Quote Of The Week – 45 – 2016
Introduction To Goal Setting – 8 Steps To Achieve Your Goals
“Lack of direction, not lack of time is the problem. We all have 24-hour days” – Zig Ziglar
What It Means For Me
There is no doubt in the fact that every day is equally long for each one of us. What we have to realize is that we should not wait for tomorrow to work on our goals. Tomorrow actually never arrives. It is today that you got to start working on your goals. And it is today that I got to write this post and get one step closer to reach my goals.
This is the first post of a series about goal setting. In this post we cover why it is important to have goals and the basics of thorough and effective goal setting. Over the next weeks I am going to describe in more detail the mentioned action steps to achieve your goals and ask you to actually take action.
The most important thing about goals is actually having one. Having the end in mind means you have something that you can aim at. This is the most crucial step.
Once you take dedicated action towards your goal, you will face obstacles and problems. You might realize that your original plan does not work out as intended. This is when most of the people give up. When the plan does not work then change the plan but NEVER the goal.
People give up on the one-yard line and say that they are not meant to be successful or that they “don’t care”. Oh yes, they do care! Everyone does.
It is crucial to work every day, and yes, I mean EVERY DAY on your goal. Make a commitment! Stick to it! And don’t break the chain!
You have 24 hours a day, how are you going to use them?
With this in mind, you could skip to read the rest of this post or the entire series on goal setting. You have everything you need.
But unfortunately, it is not as easy as it seems to be, otherwise the majority of the people would not be unhappy about their jobs. They would rather do something about it and set new goals in life and go for them.
Reasons for having goals
Did you know that people who set goals are more successful? I think you know that, already. But do you have goals as well?
If you ever had the desire to become a “better you” then you need to set goals. If you want a better future then you need to set the right goals that will lead you there. For more success in life, you simply need to set goals, no matter in what area you want to improve.
Just have a look at your current life situation. Your actual life is the result of the goals that you have had in the past. If you have not had any clearly set goals in the past then your life might be the perfect reflection of that too.
If you feel lost and without direction and that nothing makes sense anymore, and that you are not having the life that you wished you had then this might be due to the lack of proper goal setting. You might not be the person you always wanted to be. You have problems to stick to your goals and keep failing over and over again.
Do you keep struggling with your goals?
When you start something new then you are enthusiastic and excited at the beginning. And each time you are sure that this time you are going to make it. But eventually, you end up always losing track and not following along.
What are you stuck with that really annoys you right now? Here are some common examples:
- You want to lose weight, but nothing (or no one 🙂 ) is working out
- You want to write your own book but did not write on it for months or years.
- You plan your own business but didn’t figure out yet how to start.
- You keep running out of money over and over again. You want to spend less but the costs are simply eating you up on all ends.
- You wanted to write an email to your old friend but the longer you wait, the harder it gets for you to motivate yourself.
- You can’t remember how many times you have tried to stop smoking, but you simply can’t make it.
You might have one of the goals above or any other one. Maybe you don’t have any goal at all but feel that something is missing in your life.
In either way, you should be aware of the power that goals can have over your life.We can live our lives either by design or by chance. If you have no goals then you might not have any real purpose. This path can lead to unhappiness and misery.
Wanting more vs. living in the moment
Having and pursuing goals is not opposed to enjoying the present moment and being in the NOW. In fact, working on your goals happens always in the present moment and can actually help you to be more in alignment with who you are as long as you follow your passions that can be an indicator for your higher purpose.
I often struggled with the two concepts of being either “on a spiritual path” and not doing anything by “letting things happen” or getting things done and following my dreams in the “real world”. Can I simply attract anything I want or do I need to be actively trying to move forward? Is this contradictory to being at peace with my mind because I am seeking fulfillment in the outside world?
Combining inner peace with your goals
In my opinion they are two sides of the same coin. You can either be spiritually detached from the world and the “lower problems”, which means that you are not fully grounded. You actually disconnect from the world around you by being “more spiritual” and “doing higher things that matter”.
I think that at some point in your life you have to face and solve the worldly problems in your life in order to continue on your soul path. After all, we still live in a material world with real problems. It is all energy and vibration, yes, but without taking action and making things happen, it is unlikely that things are getting better.
