The Importance of Goal Setting

An invitation arrived for the first time to a yearly event in your industry that you have wanted to attend for many years.  It is the ideal venue to meet noted individuals you have longed to connect with.   You would not think about setting out to attend the event without proper attire or knowing how to get there.

Yet, how many of us start our days or travel the highways of career, family, friendships, hobbies, personal, spiritual, financial, all areas of life without direction, focus or knowing how to get there or what we want?

Though we have heard about goal setting throughout our lives many have never been privy to it’s principles, it is not taught in schools and some think it is only applicable in sales or start-ups.  Goal setting creates an important visual, a map that we may easily navigate to achieve the successes of our dreams.  It demands that we ask of ourselves exactly what we want to accomplish, how and when.

 

There are multiple benefits of journaling and writing ideas down. The process enables us to bring what is subjective to the objective realm. Similar to the mind mapping technique of writing ideas to encourage brainstorming with its non-linear design, goal setting motivates, directs, and focuses ideas with a linear approach.

Make sure plans are written clearly, visibly and appealingly to hold your attention and enjoyment in the constant and consistent review of them.  Place them and the reminders in obvious places that will catch your eye often, such as the refrigerator, bathroom mirror, exit door, in view of the shower, etc.,

Written action steps enable you to cross out what has been achieved, which boosts commitment and the competitive spirit.  The point is to keep the wick of your spirit candle burning brightly within.  This is the motivation and incentive necessary to ignite the engine of perseverance and desire.

Remember to use phrases like ‘I will’ meditate fifteen minutes in the morning versus ‘I won’t forget to meditate’, or ‘I will sell the current inventory in the next quarter’ versus ‘I will reduce my inventory through discounted sales.’

We may write a grocery list by going through our refrigerator/cabinets/pantry/or drawers, yet, if we arrive at an unfamiliar grocery store whose layout we are not familiar with, only half the task is accomplished.

In goal setting writing down what we want is also half the task, albeit important.  The other half of goal setting is the significant reference point it provides to determine where we are in our journey.  It benchmarks the progress made at any particular time.

Goal setting is a world apart from simply stating what you want in your life.  The process asks that you have a clearly defined, thought out, vision and follow through plan.  It is the what, where, how, when, why, which, of your goal.

The steps that must be taken in goal setting greatly increases the odds of achieving the end product.

The following elements are prerequisites in favorable goal setting principles.  The first process is creating the vision you want mirrored in your life.  The vision must be measurable, identifying when and how.

Set dates, strategize how many, how often, all pertinent numbers, timetables and deadlines included in the equation.  The vision must have a specific, clear map that you may comfortably navigate.  We are creatures of crisis so a determined deadline will fuel timely activity.

The attitude you create around your vision is paramount.  See yourself happy and enjoying the given environment, enthusiasm infuses energy to create a solid direction.  A beginning point, a clear path and your ultimate ending point of attainment is essential and clearly defined.

There is a thin line between setting goals that stretch our abilities, challenging us to greater heights and those that are unattainable.  Either end diminishes our intentions and progress.  The ability to set realistic goals is key and not easy because our direction is not always clear nor should it be.  Steinbeck’s novel Of Mice and Men satirizes best laid intentions.  

Woody Allen’s quote, ‘How to make God laugh, tell him your future plans.” holds the same caveat.  Somewhere in between being accountable in setting goals and acknowledging there is no crystal ball lay the horizon between action and acceptance.  The point is not to lose incentive or overwhelm oneself.

“We cannot direct the winds but we can adjust the sails.”  Tracking our progress allows us to adjust any part of the blueprint that is not working.  Our end result, the ultimate goal may not change but the action steps taken to get there should remain malleable and bend to the winds of change.

Setting up a specific and consistent time to review the goals keeps you on your toes and on top of the game. Goal setting is a continuous process that needs tracking, discipline and commitment.  It will organize your priorities, determine direction and save much time and effort.

It is important to share your goals with supportive associates. You should be able to fill them in and share your mission statement within three to five sentences, less than thirty seconds.  These comrades will be a good resource to encourage you in times of doubt or when incentive is a necessary commodity.

Remember to stay focused, “if you chase two rabbits, you will lose them both”  Last but not least, if the goals set take precedence, hold high value and fan your inner flame, seeing them through to the end will not only be satisfying, it will build character, confidence and self esteem.

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