Tag: Setting Goals
Keys to Effective Goal Setting
Although setting goals seems to be a fairly simplistic task, it can have significant negative implications if not do effectively. Many people fall short of achieving their goals simply because they make one or two mistakes which could have been easily avoided.
Below are six keys to effective goal setting strategies that often make the difference between accomplishing your goals and not.
- Write It Down
- Make it SMART
- Set Challenging Goals
- Break it Down
- Have an Action Plan
- Be Flexible
Effective Goal Setting Techniques
Write Down Your Goals
One of the best strategies for achieving a goal is to write it down. It sounds simple, but most people who say they set goals for themselves do not write them down. They simple think about what they want to achieve and work for a while towards achieving it. Before long these people get distracted and move onto something else. Writing them down helps you stay focused on achieving what you want.
Research has shown that people who write down there goals are significantly more likely to achieve those goals. Writing them down shows commitment and increases motivation. So write them down even if it is just on a Post-it or sticky note.
Make it SMART
Properly set goals can be great motivators for you. To be done right, you should ensure that your goals have some basic criterion. This basic criterion can help structure your goals so they are easier to achieve. Thus, when writing your goals down, use the SMART Goals formula for maximum effectiveness. Many people believe writing SMART goals is the key to effective goal setting.
SMART is an acronym that stands for:
S – Specific
M – Measurable
A – Achievable
R – Relevant
T – Time-bound
The criteria for SMART Goals:
Specific – Your goal should be detailed and state the exact level of performance expected.
Measurable – Your goal should contain a measurable indicator to assess the amount of your progress and to definitely determine if the goal has been achieved.
Achievable – Your goal should challenge you and stretch your abilities, but realistically be able to be attained.
Relevant – Your goals should be important to you and motivate you.
Time-bound – Your goal should specify when the result(s) will be achieved.
Set Challenging Goals
Goals should be challenging. They should challenge you to step up your abilities and reach outside your comfort zone. You may not always reach your goal, but the more you stretch your abilities, the more abilities you will have in the future. It is better to aim high and come up a little short, than to aim low and never test your capabilities or reach your potential.
Research shows goals that are challenging motivate and increase persistence. Also, the more challenging a goal, the greater the satisfaction and reward in achieving it.
Setting challenging goals requires a careful balance to ensure it will be challenging, but yet still attainable. Goals that are either too easy or too difficult will negatively affect your progress and performance. If the goal is too easy, you may get bored and lose motivation. On the other hand, goals that are too hard can cause frustration with the lack of progress. Hence, take time to set challenging goals suited to realistically stretch your capabilities. The best goals are the ones that really challenge you without frustrating and demotivating you.
Keep them Flexible
Goals should be flexible enough so they can be revised if necessary. Circumstances may change and you will need to adapt to those changes. For example, you may have a goal to run a full marathon within a year. However, if you get injured during the course of training, it may be better to adjust your goal to running a half marathon. Achieving the lesser revised goal is better than not achieving the original goal.
Also, you may set a goal which you later find to be too difficult and need to revise it to better match your abilities and increase you chance of success. It is better to modify your goal, than to quit and or not achieve your goal at all.
Break it down
Break down your long term goals into smaller more easily attainable short term goals. This helps to visualize smaller more manageable chunks, rather than one difficult end goal.
Think of the goal setting process like running a marathon. Your ultimate goal is to reach the 26.2 mile marker (long-term goal), but you are best to think of the race in terms of sections or chunks. Therefore, break the race into segments or a series of short term goals (5 mile, 10 mile, 15 mile, etc…). This way you are focused on just achieving one short-term goal at a time. Without short-term goals, you can lose sight of your long term goals, and get frustrated and demotivated.
Have an Action Plan
The last key to effective goal setting is to create a plan of action to achieve your goals. Your action plan should be broken down into specific tasks with timeframes associated with each task. Like a checklist, you will be able to check off each task as you complete it.
