7 Steps To Effective Goal Setting

You don’t have to be a fantastic hero to do certain things – to compete. You can be just an ordinary chap, sufficiently motivated to reach challenging goals.

– Sir Edmund Hillary, first climber to successfully summit Mt. Everest

Setting goals is one of the most commonly used training tools. Goals can organize the competitors’ focus and endeavors towards achieving a specific task. They also increase persistence and motivation for long term training. Having a goal can help a performer find new learning strategies. Unfortunately, people’s goals are all too often made incorrectly. If you are interested in setting some goals, or even reevaluating your current goals, follow these seven steps for proper goal setting.

Step 1) Define your goal

Ask yourself these questions:

– What exactly do you want to accomplish?
– What achievement would be worth your very best effort?
– What would you attempt if you knew it was impossible to fail?
– What would you go for if you knew this was your very last chance?

Make sure your vision is clear and powerful, one that you would follow despite whatever setbacks and failures that might arise along the way. The goal has to be very specific (i.e. “My goal is to place in the top 32 of the Division I NAC,”), rather than vague or general (i.e. “I want to fence well.”) so you can tell whether or not you have actually reached it.

Step 2) Where are you right now?

Carefully examine where you are right now in terms of your goal. Have you been just “getting by” or do you train to reach the next level? Are you willing to do things you may not want to do in order to reach your goal? Identify when you fence your best and what creates that kind of situation.

Step 3) Be honest about what you need to do

In order to get where you want to go, you have to know how to get there. What are your strengths and weaknesses? What sort of situations do you thrive or deteriorate? Identify at least one aspect in each of the following skill type categories that needs improvement: physical (i.e. gains in speed), tactical (i.e. develop a bout winning move), technical (i.e. more accurate point control) and mental (i.e. higher confidence).

Step 4) Formulate a daily improvement plan

This is the most important step of the goal setting process. Ask yourself, “What can I do on a daily basis to work towards reaching my goal?” For each area that you identified in step 3, write out at least three or four specific actions that you can take. Write them as “I” statements and in the present tense. For example, if you need to improve your speed, you can list, “I do my plyometric exercises for fifteen minutes, three times a week.” You are more likely to follow that than, “I will get faster legs.”

Step 5) Make and work on short-term goals

The goal that you set in step 1 may take a long time to reach, perhaps months or even years. Set short-term goals to keep you motivated throughout this time. Achieving these goals will give you feedback on your progress towards your ultimate goal. They should be process orientated, and reflect that achieving your goal is an ongoing process.

Step 6) You must commit!

It is easy to say you’re going to do something- actually doing it is another story. This is analogous to people who make a New Year’s resolutions to lose weight; seldom people actually go through with it. Second guessing yourself, missing opportunities and being hesitant will only delay your eventual success. Keep reminding yourself to enjoy the journey along the way!

Step 7) Continually monitor your progress

Every day ask yourself, “Am I getting closer to my goal?” Is your goal plan actually working or does it need adjustment? If your answer is “I’m not sure”, then you are not really making progress. Write down what your small success and lessons learned along the way, or make a checklist that charts your progress. In times when it seems like your goal is too far out of reach, you can look at your progress list and visually see how far you have come, and how much closer you are to your goal.

Why Is It Important To Set Goals

Having a goal enables you to focus your energies on devising ways to achieve it. When someone makes a decision and begins focusing on achieving a specific goal (and even better in a specific period of time), the powerful subconscious mind goes to work and begins playing with ideas and developing strategies of various ways to bring about the successful completion of the goal.

When you set yourself a goal both your conscious and subconscious start working on it and begin to develop an action plan. You will find you begin asking yourself questions about what needs to be done to enable you to reach your goal. You may find yourselves coming up with amazing ideas and solutions to problems or obstacles that have been in the way of achieving your goal. Solutions and ideas that you are surprised you ever thought of may start popping into your mind.

Our subconscious is an extremely powerful tool. The more often you remind yourself of your goal, the more your mind will work on ways for you to achieve it. Some people find answers come to them when they are asleep and dreaming.

Have you ever noticed that there is no correlation between being wealthy and having a high IQ or a university degree? If there were, every doctor and university graduate would be wealthy, and as statistics show, most of them end up in the same situation as 95% of the population.

The main thing that the majority of independently wealthy people have in common is that they have set goals for themselves and achieved them. They invest time in reading and learning about wealth creation and are happy to learn from other people’s mistakes and experiences, as well as their own. They set goals, and realise that they will be far better able to achieve them if they familiarise themselves with the ways in which other people acted and the things that others have done to succeed. Wealthy people create wealth by carefully utilising the income that they have available to them to their best advantage. They know that working harder and longer hours is not the way to achieve financial freedom, instead they have to utilise what they have, and make it grow.

Setting Goals.

