Goal Setting is the essential skill for success. No matter what you read or who you listen too they always have one simple message when it comes to being successful. "Successful people set goals and work to achieve them".
Of course goal setting is a complex task and there are good ways and bad ways of doing it. Perhaps the most famous of the good ways is the SMART system. Where you set goals that are Sustainable, Measurably, Achievable, Realistic and Timely. There are variations on the words that apply to this acronym but the points are always similar. Add to this what I like to call the 3 R's of Reason, Resources and Reward and you start to build some very useful tools indeed.
Perhaps the biggest reason that goals don't succeed is that it is one thing to make them but quite another to do them. Make sure you share your goals with understanding people, especially those who can help you achieve them. Make sure a goal is not too difficult for you and you feel committed to it. Don't set too many goals at the same time. Make sure this is a goal that means something to you and not one imposed on you by someone else.
More than anything else you need to be reminded of your goals on a constant basis. The higher they are in your memory the more likely they are to be worked at. Think to yourself every day (including holidays etc) what can I do today to work towards my goal? I include holidays because you should not forget them EVER. On holiday the answer might to that you work towards it by relaxing and re-energising but you still need to remember them. If you hate the thought of remembering them on your holiday then perhaps they are the wrong goals for you!
Another valuable way to make sure you achieve your goals is to tell someone else your intentions (something you can easily do through this system).
The American Society for Training and Development conducted a study on goal completion and they found that:
- 25% of the people who consciously decide to set a goal achieve it.
- 40% of people who decide when they will do it achieve their goal.
- 50% of people who plan how they will do it achieve their goal.
- Whereas a whopping 65% of people who tell someone else they will do it achieve their goal
Anyway right now set yourself a goal for one week. Make it something you can easily do for now but which is different from what is normal for you. Make sure you do this one well and succeed at it. Then at the end of the week reward yourself for what you have done. Repeat this for three weeks.
The following weeks your goals should be more challenging but for the first three weeks make them habit forming. Most habits are formed after 21 days practice. Once you have the habit you can use your new goal keeping habit for success in lots of things. Have fun.