There’s a lot of talk about goals. From friends and family, work colleagues or supervisors, to media outlets and self-help books, everyone seems to have something to say about setting goals. But there are few things as daunting as the task of setting goals for yourself. It can be difficult to know where to start or what exactly you should do once you get started.
Section: 1. Understand what motivates you
The first step in setting goals is understanding what motivates you. You need to know what sort of things motivate you before you can begin setting goals. For example, are you motivated by learning and earning certifications, money or recognition? Perhaps it’s the feeling of accomplishment that comes with completing a task that really drives your motivation. You may be motivated to receive a Leadership position or be assigned to a special project, to work for a specific company, or become an entrepreneur. Once you know what gets your blood pumping, start thinking about specific things that would make those motivations come true.
Section: 2. Set goals that will get you excited to work on them
The next step is to set goals that will get you excited to work on. If you have a goal that’s not exciting, chances are that you won’t be motivated by it and won’t do anything about it. However, if you can find a way to make your goals interesting, then they will become more appealing. For example, if your goal is to earn $150,000 in incentive payout or to earn an incentive equivalent to your annual salary, then set additional goals against that based on what you will do when that goal is achieved. For example, once this goal is achieved, will you buy a new car, purchase a new home, or go on a vacation?
If it's a workplace goal that is provided for you, write down the specific metric(s) of the goal and the timeline it must be completed, and the actions that must be taken in order to achieve that goal. Then, add in a stretch goal for yourself which will be the metric you personally want to achieve based on exceeding the goal provided to you. This will boost personal motivation to exceed the goal and inspire behaviors for high performance.
Section: 3. Have a plan for how you're going to achieve your goals
It's important to set goals that are realistic and attainable. If you set a goal for yourself and it seems impossible, then chances are your goal isn't the right one for you. The best way to establish a plan to achieve your goals is by setting SMART Goals.
The letters of SMART stand for:
The SMART acronym is a framework that will enable you to write goals that drive greater impact.
Dr. Gail Matthews, a psychology professor at Dominican University in California, did a study on goal setting with 267 participants. She found that you are 42 percent more likely to achieve your goals just by writing them down.
Next, be strategic with your goal by breaking it up into smaller pieces so you can plan and schedule time for specific actions and milestones. This will help you avoid stress and procrastination. People who procrastinate often comment that when they wait until the last minute, they feel overwhelmed, and the task seems insurmountable.
By setting priorities and breaking the bigger goal into smaller tasks, the work is more manageable and less intimidating.This makes the goal less daunting and much more realistic to achieve.
Section: 4. Reward yourself when you reach each milestone
Goals are great, but they're only useful if you actually achieve them. It's important to reward yourself when you reach each milestone on your way to achieving your goal. This can be as simple as telling yourself "good job" or buying yourself something small like a coffee or ice cream cone. The reason this is important is that it helps you stay motivated when things get difficult. If you don't reward yourself for reaching a milestone, then it can be easy to lose your motivation and give up on your goal altogether. Plus, it's good for your mental fitness and focus to take a brain-break and treat yourself to something meaningful when you do achieve a milestone that is leading you to your end goal.
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Takeaway: Setting and achieving goals is hard work, but by following these steps, you can make it a little bit easier!
And remember, setting a Goal and taking these 4 Steps to Achieving Your Goal is just the beginning - you also have to put in the work if you want to achieve anything!
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