. A plan of action is what will make a goal a reality. After setting a long term goal, make smaller short term goals to reach the long term goal. With each short term goal there should be a plan of how to accomplish it as well as a specific time frame with a deadline. List how you will accomplish the goal, what challenges or obstacles may come up, and what you will do to overcome those challenges. Make sure to include in your plan what your rewards will be for each goal. Many times when we make plans to accomplish a goal we forget to reward ourselves for the small victories. Rewards could include any number of things like money, a day off, a cheat meal, whatever will give you a small respite from the challenge of accomplishing your goal. With rewards however, it is important to maintain discipline after the bonus and remember that the reward is the exception, and not the norm. Many goals have been failed because a day off suddenly turned into a week off. Don’t let rewards distract you, but drive you toward accomplishing a goal.
Failure is not the OPPOSITE of success; it’s a PART of success.
WHETHER a goal is accomplished or failed, both result in an opportunity to re-evaluate and restart. Never be afraid to change your plans. If you are finding that your smaller short term goals are too easy to accomplish, move up your time-frame and set a higher bar. If you are doing everything you can do to accomplish a goal and you’re still coming up short, maybe it’s time to re-evaluate your aim. If a plan isn’t working, don’t be afraid to change the plan, but not the goal. Above all, remember that success is a very personal triumph. It’s important not to measure your success against another person’s accomplishments. With the right goal, proper planning, a good attitude, and hard work, you’re goals today will become your reality tomorrow.