Most of us have at some stage set goals. Some of them have been achieved, others not. What is it that sets these goals apart? What is the box that needs to be ticked in order to reach that goal? To be honest, I don’t believe there is any ONE thing that makes you reach a goal whether it is personal, or business. What I do believe is that there are steps that need to be taken in order to reach a goal, and when you couple these with an infallible reason for wanting that goal you are more likely to succeed.
- Work out what the goal is. Be very detailed. If you goal is own a new car. What is the make? What extras do you want? Colour? Manual / Auto?
- Get a taste of your goal. I’m all for doing this before you get further along in the process. Using this example, I would go for a test drive in your goal car. Take a picture of you with it while you are there. Is it still the car you want after the drive?
- Work out what steps are needed to reach your goal? Staying with the car idea, will you need to save money? Will you need to arrange finance?
- Write a SMART Goal. SMART Goals have been detailed for a gazillion years, and have various versions. Here is the one I tend to use.
Specific You will own a XYZ car
Measurable You will need to save $1000 a month / every month for 10 months.
Achievable You will have saved $10,000 in 10 months for the car deposit.
Realistic You are willing and able to save this money.
Timely On 01/04/2011 you will be parking XYZ car in your garage.
- Turn this goal into a powerful statement. “It is the 1st of April 2011 and I am so proud and grateful for what I have been able to achieve. I felt like a princess driving my new XYZ car into my garage this morning. I can now get anywhere I want, in the style I like to travel and I have that great DVD player in the back to stop the kids annoying me with ‘are we there yet’. I no longer have to rely on public transport when John has the car, so now I have so much extra time to do what I want, when I want”
- Surround yourself with your goal. Keep the picture of you and the car in your diary, on the fridge, on the bathroom mirror – everywhere. Also keep copies of your statement visible everywhere. For this goal I would also get copies of the car brochures and have them stuck up, and see if you can get a miniature version of the car to stick in your handbag.
- Keep a goal Tracker handy. For each goal this would be different. For a savings goal I would have a daily expenditure sheet that you will in every night. Review this weekly to see if you are on track.
- Get a Goal Friend. In this case it would be great to have a savings pal – but it doesn’t have to be a person. You could set up a direct debit to take a set amount of money from your saving account into a high interest account (that can’t be easily accessed). How good a friend would that be? For fitness goals see if you can check in with a friend etc once a week to keep you on track.
- Stay in tune with your goal Some people ‘set and forget’ and see what happens, I’m more of a keep experiencing your goal so you keep the fire in your belly. Tell the guy at the car yard what you are trying to do, and see if he’ll let you sit in the car once a week. There is nothing like that new car smell to keep you wanting it. If it’s a slinky black dress in a shop you are aiming your weight loss for – go and try it on, every week.
- Celebrate you goal. I would do this for all the little steps and then the big celebration. Staying with the car, I would celebrate every $1000 with a small treat. Say you have given up buying coffee 3 times a day – allow yourself a day of coffee. Then when you get to the end you need a big celebration. Reaching a goal is a big thing that many people don’t fully appreciate. I would give my new car a name and pop a bottle of champagne when I parked in my driveway (I wouldn’t recommend cracking it on the car like you do a boat).
I hope you’ve enjoyed my version of specific goal setting. Later on, I’ll write about how to identify goals in the major areas of your life.
Remember – if you don’t set and achieve goals you could still be doing the same same in 20 years time. Goals are what move us along in life.