Having an action plan helps you mentally see the goal as very achievable. By breaking the larger goal down into smaller goals and specific tasks, makes the larger goal seems more easily achievable. However, do not just create a plan, track and monitor your progress. You what to periodically review your progress to ensure you are on track to achieving your goal. Therefore, once a week or so, take out your plan and check your progress. Identify challenges and make adjustments as needed to increase your effectiveness. These regular assessments allows you to ensure you remain on track, motivated, and committed.
Goal Setting Steps
Goal setting is a process of identifying what you want to accomplish and creating a plan to achieve those desired results.
Goal Setting Steps
Discover Who You Are
Your goals should be grown from your values, beliefs, desires, and your sense of purpose. Before you begin to create our goals, you should go through the process of self-discovery. Complete a Self-assessment (who am I?) of your values, beliefs, hopes, dreams, and your sense of purpose.
Create a Mission Statement
A personal mission statement is an individual statement that declares who you want to be, what you want to do, and the values and principles upon which your life is based.
Determining your values and mission in life is a critical process of goal setting. Goals that are aligned with your values and your personal mission are the most motivating and inspiring goals. These are the ones that you are most passionate about. They also deliver the greatest sense of pride and satisfaction once accomplished.
You should set your goals so they are directly aligned with your life’s mission and purpose. If your goals do not reflect your values or sense of mission, you will struggle to find the motivation to reach them. For example, if your highest value is “time with family”, you want to consider building that into your goals. Self-Discovery will guide you to what you need to change in your life or where your focus should be.
Create a Vision Statement
Your personal vision statement is your depiction of your life in the future. It should be a vivid description of where you ultimately want to be in life. It may detail who you have become, what you are doing, who you are with, and what have you accomplished.
Identify your Lifetime Goals
Identify aspirations and goals that you want to achieve over the course of your life time. Maintain at least one clearly defined goal for every major interest and role in your life. List your ultimate goals for the following categories:
- Family / Relationships
- Physical Health
- Spiritual / Emotional
- Travel and Adventure
Set your Long-term and short-term Goals
Goal setting incorporates setting both long-term goals and short-term goals.
Long-term goals are achieved over time as you complete the stages of your life. Long-term goals will typically be achieve more than a year from when you set them. Long-term goals can be either Lifetime goals or Capstone goals.
Short-term goals, on the other hand, are ones that a person will achieve in the near future, typically in less than one year. Short-term goals are often, but not always, steppingstones on the way to achieving long-term goals. Short-term goals can be further categorized be either Foundational or Provisional goals.
Set Capstone Goals
After you set your Lifetime goals, set intermediary goals (Capstone goals) that will lead you to your desired goals. Remember to set your goals so they are directly aligned with your life’s mission, purpose and passion.
Create goals high enough to ignite your spirit and inspire you to take action.
Write down all your goals in specific, measurable detail with declared target dates.
Set Foundational Goals
Create a set of goals to be completed within the next year that will help you reach your long-term goals.
Set Provisional Goals
Set a series of related monthly goals that are tied to your long-term and foundational goals.
Share your Goals
Share your goals with others for incentives, accountability, and motivation. By sharing your goals, you create a sense of accountability. People may ask you about your goals, and you will want to have a positive response for them. You will want to tell them how well it is going and how much you have accomplished already. Also, by sharing your goals, others can give you motivation and encouragement to achieve them.
Set Daily and Weekly Tasks
Set a whole series of related daily and weekly tasks or objectives that will help you reach your goals. Include starting times and completion dates.
Take 10 minutes every week to review your goals. You want to keep them in the forefront of your mind.
Take Daily Action
Take an action step toward the attainment of at least one goal every day. This is the key to peak performance and maximum achievement.
Evaluate your goals on a regular basis to be sure they are still your most important goals.
Things change. You may have to readjust your goals as you move thorough life. You will find yourself adding goals to your list as time passes. You will also find yourself deleting goals that are no longer as important as you once thought.
Commit to Goal Setting
Commit to hitting each of your targets. Resolve to never quit.
