Goal Setting: What's the deal?

Goal setting is just a process - but it is a very important personal process that helps you get what you really want out of life.

Throughout ancient and modern history, there is a clear link between people that set goals and people that succeed, because people who set goals have a clear direction towards their chosen destination - people who succeed have goals, and people who have goals succeed.

Knowing about goals helps you:

  • Work out what you really want – this is personal. You’re the only one who knows what you really want, and it’s often not what you think.
  • Work out a plan of attack to help you achieve what you really want – there is no point having a great goal if you don’t know how to get there.
  • Give you the motivation to put your plan into action – since your goals will be personal and meaningful to you and based on what you really want, you will be motivated to achieve it. But you also need the right 'can do' attitude!
  • Keep track of where you are going by helping you focus on the 'big picture', to ensure you don’t lose your direction – it’s easy to get distracted by life’s little obstacles, so goal setting will help you focus your time and energy in the right direction.

Goals are well-defined targets that give you direction and motivation – they are your road map to success (that is, what YOU consider to be success), your life’s plan, your personal guide to the future. Goals can be focused on:

  • Developing a new skill – perhaps you’ve always wanted to learn a new language, how to dance or play a musical instrument.
  • Improving your current skills, whether they be focused on career tasks or life skills such as budgeting.
  • Beating old habits like smoking, or developing better ones like exercise and healthy eating habits.
  • Producing an outcome, achieving your dream – it could be achieving more harmonious relationships with your family, wealth creation or achieving a career goal.

The key to goal setting success is to keep your goals 'personal' – they are yours and yours alone, although they may include aspects involving family and friends. The most common mistake people make when setting goals is using someone else’s goals as your own - don't fall into this trap and become someone you're not!

Why goal setting works

It’s like a map - people who know where they are going and how to get there are more likely to get there than people who don’t. Goals are like your target destination, and the Action Plans developed as part of the goal setting process are your map.

More specifically, goal setting works because:

  • It gives you something to aim for – not only that, it gives you something MEANINGFUL and personal to aim for.
  • It helps you focus your time and energy on achieving your goals – instead of your efforts being spent on meaningless activities and tasks, your action plan will give you a clear plan of attack by setting your priorities.
  • It gives you motivation – because the goals are MEANINGFUL and personal to you, you’ll want to achieve them. You'll look forward to achieving them. This gives you the motivation and energy to keep going towards your end goal.

Of course it will only work for you if you stick to the process and follow it properly [the 'How to Set Goals' tab on the NavBar will show you 'how'].

You also need to know where goal setting can go wrong so you don't fall into the same traps.

And if you do have a set-back, it is important to bounce back and persevere!

Failure to achieve a particular deadline or part of a goal shouldn’t make you throw up your arms and give up. Learn from your setbacks and failures – why did it happen? What can you do to stop it happening again? If you do this, you will be stronger and wiser and less likely to fail again.

Don’t see a setback as a ‘failure’, but rather a learning experience from which you can gain strength and conviction to continue.

Who should set goals?

It is well reported that …people who succeed have goals, and people who have goals succeed. Therefore, goal setting is for everybody who wants to succeed!

Despite this well-known fact, 95% of people on this planet don’t set or achieve goals and haven’t achieved what they really want to achieve – are YOU one of these 95%? Or maybe you fit into one of the following categories:

  • You think there should be more to your life than there is?
  • You are getting frustrated that other people are achieving more than you?
  • You want more of the action?
  • You are sick and tired of all those ‘get rich quick’ schemes and other systems that promise endless success but don’t deliver?
  • You set new years resolutions every year, only to have forgotten about them before January’s over?
  • You feel like you don’t know where your life is heading? You feel lost, directionless and unhappy?
  • You keep comparing yourself with other people you know and ask “Why are they so successful? What have they got that I haven’t got?"

Whether you want to make more money, or have a more rewarding career, or lose weight, or quit smoking – the process involved to achieve all of these things is essentially the same. Goal setting is a proven system of identifying your goals based on your personal beliefs and needs and setting a course of action to achieve them.

Goal setting has worked for thousands of years – the ancient Romans, Napoleon Bonaparte and today’s military and business leaders – they all do it. Why else do you think they were and are so successful?

Putting it simply:

…people who succeed have goals, and people who have goals succeed.

It doesn’t matter what type of goal setter you are, the process used to set goals is the same for everyone - from stay-at-home mums to corporate executives - because the principles of goal setting are the same, its just the personal goals that are different.

Some final comments...

Have a look at the FREE Life Planning Program and TOOLS in the ToolBOX – some of these Tools you’ll think are pretty good, and others may not help you so much. The important thing is to pick out the tools and techniques that work for you, including ones you find from other websites, and add these to your goal-setting arsenal.

Some final tips before you go:

  • Practice makes perfect – goal setting is a skill, so don’t worry if it takes a couple of goals to get the hang of it
  • If at first you don’t succeed, try again! (but learn from your mistakes)
  • Know yourself. Keep goal setting personal and meaningful to you – the ‘Why' is more important than the ‘What’
  • Put it in writing and don’t forget the action plans.
  • Don’t lose sight of the ‘Big-Picture’, but don’t be afraid to shift the goal posts if you have to.
  • Enjoy the journey too!

So, be prepared to reap the benefits of your efforts as you take control of your life and achieve goal setting success!

More on:

  • How to Set Goals - Find out how to set Goals that maximise your success. Find out the critical elements of a goal – this is the ultimate “HOW TO” guide for setting goals!
  • How to Achieve Goals - now that you have a sure-fire goal for success find out how to achieve your goals and get the key to goals setting success that enables you to launch into action!.

There are also some great articles on setting goals in the “Articles” section of the website. Or tell us about YOUR goals or great advice on setting and achieving goals and inspire other goal setters to achieve!

Also read this quick e-book or this one on “How to set SMART goals and get your mind focused into action”.

And of course, not forgetting the most important people in our lives – we’ve put together this section on teaching children how to set goals.

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