Just about everybody knows what goal setting is, and why it is so beneficial in achieving the things we want to do in life. However, many people have never gone through a process whereby they have actually turned a dream into a goal that has been written down and crystalised it in a way that resonates with them, and that makes it feel like the goal is possible. Statistics show that by merely writing down the goal in such a way that seems achievable, and in a way that connects the person to the goal with emotion, the chances of succeeding at the goal significantly increases.
So, how do we go about writing down a goal? Let’s start at the beginning. What is the difference between a dream and a goal? Simplistically, a dream is something that we would love to achieve someday. A goal is something specific that we want to achieve within a certain timeframe or by a set date. See the difference? A dream is something that we might achieve someday. An expressed goal automatically has the makings of a plan attached to it. Make that dream into a goal, and you are already part of the way there.
One of the most effective ways to write a goal, is to state it in a way that that the goal has already happened, with emotional intensity attached to it which describes the way you will feel when you achieve the goal. For example, if you had a goal to lose some weight, which of the following versions of a written goal would be more effective in helping you visualise and connect to the outcome of the goal.
a) “I want to lose 10kg by December the 1st” or..
b) “It is the 1st of December, and I feel fan-bloody-tastic as I look in the mirror at my new, healthy and toned body. I have lost the 10kg I promised myself I would lose, and I feel so much more alive. I have a tonne of energy, and I look and feel great! Yeeeww!”
I am guessing that you get a better visualisation with the version ‘b’.
Next, it is very beneficial to write down your purpose of the goal. Why are you doing it? What is your reason? Again – use emotion when you state your purpose in order to connect to it. Using the weight loss goal as an example for your purpose, which is more effective?
a) “I want to lose weight to be healthier” or…
b) “I want to lose weight so that I feel fitter and healthier than I have done in ages, so that I can kick the footy with my kids, so that I can look good in my swimmers on the beach!”
You now have your goal, and are clear on why you want to go through all the effort to achieve your goal. But invariably, something will always show up when you are trying to achieve a goal that hinders you in your progress, or distracts you from the task. The best way to handle these is to identify as many of these obstacles that are likely to appear during your goal as possible, and then identify solutions to these obstacles. That way, when the obstacle shows up you will recognise it, and you have already identified a way to deal with it. A simple example of an obstacle using the weight loss example may be that “I won’t be able to get out of bed early to exercise of a morning”. A simple solution for this might be to place the alarm clock far enough away from the bed that you have to get out to turn it off.
Next step is to come up with a plan of how you might be able to achieve this goal. This is a brain dump of all of the possible ways that you could achieve it.. every possible solution no matter how silly it might sound when you are writing it. The point here is to give yourself as many ways as possible to succeed in the completion of the goal. Once you have a list down, you are then able to identify the ‘must do’s’ of the list. These will form the tasks that you work through to achieve your goal.
If your goal is fairly substantial or if it may take a while to complete, it is best to ‘chunk it down’. Chunking involves breaking the goal into smaller pieces or smaller goals which have to be achieved along the way. These could also be seen as milestones of the overall goal. Going back to our weight loss example, if the overall goal was to lose 10kg in 4 months, it may be chunked into smaller goals like losing 2.5kg each month. By chunking the goal down, it allows you to narrow your focus to the next few weeks and keeps the goal in front of you. When we have goals that seem far away, it is easy to lose focus and drift away from the goal.
Next, you should come up with a reward plan. Give yourself something to aim for. Reward yourself upon the successful completion of a ‘chunk’ or milestone task. By identifying how you are going to reward yourself, you allow yourself to feel good about the efforts you have put in!
And finally, the last thing you need is to take action. As soon as you have set the goal, do something immediately towards the achievement of that goal. Never leave the site of a goal without doing something towards the goal. Create instant momentum.
If you would like a free copy of a GoalWorks Goals Work Sheet which follows this process, contact us here and we will send one to you! Print it off and record your goals!
Have a great week!