Goals are used by all high achievers. Anyone who deliberately becomes a goal setter, whatever they have done with their lives previously, writes them down and focusses their mind on them immediately notices an increase in their level of accomplishment.
The goal-setting technique is not that difficult to master. Begin with a few small goals, watch your confidence grow, then set bigger goals. Here are the basic guidelines:
1. Set one major goal, making sure it aligns with your values. Is it clear why you’ve chosen this goal? Are the rewards (material and emotional) sufficiently appealing? If you don’t feel totally passionate about your goal, you probably haven’t yet found the right one. Don’t sell yourself short. Most people’s idea of what they’re capable of doesn’t do them justice.
2. Don’t set too many. Half a dozen or so are quite enough at any one time. Some goals are purely for fun, others are weightier. Aim some at the wider community and the natural environment.
3. Choose your own goals. This may seem obvious, but many people fall into the trap of doing what is expected of them. The right goals come from the heart.
4. Make sure your goals are balanced and consistent. Some people are so work orientated that they don’t make sufficient time for leisure or personal relationships. Others allow their health to deteriorate because they’re too busy to eat properly, exercise or relax. So think carefully before you settle on your final list.
5. Give yourself a time frame. Set long-term goals, and medium- and short-term goals which lead towards them. Make your short-term goals realistic, challenging but not out of reach. It is possible to give yourself a firm cut-off date for some goals, but goals involving personal change (e.g. growing in confidence) are usually ongoing.
6. Use simple, straightforward language, e.g. ‘My goal is to…’ or ‘I intend to…’ If your goal is to acquire a material object, be precise. Not, ‘My goal is to get a better car’, but ‘My goal is to own a ……’ stating the make and model.
7. Avoid nebulous words and phrases like ‘I want to help people’. Exactly how do you want to help them? What benefits do you intend to offer?
8. Be prepared to specialise. If you want to be a great musician, it’s unlikely you’ll also become a great athlete. Possible, but unlikely.
9. It will become obvious when a goal no longer has any attraction for you, so drop it. However, don’t change a goal just because it seems too difficult. Problems and difficulties are life’s way of helping us to improve and to grow, just as sports people use heavy weights to become stronger. No-one ever built a better life by giving up.
10. Should you keep your goals to yourself? Yes and no. If your goal is to rid yourself of a harmful habit, such as smoking or overeating, tell everyone. People will remind you. However, if your goal is to achieve something significant, keep it to yourself unless you know the person you are talking is willing and able to help you. Many people are quite derisory about those who have dreams and ambitions which can damage your morale.
11. Write your goals down. This is vital. The act of writing focusses your thinking. It is also one of the most effective ways of impressing them on your unconscious.
12. List the benefits that your goal will bring you. Include plenty of personal benefits – these are generally the most motivating. Also list the benefits to your family, friends and the world at large. The more benefits you can identify, the greater the pulling power of your goal.
13. Write down the reasons why you must not fail. Remember, everyone is motivated to some extent both by ‘moving towards’ ‘pleasure’ and ‘moving away’ from ‘pain’.
14. Write down one action you can take now to get started. Even the longest journey begins with a single step; take that first step now. Once you’ve made a start, it becomes easier. Think of it like pushing a broken down car. It takes a mighty heave to get moving, but once you have that initial momentum it gets much easier.
15. Write your goals and their benefits on a card and keep it with you. This is crucial. Read through your list daily. Every time you read it, you are imprinting your desires more firmly on your unconscious autopilot.
16. Keep your wits about you. Watch out for synchronistic events and let your intuition guide you. One of the wonderful things about setting goals is that your awareness is heightened and you find yourself attracting opportunities. When you focus your attention on what you want and commit yourself with courage and determination, all the powers of the universe come to your aid.
©David Lawrence Preston, 27.7.2016
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How to Books, 2010