One of the most common goal setting techniques is termed SMART. SMART is an acronym which encourages individuals to set goals that are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Rewarding or Realistic, and Time bound. This advice for setting your goals usually works well, but it may not be the best process for you to use.
Right Brained Goal Setting
If you are more right-brain, creatively oriented you may want to try utilizing the SAFE method. SAFE is an acronym for a creative goal setting process especially useful for right-brain-oriented people.
SAFE stands for:
- See it -See the end result
- Accept it – Accept the end result
- Feel it – Feel the end result
- Express it – Express the end result
The Right Brain
The right side of your brain is more visual and focuses on the big picture. Your right brain helps you think holistic, grasp total situations, gain insights, and be creative. These aspects of right brained people are very powerful, so it makes sense that if you are right brained you use these attributes to set goals. If you are left-brained and you use this attributes, you will achieve more when you utilize your whole brain.
Start by creating a mental picture of the future as it will be when your goal is achieved. See it in great detail and full color. Use all of your senses to become aware of the details. See the colors, sights, sounds, and emotions of having achieved the desired goal. See the results in your mind of having attained the goal.
Accept it means that you are opening yourself up to possibility and accepting that you can achieve the goal. You may not know all the details of how you will achieve your goal, but you are confident about achieving it. You may have doubts and concerns, but focus on remaining open and accepting the potential.
Feel it has you to feel the emotions associated with attaining your desired goals. It is about mentally placing yourself to that time and place in the future and sensing those feelings associated with achieving your goals. The stronger the emotion, the stronger the desire to achieve the goal.
As you visualize yourself having achieved the goal, allow yourself to feel the accompanying emotions. Adding emotion to your visualization can be extremely powerful. You should feel good about your accomplishment.
Use your powers of expression to create your end result. Capture your feelings in words or visual expressions. Write about it. Describe in vivid detail every aspect of how your life will be after the goal is achieved. Draw it or paint it so that it describes and depicts what you want to achieve. Place your writing and pictures where you will see them every day.
You can write about it, draw, or paint. This is particularly useful if you find it difficult to mentally visualize your goal. Try to visualize yourself telling others about the accomplishment or giving a presentation. Whatever creative action you take, include as much detail as possible about your goal.
SAFE Goals Summary
S = SEE IT
A = ACCEPT IT
F = FEEL IT
E = EXPRESS IT
The SAFE Goals method is especially good for those individuals who need to have the big picture. You may not need to use SAFE Goals for every goal you have, but it may help if you doubt your ability to achieve your goals.
Three Types of Athletic Goals
Setting Athletic Performance Goals
Goal setting is one of the most important skills you can use to help you achieve optimal performance. The goal setting process helps you understand your current performance level and then assess what steps you need to take to reach your ultimate performance level.
There are three types and levels of athletic goals:
- Outcome goals
- Performance goals
- Process goals
Three Types of Goals
Outcome Goals – This type of goal refers to the desired end result. These goals are those that compare your performances with those of other athletes. For example, coming in the top five or winning the tournament. In both these examples the outcome is connected top and depends on the performances of others.
Performance Goals – This type of goal identifies a specific standard to be achieved. These standards are independent of other variables. For example, increase your batting average from .270 to .310, or run the 100 meter race in 12.2 seconds. You have much better control over the results of these goals than you do of outcome goals.
Process Goals – This type of goal deals with the technique or strategy necessary to perform well. These goals are used to improve the execution of a skill. For example, you may strive to run the 100 meter race with perfect form, or make solid contact with a golf ball as you strike it. These goals focus on your individual actions and are not dependent or connected to the performance or actions of others.
Connection between the Types of Goals
These types of goals are categorized by how much control you have over it. You have the most control over process goals and the least control over outcome goals. When setting goals, you should to visualize and set a desired outcome, but more importantly you should focus on the process and your performance.
Experts have found individual performance improves quicker if you set systematic goals that are focused on the process and performance, rather than focused on the outcome of competition. Process goals feed into performance goals, which feed into outcome goals. If you focus on process and performance goals you have done all you can within your control to achieve your outcome goal. By setting the foundation with process and performance goals the outcome goals likely takes care of itself.
