Everyone knows about goal setting – don’t they?
There are people who don’t believe in goal setting, preferring to just take life as it comes. The majority, who believe goal setting is a valuable exercise, invariably nod their heads in agreement about the power of writing down their goals. Yet very few do it! And that leads me to tip #1…
Tip #1 – Write the goal down dammit!
Research* shows that goals that are written down have a 25% greater chance of being successful. By writing your goal down you can read it again and again. Doing so puts the goal at the centre of your attention and you’ll often think of more detail you can add to the final outcome you’re seeking. In that way, your goal setting becomes a work in progress that becomes clearer over time.
Tip #2 – Set goals that are precise
That brings me to another issue people have with setting goals; that their goal is too vague. A goal needs to be crystal clear – especially in your own mind. Without a precise outcome, how will you know when you’ve achieved it? By definition this means that it needs to have plenty of detail in it – writing the goal makes it easier to add details. Please refer to tip #1.
For example, rather than just saying, “I want an overseas holiday.” Determine what that holiday might look, sound and feel like. Do you want a winter holiday or a summer holiday? Do you want to go in a group, alone or with your significant other? Where in the world do you want to holiday? What time of year? What do you want to do on your holiday; lie on a beach, chill out and swim for two weeks, go on an adventure, do a ‘foodie’ trip?
Yep, there’s definitely a lot to think about
That means a great deal that needs to be specified in your goal. It’s this level of detail that makes your goal begin to feel exciting and compelling. Writing your goal in detail gives your something to feel excited about. Two other things occur when your write down your goal and add in the detail;
- It activates the RAS at the back of your brain. This means you’ll more easily notice opportunities that will lead you to your goal.
- You begin to visualise what you want in more and more detail. The visualisation process will help you add detail to your written goal and the written goal will enable you to add detail to your visualisation. It’s a double whammy!
Another kind of vague goal
Saying that you want ‘more or less’ of something is another form of vague goal. For example, ‘I want to be more organised’ or ‘I’m going to eat less sugar.” Again – very vague. In fact, if you ate one teaspoonful of sugar less than you did yesterday, you would have achieved your goal. Details are needed to make the goal useful and meaningful.
So, ‘I want to be more organised’ might become: “I’m going to be organised at work. I’m going to make sure to clear my email in box everyday, leave my desk tidy, plan for the next day at 4.00 pm, keep diary notes of what I’ve done each day.” Etc, etc.
The sugar goal could become, “I’m going to reduce my sugar intake by 50% in the first month and by 90% within three months.”
You can see that this way of goal setting is a lot more meaningful and measurable, yes?
Tip #3 – Read your goal regularly
Reading your goal also contributes to it being achieved because doing so reminds you of where you want to go and helps your focus and motivation. Reading it out loud regularly will bring it to the forefront of your mind and prompt you to take action. You can’t read it if you haven’t written it down in the first place! Refer to tip #1!
Tip #4 – Visualise the end result
Visualising the goal each day as if you’ve reached it will also help you stay motivated and in the right frame of mind. Use all your senses to do this; imagine having the goal and experience what you’ll see, hear and feel (and perhaps even test and smell) when you have it. A physical image of your final outcome can also help you focus. So if that overseas holiday is your goal, cut a photo (or 2) out of a travel mag of your desired destination and put it somewhere you can see it easily and regularly. If your goal is more abstract, try to find an image that represents the goal for you. The idea is that when you look at the image, it reminds you of your goal and keeps your attention on it.
I know these tips aren’t rocket science
But implementing them can be the difference between really having your goal lift off, or grounding it before you even start.
Summary: follow the tips
- Tip #1 – Write the goal down dammit!
- Tip #2 – Set goals that are precise
- Tip #3 – Read your goal regularly
- Tip #4 – Visualise the end result