Master The Art of Goal Setting

One of the amazing things we have been given as humans in the unquenchable desire to have dreams of a better life and the ability to establish and set goals to live out those dreams.

We can look deep within our hearts and dream of a better situation for ourselves and our families. We can dream of better financial, emotional, spiritual or physical lives. We have also been given the ability to not only dream, but to pursue those dreams – and not just pursue them, to achieve those dreams!

What are your dreams and goals? This isn’t what you already have or what you have done, but what you really want. Have you ever really sat down and thought through your life values and decided what you really want? Have you ever taken the time to truly reflect, to listen quietly to your heart, to see what dreams live within you? Your dreams are there. Everyone has them. They may live right on the surface, or they may be buried deep from years of others telling you they were foolish, but they are there.

You must ask the hard questions to get excited about your dreams, and then you must translate that excitement into the specific goals that you want.

“It must be borne in mind that the tragedy of life doesn’t lie in not reaching your goal.  The tragedy lies in having no goals to reach.”        Benjamin E. Mays

Seven Steps to Successful Goal Setting

1. Listen to Yourself
How do we know what our dreams are? This is an interesting process and relates primarily to the art of listening. This is not listening to others, it is listening to yourself. If we listen to others, we hear their plans and dreams, and, at times, others will try to put their plans and dreams on us. If we listen to others, we can never be fulfilled. We will only chase elusive dreams that are not rooted deep within us.

Instead, we must listen to our own hearts to hear the dreams born out of the passions and desire we each uniquely possess. Just like when you are quiet enough to hear your own heart beating within your chest, your dreams have their own rhythm. All you need do is get quiet enough to hear the beat.

2. Take Time to Be Quiet

Taking the time to be quiet is something we do not do often enough in this busy world. We rush and are constantly listening to noise all around us. We must not get faked out by just being busy. Instead, we must constantly ask ourselves the question, “Busy doing what?” In other words, are the activities you are participating in moving you towards your goals? If not, then work to eliminate those things and replace some of that time with quiet.

The human heart was meant to have times of quiet reflection, allowing us to peer deep within ourselves. It is when we do this that our hearts are set free to soar and take flight on the wings of our own dreams. Schedule some quiet “dream time” this week. No other people. No cellphone. No computer. Just you, a pad, a pen and your thoughts.

Think about what really thrills you. When you are quiet, think about those things that really get your blood moving. What would you love to do, either for fun or for a living? What would you live to accomplish? What would you try if you were guaranteed to succeed? What big thoughts move your heart into a state of excitement and joy? When you answer these questions, you’ll feel terrific because you’re in the “dream zone.” It is only when we get to this point that we can truly realize and begin to experience what our dreams are.

3. Make a List and Prioritize

Write down all your dreams as you have them. Don’t think of any as too foolish or unachievable – remember, you are dreaming! Let your thoughts and pen fly as you take careful record.

Now look at your list and prioritize those dreams. Which are most important? Which would you love to do the most? Put them in the order you actually want to achieve them.

Those who dream, who set goals and act on them, are those who live lives of joy and have a sense of peace. That feeling is priceless.

Remember: These are the dreams and goals born out of your heart and mind, goals unique to you, and they come from who you were created to be and gifted to become. Your specific goals are what you want to achieve because they will make your life joyful and bring fulfillment for both you and your family.

“Our job is not to figure out the “How”.  The “How” will show up out of the commitment and belief in the “What”.
Jack Canfield

4. Wheel of Life

Try Zig Ziglar’s Wheel of Life approach to life, balance, and goal setting. This technique consists in drawing a little chart. Write down each of the various areas of your life – family, health, self-development, rest, career, finances, relationships, and spiritual – in a new column or line.

Start by assessing your current happiness level in each of these categories, by giving it a score from 1 to 10.

Now, think what will make you be fully satisfied with each area so that you can assign 10 out of 10 points to it. Write down your ideas – you will be able to transform them into personal goals.

5. Stretch Your Thinking

Set stretch goals for exponential growth. They are powerful. They grow you. They can push you past what you believe possible.

Stretch goals are goals that challenge you. In fact, the point of a stretch goal is to push you past what you think is possible into the impossible. SMART goals by themselves do not push us into greatness. One of the letters of SMART goals is the “A”, which stands for “Attainable”. The danger with this letter is that many set goals that are too easy. They know how they will accomplish it and know that they can. They don’t challenge themselves. Easy goals do not inspire or bring out the best in you. Challenging goals do! If you set a stretch goal and you know how you are going to accomplish it. It’s not really a stretch goal.

Stretch goals are goals that challenge you. They are the “impossible” goals that you don’t know how you are going to do it – yet. They are goals that you disregard every year because “that’s impossible” or “I could never to that.” When I say impossible I mean something that challenges you, something that you want to accomplish but have no idea how. Great things happen because people chase the “impossible.”

You can’t keep doing the same things and expect to accomplish the “impossible”. Stretch goals require you to learn, grow, change, and challenge yourself.

6. Timely, Measurable Goals

Set goals that are time bound and measurable. Your goal must be time-bound in that it has a start and finish date. It the goals is not time constrained, there will be no sense of urgency and motivation to achieve the goal. Does your goal have a deadline? Measurable means that you identify exactly what it is you will see, hear and feel when your reach your goal. Include precise amounts, dates and so on in your goals so you can measure your degree of success.

7. Set Goals in Writing

The physical act of writing down your goal makes it real and tangible. People who actually write down their goals are more likely to achieve the goal. There is a personal commitment at play when you physically write down your goal, the goal is embedded in your mind and your subconscious looks for every opportunity to work on achieving the goal. Write a positive statement in the present tense. As Bob Proctor suggests, begin with “I am so happy and grateful now that …” and fill it in with your goal. For example “I am so happy and grateful now that I am earning $XX per year”, or “I am so happy and grateful now that I weigh my perfect weight of 130 lbs.”

See the next step…Master the Art of Goal Achieving