Goals and Objectives
Goals and objectives are similar in that they both are an “end toward which effort is directed”. However, goals should be thought of as the ultimate end, while objectives are the strategic steps or tasks by which the ultimate end is achieved. Objectives are specific tasks that need to be completed in order to complete a goal.
An objective of a goal can also be a goal in and of itself. Enabling goals are also objectives. They are explicitly written to help achieve a longer-term goal. Enabling goals are like stepping stones that help measure our progress toward reaching longer-term goals. The objective of obtaining a medical degree for the ultimate goal of becoming a doctor can be a goal itself.
Long-term goals can have many objectives associated with it. Therefore, it would be advantageous to categorize these objectives under short-term goals.
Short-term goals help us stay focused and maintain a positive attitude toward reaching the long-term goals. Being able to “check off” a goal as completed is a positive feeling of success and helps maintain motivation.
Possible objectives for the Lifetime or Capstone goal of going to college would include a wide range of such things as getting good grades in high school, joining a social committee, saving money, determining a major, completing college applications, and taking the SATs.
If you group and categorize these objectives, you can create smaller goals. For example, the objective of “getting good grades” can be change into a goal of “obtain a 3.0 GPA by the end of my junior year of high school.”
Goal: Decide which college to attend.
- Determine area of major
- Research colleges that meet (size, distance, athletics, social, etc..)
- Find eight colleges that meet these requirements
- Visit schools
- Select the top four choices
- Complete and mail applications to top four choices
- Choice a school
- Apply for financial aid
- Apply for scholarships
Basic Steps Goal Setting
Identify your goal
Write down your goal in specific, measurable detail with a declared target date.
S = Specific
M = Measurable
A = Attainable
R = Relevant
T = Time bound
Write down the benefits of achieving your goal
List the obstacles to overcome in accomplishing your goal
List the skills and knowledge required to reach your goal
Identify the people and groups you need to work with to reach your goal
Develop a plan of action to reach your goal
- Set a series of related daily, weekly and long-term goals, complete with starting times and completion dates
Continuously take an action step toward the attainment of your goal (weekly or daily)
Performance Goals and Outcome Goals
There is a significant difference between performance goals and outcome goals. Performance based goals can be controlled by the person who sets the goals while outcome based goals are frequently controlled by others. It is best to set performance goals when possible.
Short-term goals are best written as performance goals versus outcome goals. Performance goals focus on the person performance while outcome goals focus strictly on the outcome or result.
Performance is what the person controls while outcomes are frequently controlled by others. Unfortunately, outcome goals do not take into account how well a person performed. Goals based on outcomes are extremely vulnerable to failure because of things beyond your control. So when setting goals, you want to set a goals that is performance based and not outcome based.
Effective short-term goals focus on performance, not outcome.
Why Performance Goals
The reason you want to set performance goals is that you have much more control over the ability to achieve that goal. You may have an outstanding performance and not win a contest because other people have performed even better. After the race, you may become disappointed because you did not reach your goal, even though, you performed exceptionally. Conversely, you may perform poorly and still win if all others perform at a lower level. Unfortunately, this may give us an inaccurate assessment of you performance.
Performance goals are about control. If a person’s goal is to run the 100-meter race in 12.5 seconds, the person has greater control in achieving this goal than winning the race.
To take goal setting to the next level, the person can set process goals. Process goals give a person even greater control of achieving a goal. For example, a person can set a goal to run using the correct form, and focusing on arm and leg movements. This process goal gives the person more control over his/her performance than with performance goals. The more the goal can be controlled, the more valuable it will be.
Another example of the different types of goal setting is golfers setting a goal in an upcoming tournament. The first golfer may set an outcome goal of coming in the top 10. A second may set a performance goal to shoot 68, while a third may set a process goal to make solid contact with the ball on each shot. The second golfer has more control over shooting a 68 than the first has of coming in the top ten. However, the third whose goal is to make solid contact has even more control over their performance.
