A colleague recently said, “Just because I don’t set goals for myself, that doesn’t mean I can’t help others set them.”
Do you agree with that statement? It is easy to look at any difficult task that others are doing, and then consider to opt out ourselves by choosing an alternative that is easier for us individually. To a certain extent, we are who we are; we are successful in our own right. So why should we push ourselves to be something different, to stretch outside our comfort zone? The power of goal setting is that it does require us to move outside our daily zone of comfort, to work toward something that is not already a part of our daily routine.
Some people say, “knowledge is power.” More accurately, knowledge isn’t power, applied knowledge is power. That is why my colleague’s statement may not stand up to the test – he knows intuitively that setting goals is the right thing to do, but chooses not to apply goal setting in his own work.
So why are goals so powerful? It is not just the goals themselves that are powerful, but rather the discipline of forcing yourself to get outside your box, of mapping out a set of actions that take you from point A to point B, of the confidence that comes from incremental action and success that makes goal setting so powerful. As you spend time in your own goal setting, consider these key principles that may guide your activity:
- As you set goals, consider setting shorter-term goals over longer-term goals. Of course we all have long term goals for which we need to strive. Setting shorter-term goals, even if they are pieces to get you to a longer-term goal, can lead to success. And success drives success – you feel good that you accomplished something, and that motivates you to keep going.
- Consider the “why” behind your goal. Why is this goal important? What are the rewards if you achieve it, or the consequences if you don’t? Often, we run forward toward our goals without taking the time to consider why they matter. Taking the time to identify rewards and consequences provides another motivator for your goal, and renews your commit to achieving the goal you set.
- What do you need to say to yourself to support your goal achievement? How often do we hold ourselves back with our self-limiting language? Consider using an inspirational quote, or a plaque, or a picture of your goal as a way to affirm your commitment and give you a visual or verbal nudge when you feel like you aren’t making progress.
What other principles or tips do YOU use when setting goals? Please share them with us and with our community.