On the other hand, you can have and pursue all kinds of goals because you think that you need them in order to be someone or to “achieve something meaningful“. But without being in alignment with your higher purpose, it is unlikely to be really fulfilling.
Now, only when these two aspects are combined and accepted as being inseparably connected, only then true magic can happen. What can be better than setting goals that are in alignment with your inner self and taking actually action on them?
But this can lead us quickly to the next problem:
We often tend to get distracted by all the great ideas we have and cannot decide which one we should pursue first. While we try to manage everything at once we lose focus and thus, power.
It is all about the focus!
Set your focus on the things that matter helps you to prioritize your precious time. Do the things that are valuable for you and make the most out of your time. This is essential for living a fulfilled life.
What do all successful people have in common?
The two main traits that successful people share is goal setting and taking committed action steps! (What is success about?)
If you take action but have no goal you are not getting anywhere (or it will take much longer). You cannot arrive if you don’t know where you want to go.
If you have a goal and are not willing to take action, then it is unlikely that you miraculously manifest anything in your life. You may attract certain opportunities but if you don’t recognize them for what they are and keep procrastinating in your comfort zone, then nothing is going to happen!
When you set your goals you want to make sure to do it the right way and to avoid common mistakes.
Setting Goals the right way
Many of us make all kinds of to do lists, set goals, and so on. It is the right approach to schedule it and make it real but finally you keep on failing to actual achieve them. At the end we give up on setting new goals rather than setting the right ones. As a result we stay unmotivated and tend to give up rather easily. Welcome to another year of failed New Year’s resolutions and see you next year (e.g. with the 10 best mind changing books for 2017).
It is about time to set smart goals. What is a smart goal?
SMART goals are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-Bound.
Specific. The more specific you are with your goal the more likely it is that you are going to achieve it.
Example: Instead of simply wanting to get more money you may specify where you are going to spend less, that you put aside 10% of your monthly income, and that you open an extra account for your saved money.
Measurable. Make it possible to measure your success. Create criteria that help you to track your progress. This in turn will help you to stay motivated, see what you have achieved already, and help you to stay on track. Ask yourself this question: How will you know the goal has been achieved?
Example: How many pounds do you want to lose? How much time are you willing to spend on your goal? How many pages are you going to write for your book?
Achievable. Goals have to be achievable in order to get you into the mindset of being successful. Setting small goals makes it much easier to stay committed. This is not contradictory to having big “seemingly impossible” dreams. You have to distinguish between your vision, long-term goals, mid-term goals, and the short-term goals. They all have in common that you will need to move out of your comfort zone and stretch your abilities. For daily or weekly goals like exercising it is recommended to start with something small that you can always manage to do.
Additionally to your To-Do list, you could start your Have-Done list. You will be surprised how much you are actually accomplishing every single day instead of focusing on all the things you still have to do.
Example: You might want to write a book but you lack the experience in writing. So you can set the goal to write every day one page of whatever is on your mind. Make it a habit to be writing something every day. This stretches your abilities but is certainly possible. The more you write the easier it becomes in writing more and soon you will find it hard to write only one page. Make a big fat cross on your calendar that indicates that you have written your page that day. One year makes already 365 pages, not bad isn’t it?
If you depend on some external event to achieve your goal, you could set the achievable goal to be to prepared for that situation (like learning new skills). It is better to be prepared and not having an opportunity, than to have an opportunity and not being prepared.
Relevant. All of your goals should be in alignment with your long term vision, which makes them an important part of the journey. When your goals are in alignment with your vision then they should be worth the efforts, the costs, and the time.
Example: Is it required to learn advanced marketing strategies right now in order to launch your e-book or would it be better to actually focus on writing the book first and deal with the other stuff later?
Time-Bound. It might be hard at the beginning to dedicate the right amount of time to your goals. Ask yourself when you are going to accomplish your goal. What can you do tomorrow, by the end of next week, next month, or next year? Having a deadline helps you to prioritize your daily tasks. Try to actually track how much time you spend working on your long-term goals.
Example: By the end of the week you have your own domain name. Within one month the basic frame of the website is set. By the end of next year you have at least 1000 visitors per month (see where I have learnt to do build my own website).
Now that you have an idea about how to set goals, we can actually get into the detailed process of doing so one step at a time.
So let’s have a look at the essentials of proper goal setting and how you can actually manage to achieve them as well.
