Setting Effective Goals
Approaches to Setting Effective Goals
Setting goals is an instrumental part of your personal growth. Without goals, you won't know what to aim for, why you're aiming for it, or what it will look like when you get there. Setting and accomplishing goals gives you something very tangible and concrete to celebrate, and reminds you along the way that there's a light at the end of the tunnel.
However, what many people don't realize is that whether or not they accomplish a goal is largely decided when they set it. This being said, it is important to decide the specific details and milestones of the goal, the timeframe to achieve the goal, the level of effort that you are going to dedicate to obtaining the goal, and the overall importance of achieving the goal. By taking the time to determine the specific details of each goal, you will increase the likelihood of obtaining each goal that you set.
Five Qualities of Awesome Goals
Whether your goal is to get in shape, learn an instrument or travel to another country, it should include five basic qualities. It must be specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and timely. Let's break down what each of these qualities mean, using the example of learning to play tennis.
Specific - Your goal must be clearly defined rather than ambiguous. Instead of simply saying that you want to learn how to play tennis, say that you will start by learning the forehand and backhand swings as well as the scoring rules.
Measurable - You'll need to make the above example even more specific if you want to make it measurable. For example, you might decide that you want to practice your forehand and backhand swings at least 30 minutes per day for the next two weeks. If you find that you're not practicing often enough, you can then make the necessary adjustments to your schedule.
Attainable - Next, you'll need to make sure that you can realistically attain your goal in a reasonable amount of time. For example, if your goal is to become a professional tennis player, saying that you'll do so in six months with no tennis experience will not represent an attainable goal. Saying that you'll compete in an amateur tennis league in six months is far more attainable.
Relevant - If the goal is relevant and meaningful to your life, why bother? Although this one can sometimes seem obvious, some people have a difficult time determining whether a given goal is one that they actually want to pursue, or one that other people are expecting them to pursue. If you have no interest in tennis and already get plenty of physical activity elsewhere, choose a different goal.
Timely - All goals must include an expected date of completion, if not a total deadline. By holding yourself to a specific time frame, you'll be more likely to take action earlier rather than continually saying that you'll get things done later. You'll also know whether you're ahead of or behind schedule at any given point in the process.
Assessing and Reevaluating Goals
Whenever you're working toward a goal, it's a good idea to occasionally assess your progress. This will allow you to determine whether you're on track to complete the goal in the time frame you've specified. It may even be a good idea to plan for reevaluations, as well as strategies you can implement if necessary, when you first set your goal.
For example, as you're learning to play tennis you might find that your backhand isn't coming along nearly as quickly as your forehand. Since this will give your opponents a clear advantage, it might be wise to take a day and focus exclusively on developing your backhand, even if the original definition of your goal didn't necessarily allow for something like this. The bottom line is to use common sense and make the decisions necessary to accomplish the goal you've set.
Part of the process of improving your ability to set goals is to define a clear life purpose and outline your passions, precisely what the Discovery Series from LifePath Unlimited is designed to help you do. You'll learn the essential paths to self-improvement in an exciting interactive online course. You'll also gain access to tips from some of the personal development industry's leading experts.
By knowing exactly how to set your goals, especially with the help of tools like LifePath Unlimited products, you'll have a much better chance of accomplishing them how and when you want, not to mention a much easier time while you're actually working toward the goals.
For additional help in setting and accomplishing your goals, contact us today.