When you begin to work out your goals you need to make them as specific as possible. A vague idea or generalization like “I want to buy investment properties and become wealthy” is not enough. You need to be much more detailed. “I want to own my first investment property within six months. I will save for the legal and bank fees, and borrow 100% of the value of the property. I will find an extremely well priced, three bedroom brick veneer house that is close to schools and shopping centres. It will be either brand new or less than ten years old. It will be structurally sound, and require a minimal amount of maintenance. I will find a good agent to manage it, who has a lot of experience and will find me a good tenant.”

This is a specific goal, and you could add a lot more to it. Because your goal is specific your mind immediately begins to ask questions such as “How much money will I need for the fees and charges? How much does that relate to if I break it down on a weekly basis? Will I have to look at my current expenses to see where I need to cut back so as to make up the difference for the amount I need to save?” Specific goals help you to create specific, realistic action plans and as the old saying goes, “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail”.

You will find that if you write down your goals on a piece of paper, and put it in a prominent position, so that you will read it often, your subconscious as well as your conscious mind will start asking questions and coming up with answers, and you will find that you have already begun to take the necessary steps to achieving your goal.

It is helpful to have a series of goals, ranging from daily, weekly, monthly, yearly, ten yearly and thirty to forty yearly. You can always refine and change your goals as time goes on and situations change.

You may find that it is easier to start at the 40-year mark, and then work backwards. Try to work out what steps would be needed to achieve your 40-year goal, and spread them out over the different time spans, to what you would need to achieve to end up with the final result.

Try to make your goals realistic and achievable. Do not set a goal that is too hard. Set lots of small, easily achievable goals and work step by step to achieve your road to success. Stay positive. Believe in yourself and your abilities to succeed, even if other people patronise you or try to put you off, or tell you there is no point.

Setting and achieving goals help you to create a stronger character. It is always helpful to remember that our brain cannot entertain both positive and negative thoughts at the same time. If you stay positive you will dispel negative thought patterns. Even if you come across little obstacles that get in the way of your goals, don’t give up. Focus on finding a solution, rather than focussing on the problem – utilise a positive response. Focussing on finding solutions enables you to put your brain to work, to find ways around things. If you just see an obstacle as a problem and just accept that life has dealt you a blow, and let it stop you in your tracks, then you will never learn and grow. Remember that children learn to walk by falling over. Focus on the long-term achievements that you want to fulfil, and it will be easier to overcome your problems.

What is Goal Setting?

Goal setting is the process of deciding on something you want, planning how to get it, and then working towards the objective.

There are different types of Goals:

  • Personal Goals (Social , Emotional , Financial, family & friends, Acquisitions)
  • Professional Goals
  • Spiritual Goals
  • Academic / Learning Goal

Let us take some time to understand the characteristics of a goal. Goals should be:

  • Specific
  • Measureable
  • Achievable
  • Realistic
  • Timed

Most of us start with strong motivation, but somewhere along the line, we tend to lose our momentum towards achieving pour set-goals. We face “Goal Paralysis“.

The reason most people don’t reach their goals is that most people never reach their goals is that they don’t define them, or ever seriously consider them as believable or achievable.

Faith & Conviction in your Goal is mandatory!

Let us take a lot at the possible road blocks that inhibit us from reaching our goals:

  • Setting unrealistic goals
  • Underestimating completion time
  • Not appreciating failure
  • Not reviewing Progress
  • Setting Negative Goals
  • Setting too many goals
  • Setting “Other People’s Goals”

Planning and Execution are important for Goal Setting. However, there something else that is something more important for achieving a goal… Motivation.

Stephen Covey has succinctly put it. “Motivation is fire from within. If someone else tries to light that fire under you, chances are that it will burn very briefly.” Thus, Intrinsic Motivation is the best form of Motivation.

Many a times, we become demotivated and stop striving for our Goal. It is always wise to know our foes than our friends. So let us know more about some of the demotivators:

  • Unexpected challenges
  • Mismatch between concept and reality
  • Stress and pressure
  • Failure at a point
  • Emotional issues
  • Procrastination

What must one do when they are confronted by such demotivators?

  1. Visualise
  2. Realign
  3. Reconnect

Visualise:

Your goal all over again. It is noted that Visualizing is far more powerful than writing. Human beings are the sum total of what they think about and focus on the most.

Realign:

  • Keep the operational Goals small.
  • Prioritize which goals are most important for you to focus on right now. Sometimes we may have too many goals to confuse us.
  • Identify the limiting beliefs that are holding you back from moving forward. Replace them with new healthy belief systems
  • Use WIFM – what’s in (it) for me : costs and gains

Reconnect:

  • Don’t set very low goals … Higher Goals lead to a greater effect
  • Identify environments and activities that unlock energy and creativity.
  • Positive self talk & self affirmations- Change the inner script primed for failure and criticism
  • Reassess strengths and weakness

If your Goals seem very big, divide it into Short Term Goals and Long Term Goals.
Remember, your Short Term Goals are the stepping stones to your Long Term Goals.

“The Victory of Success is Half Won When One Gains The Habit Of Setting And Achieving Goals”
-Og Mandino