Setting goals I believe is something that is very critical, easy to understand, yet severally underused. Whether you decide to state your goals publicly or not is your choice, however I think setting goals is a must in any walk of life.
Every month I write out my new goals as well as reflect on what I’ve learned through that process. I’ve been doing that for over a year now, getting better and smarter about setting goals and growing myself. Today I’d like to share some of those lessons I’ve learned through setting goals and obtaining them.
Begin with a purpose in mind
In high school we had SMART goals drilled into our brains until we were tired of it. For me this is an important concept but since most people are no doubt familiar with it I want to go a step further with that simple framework.
Though your goals should be SMART goals, I believe setting those kinds of goals can make it easier for you to create goals with purpose.
Why is this important?
In the book Smarter, Faster, Better, Charles Duhigg shares the knowledge of creating goals with tying a purpose to it. By asking yourself “Why am I doing this?” it prompts us to tie a goal with something that we actually value.
Early on I set a lot of goals but there lacked purpose behind them. Often times I completed a few but more often than not I failed the vast majority of them. I still fail in accomplishing goals however there are less failures and the goals are far more refined. I make it a priority to explain to myself why these goals are so important to me.
Focus on the direction, not the destination
This is something that I harp on a lot, but it is still worth mentioning. Even though setting goals is obviously a good thing, I believe a lot of people are guilty of a “destination-oriented” mindset when it comes to goal setting.
What I mean by this is that people work really hard to accomplish the goal, but stop once they complete it.
I understand people have multiple goals, hell I tend to set five goals over the month. It’s tough, but I believe our goals are much like our habits. Hence stopping after you complete that goal would break that habit.
Think about it.
Yes accomplishing a goal is great and satisfying. You worked hard and pushed yourself. In order to accomplish that goal you would have to do something more frequently and thus develop a habit of doing that.
When you stop it gets tough to get back into it. You need to retrain your brain to motivate yourself to do it again.
Instead of pausing after you accomplish a goal, consider moving past it, seeing how much further you can go. A “direction-oriented” mindset.
For one it prompts you to not be so harsh on yourself. When you’re focused on a destination you are either there or you’re not. With a direction you’re more focused on did you make any effort towards reaching your goal. Regardless of the outcome, you are more inclined to respond positively when you see goals as directions.
Furthermore, setting a direction prompts you to continue developing that habit. Still keep track of your other goals and when you accomplish them before your deadline, consider going a step further when you have down time or you want a change of pace.
Visualize Your Goals
This was something I wrote about today on my blog and is something that I applied only yesterday. Nevertheless it’s still very effective for myself that I’d like to share this as well.
This concept for me works similar to the law of attraction. Essentially what you express outwardly is what you attract in your own life. When you focus on a lack, you’ll only increase that lack. When you focus on abundance, you’ll increase the abundance.
Going one step farther with that is getting the law of attraction to work for you. Rhonda Byrne, author of The Secret teaches that to have it work for you, you must visualize that you have what you seek already.
Over the months I’ve spent time interpreting that, understanding it in principal but not actually applying it until yesterday. Surprisingly things turned out a lot better for me.
I only used it for immediate short-term goals like working out for an extended period of time or running a certain distance. However I can imagine it can do wonders long-term.
I see this as going an extra mile in certain cases. Writing a goal, having a plan, and talking to people about it is good and I recommend that. But visualizing your goal and telling yourself that you have the tools necessary to get there can also be a stronger selling point to committing to your goals.
Let’s hear your thoughts.
Do you believe committing to goals in that fashion will work?
To your growth!
Eric S Burdon