Setting Performance Goals
When possible set performance goals, not outcome goals. Make sure you set goals over which you have as much control as possible. There is nothing more discouraging than failing to achieve a personal goal for reasons beyond your control. These could be a difficult business environment, poor judging, bad weather, injury, or just bad luck. If you base your goals on personal performance, then you can keep control over the achievement of your goals and draw satisfaction from them. For example, you might achieve a personal best time in a race, but still finish fifth as a result of a poor judging decision. If you had set an outcome goal of being in the top three, then this will be a defeat. If you set a performance goal of achieving a particular time, then you will have achieved the goal and can draw satisfaction and self-confidence from its achievement.
Examples of Performance Goals vs. Outcome Goals:
Types of Goals
Generally, goals are categorized as either long-term or short-term. Long-term goals consist of plans you make for your future, typically over a year down the road. These typically consist of family, lifestyle, career, and retirement goals. Long-term goals are achieved over time as a person completes the stages of their life. People set long-term goals for themselves by envisioning what they want to be doing and where they want to be five to twenty years from the present. Then they use short-term goals to get there.
Examples of long-term goals
- Become a Mechanical Engineer
- Get a Master’s Degree
- Buy a house
- Run a marathon
- Own my own company
- Retire at age 55
Short-term goals are ones that a person will achieve in the near future, typically in less than one year. Short-term goals are often, but not always, steppingstones on the way to achieving long-term goals. These types of goals are considered enabling goals because accomplishment of these goals will “enable” you to achieve an even greater goal.
Enabling goals usually consist of such topics as education, short-term jobs or projects, as well as valuable work experience. Each of these often contributes directly to the long-term goals a person sets for himself or herself.
Examples of short-term goals
- Lose five pounds
- Paint my living room
- Get an “A” in Biology
- Get a 3.2 GPA or above this semester
- Build a deck
- Get a job for the summer
Long-term & Short-term Subdivided
These two categories, long and short-term goals, can be further subdivided. Long-term goals can be either lifetime goals or Capstone goals, while short-term goals can be further categorized be either foundational or provisional goals.
Lifetime goals are those major goals that you would like to accomplish over your lifetime. Depending on your age, these goals may be accomplished significantly later on in your life. Typically, these goals will have accomplishment dates of ten or more years in the future. Examples of lifetime goals include get a job as a teacher, become a professional basketball player, graduate from college, buy a house, or retire to Florida.
Lifetime goals may fall into one of several categories including career, education, family, financial, or just pleasure. You can have a Lifetime goal to become an accountant as well as goals of getting a Master’s Degree, having four children, making ten million dollars, and/or traveling around the world.
Lifetime goals are often general at first but as you work towards them, they become more specific. The original goal of “get a job as a teacher” becomes “Get a job teaching math to high school students,” which later evolves into “enter a career in teaching Trigonometry and Calculus to high school seniors.” As time goes on, the more defined your goals will become.
Lifetime goals often are your most meaningful and important goals. One problem, however, is that the achievement of these goals is usually far in the future. As a result, you may have trouble staying focused and maintaining a positive attitude toward reaching these goals. This is why it is helpful to set up enabling goals.
An enabling goal is a distinctive type of shorter term goal. It is written to help achieve a longer-term goal. Enabling goals are like stepping stones that help us measure our progress toward reaching longer term goals. They can be considered “objectives” of long term goals.
“You must have long term goals to keep you from being frustrated by short term failures.” Charles C. Noble
Capstone goals are commonly those key goals you will need to accomplish first before you accomplish your lifetime goals. These goals will typically be accomplished in one to ten years’ time. A Lifetime goal of becoming a doctor would have Capstone goals of going to college, going to med school, and completing an internship. A lifetime goal of traveling around the world would have a Capstone goal of saving a certain amount of money.
