Tuesday, April 17, 2012

How to Tell the Difference Between a Goal and a Nice Thought

Sunday Morning(Photo credit: jspaw)By Debra J Wallace

I remember many years ago attending a motivational seminar on goal setting. The speaker bounced onto the stage (like they do) and the first words out of his mouth were, "of all the people who set goals, 95% will never achieve them."

I remember then doing a quick headcount of the room and seeing around 200 people. So if 95% of us would never achieve our goals, does this mean that 190 of us might as well leave now?

I actually don't remember much of what he said, may have been the shock, but I will never forget the motivating 95% statistic.

That experience though created a very positive outcome for me - I was determined to be part of the 5% of people who did achieve their goals.

Like most things in life, they work well when they are part of a system, so I set about creating my own system for not only setting but more importantly, achieving my goals.

Let me share it with you.

Failure is not an option

When you can say to yourself "I am going to achieve this goal, regardless of circumstances", you are already on the path to success. Who has gone to bed on a Sunday night telling themselves that when they get up tomorrow they are going to lose weight, exercise, go to bed earlier, finish that project this week, only to get to the following Sunday night and have the exact same conversation again?

We let ourselves off the hook too easily, thinking that there is always more time. When you are ready to set a goal where not achieving it is not an option, you will create the circumstances you need to achieve it.

Make it specific

"I am going to exercise and get fit" is not specific. Your goals need to be detailed. "I am going to get up one hour earlier Monday, Wednesday and Saturday, go the gym and run on the treadmill, with a goal that by my birthday on August 8, I will be able to run for 30 minutes without stopping" is a specific goal.

One of the benefits to setting specific goals is that you can accurately see what you need to do to get from where you are today to where you want to be. If my birthday is in August and it's now April, I have four months to get to my goal of being able to run for 30 minutes. I can then plan my training to achieve my goal.

Write it down

Don't keep your goal in your head. It's too easy to become over looked with the thousand other thoughts floating around up there. People who achieve goals ALWAYS document them.

I love goal cards. You can buy blank cards that are the size of a business card, or you can make your own. Write your goal on a card and put it somewhere where you can read it daily. Great places include:
  • on your bathroom mirror
  • next to your bed on the bedside table
  • on your computer
  • in your wallet
Every time you go to the bathroom, go to bed, sit at your computer or open your wallet to make a purchase, you can read your goal card.

Become emotional

Have you ever set a goal, not achieved it and then felt disappointed in yourself? It's not a great feeling is it? Let's turn that feeling around to how you feel when you achieve a goal. Which feeling do you prefer?

If you have made a decision to achieve a goal, have made it specific and written it on a goal card, it's time to love it!

Let's say your goal is to save $5,000 by August so that you can book a holiday for your family to a tropical destination. After you have worked out how much you need to save each week or month and have an idea of where you want to go, it's time to take the holiday in your mind.

Go to the travel agent and get the brochures, decide where you are going to stay, find out exactly how much your holiday will cost and start imagining yourself there. Get your family involved. Have regular conversations around 'I can't wait to go snorkelling or to lie near the pool and read a book'.

When you can become emotionally attached to your goal, not achieving it is not an option.

Set big goals

We get one life so let's make the most of it. I am a prolific goal setter, I have lots of them. I love to stretch myself to achieve my goals and I love the feeling of ticking off a completed goal.

I also have a few big goals though. These are the things that, from where I am right now seem like a huge stretch of reality. What they do though, is keep me from staying in my comfort zone. If you want to achieve something great in your life, chances are you are going to need to have times when you are very uncomfortable in order to achieve it.

Let's say you are currently earning $60,000 a year and you have a goal to be earning $200,000 in five years. Is it achievable? Yes of course it is, however if you just keep doing what you are doing right now, your chances of achieving this goal are remote.

You may need to increase your skills, change your career path, become self-employed or even create something and earn an income from it. You may also need to make some quite radical changes to your personal beliefs and habits.

If you are addicted to watching TV every night but would love to use your evenings to create a business whilst still keeping your day job, you may need to change some habits.

If you believe that earning a lot of money will be hard and you are not good enough to do it, chances are your goal date is going to come and go and your income won't be much different to what it is today. Decide to turn off the tv three nights each week and spend three hours creating your own business and your results will more than likely be a lot different.

If you don't want to be part of that 95%, take a careful look at your goals. Are they real goals or are they just nice thoughts?

To ensure they are real goals, you need to:
  • decide that failure is not an option;
  • make them specific;
  • write them down;
  • become emotionally attached.
Do these things, along with setting some big goals that will stretch you and you will find that you are living your best life yet!

Debra Wallace is a home-based business coach who has a passion for helping women create their own businesses working from home. She is an advocate in the area of personal development and helping people to be the best they can be.

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