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One of the keys to achieving your greatest potential is being able to set a goal.
If your goal is to get from "point A" to "point B", you need to know where "point A" is in relationship to "point B."
Why? Because if you don't understand where the two are in relationship to one another, you will never be able to know which direction to head to get to the end result.
Do you know where your "point B" is? Once you figure this out, you are much more likely to get to your destination.
There are great benefits to setting goals because goals help us to identify our current position and navigate toward our desired future.
Here are some ways to get started setting goals:
1. Motivation Equals Action
When setting your goal you need to pick a goal for yourself and your group that is motivating. A motivating goal means that you will be inspired and moved to action by the goal statement.
If you have a connection with the desired outcome you are more likely to stick with the goal and follow through to its successful completion.
a. Set Priorities. A major way to increase your motivation when you set goals is to examine the priorities in your life. What is of the greatest important to you or your group right now. Very often we can become distracted when goal setting because there are just so many possibilities. Take away the overwhelm by setting priorities and sticking to them.
b. Create a Motivating Value Statement. Creating a motivating value statement helps us to identify why the goal is important to us. You can ask yourself or your group, "If I were to share my goal with others, what would I tell them to convince them it was worth my time and energy?"
Tip: One of the secondary benefits of your motivating values statement is that if you start to lose momentum or motivation while working to accomplish your goal you can always refer back to the statement to gain additional focus and inspiration.
2. Apply The SMART Rule
Many of us have heard of the SMART rule before, but do we always put it into practice? The smart rule is simply this: the most effective goals are specific, measureable, attainable, relevant, and time specific. The fact is, for one to realize their greatest potential goals must be SMART.
a. Specific. Setting specific goals means identifying your goal in simple, clear and well defined terms. It may seem easier to make a broad goal, covering many different areas but at the end of the journey you will may not reach your destination. Specific goals provide sufficient direction and allow us to anchor and adjust should we get off course during our goal work.
b. Measure Your Results. The easiest way to encourage measurable goals is to ask yourself, "How will I know that I have accomplished this goal?" Without anyway of measuring your success you will not only lack direction and the ability to mark milestones, you will miss the opportunity to celebrate successes! (Tip: When you identify how you know you are going to recognize accomplishments make sure you include specifics like dates, times, percentages, activities, etc).
c. Reach for the Stars, But Make Sure You Have a Ladder Tall Enough. Setting lofty goals provides us with the opportunity to challenge ourselves. However, if the goal you set is not attainable, you are setting the stage for failure. Make sure that it is possible to achieve the goals you establish. By taking this extra step you avoid discouragement and increase the chance for capacity building with confidence and reaching your goal.
d. Relevance matters. Goals should be relevant to your priorities and the direction your headed in. By keeping your goals aligned with your greatest priorities, you will develop a laser focus and use your time to accomplish your objectives with great success. Goals that are not focused on your clear priorities, or scattered, will waste your time, talent, and energy and you will find that when you go to measure your progress you are not seeing the success you vision.
e. Time Sensitive. Make time for your goals. Too often, we set goals that don't have a timeline. Do you know what this means? It usually means we have something to do and forever to do it - so we have little or no motivation to make it happen. In order to realize your greatest success, your goals need to have a timeline and a deadline. When you give yourself a deadline and follow through you will find the opportunity to celebrate success for each milestone and move toward your greater goals with great success.
3. Write It Down
The physical act of writing down your goal statement helps make it real and tangible. By writing down your goals you use your five sense to make your goal salient and prominent to your mind.
Goals should be written "assuming accomplishment." What this means is that it is key to use action words like "I will," using positive frameworks.
Review your goal statement to make sure that it holds you accountable to the goal being established and motivates you to accomplish the goal because it aligns with your values and priorities.
Becoming exceptionally well organized or using action based programs can increase your success and help you make sure you are achieving your goals.
Another important action is to put your goals in places where you see them every day and throughout the day. Sharing them with others can establish accountability for added motivation.
Remember, goal setting is more than just saying that you want something to happen. It is getting focused on your priorities and creating a supportive action plan that leads to success! Unless you clearly define what you want and understand why you want to accomplish it, your chances of reaching your greatest potential are significantly reduced.
Are you reaching your greatest potential?
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Brought to you by: Jennifer L. McGahan, M.A., LHSRP - Research Strategist and Evaluation Coach Committed to Helping You Reach Your Greatest Potential.
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