“To accomplish great things, we must not only act, but also dream, not only plan, but also believe.” Anatole France
Foundational goals are those short-term goals that will most likely be accomplished in less than one year. These may be enabling goals that may need to be accomplished prior to the Capstone goals being met. They are often used as physiological improvements. You need to get straight A’s next semester in order to get into a good college, so that you can eventually go to medical school. However, Foundational goals can also be stand-alone goals with no link to a Capstone goal or a Lifetime goal. This could be making your high school basketball team, learning how to play three songs on the piano, or saving money for a home theatre system.
“The tragedy of life doesn’t lie in not reaching your goal. The tragedy lies in having no goals to reach.” Benjamin Mays
Provisional (stepping-stone) goals are usually stepping-stones to the larger goals. Typically, these are completed in less than a month. These are the types of goals you focus on a daily basis and are often used for technical improvements. Many times these may be enabling goals that may need to be accomplished prior to the foundational goals being met. “Get a 90 or better on the Algebra test next week”, which will help meet the goal of getting straight A’s next semester in order to get into a good college, so that you can eventually go to medical school. However, like Foundational goals, provisional goals can be stand-alone goals with no link to a Lifetime, Capstone, or a short-term goal. This could be “paint the house”, “clean the basement”, or “finish a school project.”
Your goals should be grown from your values, beliefs, desires, and your sense of purpose. Before you begin to create your goals, you should go through the process of self discovery.
Self-discovery is an exploration through your inner self, trying to discover who you are, your potential, and your purpose in life. Self-discovery will help you determine what you really want out of life and what will give you a personal sense of fulfilment.
Types of Goals
There are different types of goals. Some goals are lifetime goals; meaning that you intend to achieve them before you die. To achieve them, you break them into smaller goals, perhaps ten-year goals, five-year goals, and one-year goals.
These long-term and intermediate goals are then divided into smaller segments, until you have subdivided the lifetime goals into immediate and short-term goals. You eventually break goals down into tasks and objectives that you can work on a daily basis.
You may also set long-term and short-term goals for yourself that are not tied to lifetime goals. For example, you may have a long-term goal of purchasing a car or a short-term goal of losing 25 pounds.
Long-term goals – typically takes longer than a year to achieve
Short-term goals – typically takes less than one year to achieve
Setting Personal Goals
Setting personal goals starts with your Lifetime goals which are followed by a series of lower level goals. The series of goals and objectives can continue until you have a list of daily tasks.
By setting up this structure, you are able to break down lifetime goals into a number of small tasks that you need to do each day to reach your ultimate goals.
Setting Your Lifetime Goals
You set lifetime goals by envisioning what you ultimately want to achieve in various facets of your life. These facets may include the following:
- Family / Relationships
- Physical Health
- Spiritual / Emotional
- Travel and Adventure
After you determine your lifetime goal, you then set additional long-term goals for by determining what you want to be doing and where they want to be five to ten years from the present. Then you use short-term goals to get there.
Steps to Setting Goals
- After you determine what you want to accomplish for the various aspects of your life, write down your lifetime goals.
- After you have your lifetime goals written, lay out your plan of actions that will determine how to you reach them.
- Set additional long-term goals that will help you reach your lifetime goals. For example, if you have a lifetime goal of becoming an Engineer, you would need long-term educational goals for a specific college degree.
- Once you have set your long-term goals, set up your short-term goals that you should complete if you are to reach your lifetime plan. For example, a short-term goal tied to your long-term goal of becoming an Engineer, may be to get an “A” on specific school course.
- You can set a 5-year plan, 1-year plan, 6-month plan, and 1-month plan of progressively smaller goals that you should reach to achieve your lifetime goals. Each of these should be based on the previous plan.
- Finally, set a daily “to do” list of things that you should do today to work towards your goals.
“If not us, who? If not now, when?” Kennedy, John F.
Goal setting is a powerful technique that provides a direction for your efforts, focuses your attention, promotes persistence, and increases your confidence.
Goal setting gives you a long-term vision of where you want to be, steps to get there, and the motivation to begin. It essentially focuses your attention on what you really want to achieve, and helps you organize your time and your resources so that you can make the most out of your life.
