Goal Setting

“There is no achievement without goals” Robert J. McKaine

Why do people fail to reach their goals? We all seem to have something that we want to work on, whether it is to lose a couple pounds and get in better shape, impress your boss so you can get that big promotion, or make better decisions with your finances. We truly want to do better and be better, yet at the end of the day we seem to fall into old habits and make little or no progress. Here are a few simple tricks to staying on track and actually accomplishing some of those goals.

Be Specific

This is the most obvious bit of advice but it may also be the most important. When you set yourself a goal, be as specific as possible. “I want to lose 10lbs” is a much better goal than “I want to get into better shape.” Having a specific goal and knowing exactly what you want to achieve will help keep you motivated until you get there.

Make the Goal Difficult

There is no point in setting a goal that is very hard to achieve. If you are in school or you think back to the days that you were in school, getting an A in a class was a worthwhile goal. However, getting an A in that class that everyone takes because it is a known fact that it is an easy A is much less satisfying than getting an A in a class that everyone struggles with. Make the goal difficult as long as it is still realistic.

Stay Positive Yet Realistic

Positive thinking is always a good thing, especially when it comes to reaching your goals. Being positive can be very motivating and help you stay on track when you may be faced with some type of temptation. However, you have to understand that it is going to be difficult to reach your goal. Any goal worth achieving is going to take ample effort, careful planning, and require your time and persistence. Thinking everything is going to be easy is only kidding yourself and setting you up for failure at some point down the road.

Think Why and What

According to Dr. Heidi Grant Halvorson in her book Succeed, goals can be thought of in relatively abstract, why-am-I-doing-this terms or in more concrete what-am-I-actually-doing terms. As Halvorson says, “think about your goals in why terms when you want to get energized, stay motivated, or avoid temptation (i.e. if your goal was to drop 10lbs). Think about your goals in what terms when you are dealing with something particularly difficult, unfamiliar, or anything that takes a long time to learn (i.e. if your goal was to learn a new language).”

Think Success and Obstacles

Think about a specific goal you have and one of the wonderful things that will happen when you reach that goal. Next, think about all the various obstacles that are going to be standing in your way of reaching your goal. Again, think about another wonderful thing that will happen, and then another obstacle. Do it again. After going through this process what do you think your chances for success are? Great? Not so great? By knowing what stands in your way you have a better understanding on how likely you are to actually achieve your goal and how committed you are going to need to be. If your goal is to drop 10lbs in the next month but you are going on a week long Caribbean cruise in three weeks you may not be setting yourself up for success. By doing this you can pick and choose which goals you are most likely to achieve at this point in your life and put yourself in a better position to succeed.

Hopefully some of these simple and helpful tricks will help you stay on track with your goals so that you can finally accomplish some great and important things in 2012.

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