From everyday “to-do” lists to New Year’s Resolutions, goal setting is part of the human experience. People have always needed something to strive for—something upon which to focus energy and effort.
So, if goal setting is so ingrained in our nature, why are most people so bad at it? Maybe it’s the way they approach it. Let’s get a fresh perspective.
How to Get Better at Setting (and Reaching) Goals
- Sizing Up Goals | Too many big goals lead to overwhelm whereas small goals lead to achieving bigger goals. Start small and build. Breaking your big goal into bite-size pieces will make it easier for you to follow through. Focusing on too many things at once puts you at risk of not finishing projects you started.
- Make It Personal | Asking yourself “Why do I want this?” “How will I feel when I reach it?” “What will it mean to me?” personalizes your goals. Giving your goals meaning will deepen your commitment to achieving them.
- Jot It On Paper| When your goals are written down, priorities get clear. If your goals aren’t worth the time or effort to record them, then maybe they’re not worth the time and effort of trying achieve them.
- Create An Environment | A physical environment can serve to remind you how daily tasks add up to achieving your long-term goals. Use posters, Post-It Notes, wall calendar, colored index cards, or a goal board and create visual reminders.
- Stay On Task | Earmark time out of your work schedule each week to work on task assignments you gave yourself that will position you one step closer to achieving your intended goal on time.
- Put Your Goal On the Line | Sharing goals publicly be it with family, friends, colleagues or via social media helps because it creates accountability. Knowing that others are aware of your goals increases your commitment to follow through and also serves as a great motivator.
- Get Help | Success is always easier to find with support. Talking to people about your goals (business or personal) and having some kind of support system in place can help you achieve your goals faster. Having support keeps you on track and can help you get unstuck when you find yourself in a rut or when you’ve lost momentum.
Try Setting Intentions Vs. Goals
Intentions allows you to visualize how you feel when you’re successful. It eliminates the “failure” option often associated with the process of achieving goals.
- If your goal is to land five new clients by next month, ask yourself, “What will my business be like with those new clients?” “How will I feel?”
- Now, state your intention in present tense. For example, “My business will be prosperous.” becomes “My business is prosperous.” Another example, “I will feel successful.” becomes “I feel successful.”
Landing new clients leaves you feeling empowered, confident, proud, and successful. You focus on the feelings rather than the numbers to welcome and gauge your success.
Whether goal setting or setting intentions one thing is clear—success isn’t achieved by accident. Planning ahead is what successful people have always done to get what they want out of life.