8 Steps to achieve your goals by doing less
In the next posts of this series we are going through each one of these steps in more detail. For now it is enough to actually become aware of them.
1. Write your goals down:
You are more likely to achieve your goals by simply writing them down. This may sound silly, but it is astonishing of how well it works. But think of it this way: If you are not willing to write your goal down, what does it tell you about your commitment to actually achieve it in real life? Writing it down is the first step of bringing your goal into reality.
Write it down:
- Name, Description, Purpose: Why do you want to achieve this goal?
- Start Date: When do you plan to start on it?
- Deadline: When will it be achieved?
- Category: What category does it belong to?
- Progress Metric: What is the measurable end result when it is achieved?
2. Create a plan to keep yourself motivated
Besides the when, what and why, make sure to know also where you are going to do it. Where and when are you going to work on your book? When do you get up in the morning to exercise where and what? Make a plan and stick to it. If you are too busy then try to MAKE TIME to work on your goal. One way to make sure that no one is going to disturb you is to do your most important tasks early in the morning.
3. Track your time and action.
With your continuous time and effort you will see progress. Tracking the measurable part of your smart goal can help you with that. A significant factor of our motivation to reach a goal is to see the progress that you are making. When you work on your goal and take away external factors, it is simply the sum of action steps and time that you have spent on it. Having a track record of the time spent on your goal can be a huge motivation when motivation levels are low.
There is another reason why this can be beneficial: You can stop comparing yourself to others which is a fool’s game that we are all too eager to play. With this internal yardstick you can evaluate your own performance against yourself. You are the only one you should be comparing yourself to.
4. See the big picture
Make sure to never lose the big picture, your VISION! This is why you started in the first place.
If you don’t have a big vision you may lose interest in pursuing your goals.
Important: Don’t see the big picture as something too overwhelming but rather as something worthwhile.
It can be very helpful to see your goals as detailed as possible in your mind. You can increase the effect by imagining and experiencing in your mind what you are going to do, hear, see, feel, and think right after you have achieved your big goal.Write it down!
For a daily reminder you can also create a vision board reminding you about your goal every single day. You have to become obsessed with your goal and get rid off any doubts about being unable to reach it.
By imagining the detailed mental picture of your desired outcome, and visualize each of the action steps necessary to reach that outcome, your brain will help you make positive and behavioral change that is needed to accomplish your goals.
5. Build habits to automate your success
Consistent effort and action is required to achieve your goals. Forming new habits is the shortcut to success. Without changing yourself you will not be able to change the things around you. You cannot do the same thing over and over again and expect different results.
Work daily on your goal, make it a commitment. This is the single most powerful advice that I can give you. Make it a daily habit and don’t break the chain!!!
6. Keep a goal journal
Use this opportunity to reflect about your achievements and what you are grateful for (get into an attitude of gratitude). See the value of what you are doing and write down the things you are struggling with, but also things that inspire you such as quotes, meetings with persons, and helpful resources.
Benefits of journaling are:
– Document goal journey
– Identify problems
– Gain insights
– Generate new ideas
7. Hold yourself accountable
No matter what goals you want to achieve, having an accountability partner or joining in an accountability group or program can help you accelerate your performance, keep you engaged and responsible for your actions, and provide you with valuable feedback and constructive advice.
You could setup a weekly call with your accountability partner and tell him how many times you failed to work on your goal. Each time you miss it you have to pay $20 to that guy. This could be your little brother or sister, or best friend. This will definitely keep you working on your goal.
8. Review your goals and stay on track
Visualize both the outcome and the process. People stop reaching their goals because they stop thinking about them. Make it a habit to review your goals regularly. I recommend to review your goals weekly when you are setting up your weekly schedule and at least two times per year for your yearly goal.
As mentioned at the beginning of this post, I am going to focus on each step in more detail throughout my next posts. So stay with me to get the most out of it.
What did you today to bring you one step closer to your goal?
Leave a comment below and tell us what is working for you. Have a great week and share this post with your friend if you found it to be helpful.
Start your holistic life transformation. Change your life today and become your greatest version!
Hilary Hinton “Zig” Ziglar (1926 – 2012) was was an American author, salesman, and motivational speaker. He wrote many interesting books about personal growth, leadership, sales, faith, family and success.