I’m a great believer in setting goals because as Harvey Mackay says“A dream is just a dream. A goal is a dream with a plan and a deadline”
I find setting goals and writing them on paper helps me to keep moving forward as I’m clearer to what I want. We usually know where we want to go when we turn the key in the car ignition, so why not know where we want to go in life?
Here’s a few tips on setting goalsFirst of all understand what’s important to you.
Is it family, money, fun, health, career advancement, friends ? Susan Jeffers
in her book “feel the fear and do it anyhow
” suggests making a nine box grid and putting the nine most important components in your life into it.
What changes would you like to make when you look at this grid? For example leisure might be important but you’re always too busy working or doing housework to get any, so a goal might be to have more leisure time. So make sure your goals relate to your grid.Don’t set too many goals.
It’s very easy to get carried away and try to tackle every area of our lives, but it’s better to focus on one or two aspects, as then we can be more committed to these.Leave out the “ I should have’s”.
For example, I had set a goal to migrate this blog from blogger to wordpress over Christmas. I did actually make some progress by helping a friend set up this blog
on dual diagnosis but I decided it would take too much time to learn fully. Time I’d rather spend relaxing. I did not “should” on myself by saying “I should have done it”, as this creates a sense of failure. Instead I recognised I’d under estimated the time commitment so I’ll pay Steve
our web site developer to do it instead .
I find this is often the biggest problem with clients I see. “I should have worked harder in college
etc”Be patient and let go.
We can’t always achieve our goals when we want to, so we have to be patient and wait sometimes. We have to let go. I had wanted to finish my psychology masters by February 08 but a family member’s illness and work demands meant a decision to defer. Hopefully I will finish by November 08 now. Again I’m not “shoulding” on myself.
So having set broad goals, often they need to be broken down into smaller targets, if they are very ambitious. In a work setting these are usually called objectives which many people use in their performance reviews. So some tips on setting objectives.Make sure your objectives are specific and measurable.
Saying I want to be physically fitter is not as psychologically useful as saying "I will be be able to climb the stairs at work without panting and puffing half way through". You can actually measure this achievement as it’s very specific.Make sure your objectives are achievable.
For example, saying “I want to be CEO of RyanAir before the 7th of January 08” is unlikely to be achievable. Focus your objectives on what you can control. So an achievable objective might be “I will have developed my management skills to ensure I’m in the running for future CEO jobs that might arise”Make sure your objectives are realistic within your time scale and priorities.
So the person wanting more leisure time might find getting an hour a week to do something fun is more realistic before moving to a hour a day.
I’d like to post to this blog more often, but it’s not my priority to spend more time on this so I’ll have to find a way of getting information onto the blog quicker in 2008 for this objective to be realistic for me.
You’ll notice the tips for objective setting make up the acronym SMART :S
Finally don’t worry if you fail initially as the Japanese proverb says
"Fall seven times, stand up eight
." If you can learn from your failures you’ll be further along the path towards your goal then when you started. Thomas Edison the inventor of the light bulb had thousands of failed experiments before he was successful.
Bo Bennett put it well when he said
"The discipline you learn and character you build from setting and achieving a goal can be more valuable than the achievement of the goal itself
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