"Goals are dreams with deadlines." ~ Diana Scharf Hunt
Do your goals excite you and inspire you? Does the success of these goals seem so incredibly appealing that you salivate at the thought of its completion? Or … should I ask if you set goals at all?
I have been holding onto this discussion for the end of the month because the shortest month of the year is just around the corner and what better time to make a few short term goals to get us practicing!
The Importance of Goals
During our school days, we are given assignments, deadlines, and final grades. We are given a clean and cut structure for success, and as long as we follow it and work hard, we will gain what was intended for us.
As an employee, you are expected to possess specific knowledge, complete projects, and live up to their standards. Once again, our structure for success is given to us.
If you simply want to let circumstances guide your knowledge, development, and overall direction, then by all means be content with letting other people set goals for you . It's definitely easier that way.
If we allow other's to guide our development, we are living for others and not for ourselves. Creating personal goals help us explore what we really desire, have passion for, and will guide our journey towards them.
Without goals, our dreams will always be dreams with no completion date and roadmap to follow.
How Goals Help
Goals give us new heights to strive for, to leap over, and to become a better you. Goals help you get from YOU 1.0 to YOU 2.0. The great news is, you have a lifetime to reach version ' YOU UNLEASHED', but it will never be reached without progressive steps to get there. Goals are vital for continuous personal growth.
Setting a goal is making a pact without yourself to reach a new level or to take a step in the right direction. You give yourself a bar to reach, and by golly, you are going to reach it! Can you create a goal that is so mouth-watering and awe-inspiring that you can feel the palpitation of your heart just thinking about it?
Setting Good Goals
A good goal can not just affect your rational brain (the one that knows what you should do), it needs to touch the emotional brain as well. What's the difference you may ask?
When the emotional brain is affected you feel the goal and your whole being senses the need and the impulses to act. Convincing the rational brain might get you thinking , but the emotional brain gets you moving. Ever try to work on something you know you should do but can not get the gusto to do it? The two need to work together!
How can we affect both brains? To start, a good goal needs a great visual.
Dreaming, imagining, and visualizing your goal creates an emotional attachment to the desired result, and ones that are clear and exciting will be easily interpreted by the emotional brain.
If you want to be a great public speaker, you may visualize standing in front of thousands of people while everyone laughs at your jokes, enthralled by your stories, and later expressing their compliments on how much they learned and drew from your speech. Feel the appreciation, satisfaction, and the impact you made as if it has already happened. Feel the desired income, then make goals to reach it.
If your goals do not drive you to action, then you have set lousy goals.
Sometimes we aim for the sky and set big goals. This is great. Yet, sometimes it's easy to lose focus on these goals if they are so far away. This is where marks come in. Markers are the magnifying glass that give us a closer look on our progress.
I consider marks to be 'small goals'. When we look at our long-term goals, our vision can be blurry and it may be difficult to recognize if we'd made progress or not. A marker is an indicator that progress has been made . It is concrete, easily recognizable, and a reason to celebrate. They are the mile marks along your highway of goals.
If you set the goal 'I'm going to be a great public speaker'. First, we need to know what a 'great public speaker' really means. What are the attributes of a great speaker? Which of my skills needs to be strengthened to get there? Once we know where we are going, we set marks by creating clear objectives to meet … with a deadline. Your first marker could be, "I can speak comfortably for 10 minutes in front of a small group."
Okay, I've Set Some Goals, Now What?
Setting goals is half the battle, reaching them the fun and challenging part. To ensure you have set quality goals, and to help maintain your goals, here are a few suggestions:
- Goals need to challenge us. A boring goal can lead to apathy.
- Keep your goals VISIBLE. Bring attention to them by seeing them regularly.
- Create a vision board.
- Take Small Steps Everyday. Robert Collier said "Success is the sum of small efforts, repeated day in and day out."
- Keep Score of Your Success. Write down all your successes along the way. Build upon your success! Often, success and failure are habits. Which habit do you prefer?
- Tell People . Some people will hold you accountable and encourage you, and others will not care. This is also a good way to bring attention to the people around you that care about your personal growth. As well, do not advertise a goal until you are ready for it to be a goal; if you give up on it shortly after, people will not take your 'goals' too seriously.
- Goals Can Change. Sometimes your aspirations and dreams change along your journey, this is not a bad thing. Your goals have brought you to this point which is hopefully farther than you would have been. Now, make new ones and strive onward. There is no backpedaling when it comes to goals, the important thing is you follow your passions and enjoy the ride.
"You want to set a goal that is big enough that in the process of achieving it you become someone worth becoming." ~ Jim Rohn
Start developing a beautiful picture in your mind of where you see yourself in 6 months, 1 year, 5 years, and 10 years. Imagine yourself as happy as a cucumber living out your passions and dreams. Now, come back to where you are today and start making steps to get you there. Turn these steps into goals and be conscious of them, see them regularly.
Let's make some positive changes next month! February is just around the corner and I encourage you all to partake with me in making short-term goals to make a positive change on our lives.
Is there a habit or character you would like to change? Take a one-month challenge! A one-month challenge is a great opportunity to experience new perspectives, new insights, and challenge yourself! Whenever you feel challenged, you are growing. Not challenged = not growing.
At the end of the month, if you feel great and enjoyed the change, keep it up! If the experience was not pleasant, ask yourself why, and you can always slip back into the old you without the change with no harm done.
Here are some suggestions:
- No television. (or no television during the week)
- No coffee. (addicted like most of us? Lay off for a month and see if you can adapt!)
- No Alcohol. (Give your body (liver) a break. Also helps with discovering who your friends are, and who are your 'party friends')
- Wake up early. (Have not seen the sunrise in … ever? Try being an early bird for one month and enjoy the peace and quiet)
- Practice Gratitude. (Write a letter or tell a person how much you appreciate them every day)
- No Smoking.
- Exercise everyday for at least 10 minutes.
- Clean and organize your house 10 minutes a day.
- No junk food.
- Go to bed before 11.
The options are limitless. Pick one or create one that is specific and beneficial to you.
If you choose, you do not have to set yourself up for failure by doing the extreme. You can set rules to follow that still promote growth. How about 1 cigarette a day, or 1 coffee before noon? Challenge yourself, but small changes are more beneficial than extremes that ensure failure. Check out my article on 'Kaizen'.