Introduction to Goal Setting
Goal setting is a process of identifying what you want to accomplish and creating a plan to achieve those desired results. By setting goals on a routine basis, you decide what you want to achieve, and then you systematically move towards the achievement of those goals. Goals provide you with a focus for your life.
By setting goals, you create a rippled effect. The process of setting goals gives you a purpose and direction in life by allowing you to choose where you want to go in life.
By clarifying your expectations and by challenging yourself, you become more intrinsically motivated. You force yourself to focus on the acquisition of knowledge and to organize your resources, thus allowing you to become more organized and effective.
As you become more effective, you can improve both your decision making and performance.
As your performance increases, you achieve more and your self-confidence increases.
An increased self-confidence leads to being happier and feeling more fulfilled in life.
Creates a Long Term Vision
Having no goals is like going on a trip without a map: When there is no destination, vision, or plan, most people tend to drift. However, when people have a vision of where they want to go, they tend to feel a greater sense of commitment than they would without having the vision.
By creating goals, you create a long-term vision. You give yourself a sense of purpose and you provide yourself with a focus. By concentrating your energies and thoughts on your goals, you are better able to use time-management strategies and this in turn enables you to achieve more.
It’s never too late to be what you might have been. – George Eliot
Benefits of Goal Setting
Goals are things we consciously want to accomplish, attain, or achieve. Setting goals helps us;
- decide what we want to achieve in our lives
- maintain focus and perspective
- establish priorities by separating what is important from what is not as important
- build self-confidence and self esteem
“Do not let what you cannot do interfere with what you can do.” John Wooden
One practical way of setting goals is to use the SMART mnemonic. While there are several variants, SMART usually stands for:
S = Specific
M = Measurable
A = Attainable
R = Relevant
T = Time-bound
Specific – Set specific goals that are fairly detailed. Do not set a goal to “lose weight”, set a goals to “lose 24 pounds.” Goals that are specific help us to focus our efforts and clearly define what we are going to do. If a goal is too vague, it is hard to measure or determine if you are successful in reaching it.
Measurable – Establish criteria for measuring the progress toward the attainment of each goal you set. Do not set a goal to “run faster,” but rather set a goal to “run a mile in 6 minutes.” If it is not measurable it will become almost impossible to tell if you are successful or to take the goal to the next level.
Attainable – Set goals that you can attain. If a goal is not attainable, you may lose motivation and fall short of your goal. You may also lose some self confidence.
Relevant – Set goals that you will feel good about attaining or achieving that is relevant to your life. Relevant goals provide intrinsic motivation to achieve them. If a goal is not rewarding or relevant you may loss the desire to achieve it.
Time bound – set a date on when you plan to achieve your goal. Do not set a goal to simply “lose 24 pounds,” set a goal to lose 24 pounds by November 1.” Without a specific date for completion, you may lose your commitment to achieving it.
Another basic mnemonic for goals setting is SAFE. This is a nonlinear way to set goals. This can appeal to those who are right brain dominant and prefer creative, visual ways to setting goals. SAFE stands for:
The first step of this goal setting process begins by picturing the future as it will be when you achieve your goal. Then accept and assume the fact that you will attain the goal. The next step is visualizing yourself achieving the goal and allowing yourself to feel the positive emotions associated with achievement. Adding emotion to your visualization is very powerful. Lastly, use your powers of expression to cement your commitment to your goal by telling others, writing it down, drawing a picture, painting, or creating an image, and any other creative expression.
The SAFE method is especially good for those who that need to have the big picture in order to accept the fact that they can accomplish their goals.
Our Development Series provides a range of strategies, tools, and techniques used to set and manage goals. We provide tips and strategies for setting goals including:
- Write all your goals down
- State each goal as a positive statement
- Be precise
- Set priorities
- Set performance goals, not outcome goals
- List the benefits you intend to receive by achieving each goal
Our Tool Box provides goal setting sheets and other worksheets and reference guides to help achieve goals.
Goal Setting Worksheets
“Where you end up isn’t the most important thing. It’s the road you take to get there. The road you take is what you’ll look back on and call your life.” – Tim Wiley