Without goals and plans to reach them, you are like a ship that has set sail with no destination.”
Countless studies have been done on the power of goals. When testing two separate groups where one group is encouraged to have goals and the other group is not, researchers always reach the same conclusion: you are ten times more likely to achieve your dreams and desires if you have written goals with a game plan to reach them.
You’re less likely to waste your time on unnecessary things when you have a list of your priorities, i.e. your goals. Think of goals like a to-do list. You never think, “What should I do next?” or “What was I supposed to do today?” You have your action items in front of you, and you know exactly what to do.
Goals also serve as a daily motivation. Waking up every day and thinking of life as such a drag is a symptom of not having goals. If you lack motivation, goals are the quickest way to get it back. When you’re working towards an exciting vision, you can’t wait to get up the next morning to keep making progress.
If you don’t have a clear destination, then you will spend your life drifting. You’ll probably end up somewhere you don’t want to be. As author and motivational speaker, Zig Ziglar once said, “If you aim at nothing, you will hit it every time.” Do you want nothing in your life? I didn’t think so.
An achievable goal is well thought out. It has deadline, an action plan, and it’s measureable. To write goals that meet this criteria, use the S.M.A.R.T acronym. It’s used all around the world by many colleges, coaches of top athletes, and many other performance-driven institutions. Here we will go over each letter and what it stands for.
“S” is for specific. This is where you get as clear as you can about your chief aim. Questions to answer here are: What kind? How much? How does it look?
“M” is for measurable. If you can’t measure your goal then, how will you know when you have arrived? Back to the example of my trip. I knew how many miles I had to drive. At any given point, I could see how many more miles I needed to drive to get to my destination.
That’s exactly how measurable your goal has to be. If someone asks you how far along you are with your goal or what else you need to do, you should be able to instantly answer those questions.
“A” is for attainable. When I am teaching goal-setting to other people, I get goals from two ends of the spectrum. Some that are not big enough (and therefore not motivating) and some that are way too difficult and not attainable.
f your goal is way too big and you can’t see it in the near future, you won’t pursue it with passion. Set goals that are doable and not too far out of your realm of possibility.
That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t dream big. The appropriate approach would be to break big goals down into mini-goals. If you want to be a millionaire, for example, then break it down. How much do you have to make a month to make a million dollars? How much are you making now? What is the difference between the two?
Once you find out the difference, set a goal to increase your income by, say, $10,000 in one or two years, whatever feels more comfortable to you. Then add to it every time you reach that milestone.
Which brings us to the letter “R.” Set realistic goals. The belief that you can do it is so essential to achieve your goals. It’s much easier to believe when a goal is realistic. An example of an unrealistic goal would be to say you are going to make one million dollars by the end of this year and it’s already October and you’re making $30,000 a year. You are setting yourself up for failure when your goals are too far-fetched. Since the goal is unattainable, you will be left disheartened, and you will probably discard this whole system altogether.
The final letter, “T,” is for time-specific. Now it’s time to put a deadline on your goal. By when will you accomplish your goal? Goals without deadlines are just wishes. Set a specific due date. Even if you don’t complete it by the date you specify, you’ll be much closer than if you didn’t set a deadline.
First you must figure out the goals you would like to accomplish. To do this, make sure you are in a happy mood. Give yourself at least 30 minutes to sit in a quiet place without distractions. You will need a pen and paper, or computer, whatever you like best.
Write a list of all the things you want to accomplish. Include goals for each area of your life, like friendships and family, health, emotional, finances, career, and spiritual. Add in any other areas that are important to you.
At this time, you don’t have to worry about the “how.” That’s not relevant at this stage. If it makes it easier, pretend you are sending your list to a genie who is going to make all your dreams come true. There are no limits. You can be as unrealistic as you want with this step.
Once your list is done, place a number next to each goal to represent an estimate of the number of years it will take to reach each goal. It can be 1, 2, 5, even 10 years. Next pick roughly 10-15 one-year goals you would like to focus on.
To keep a balanced life, try to choose a few goals for each area of your life. For example, include goals in the areas of business, finances, family relationships, fitness, fun, and giving.
Now it’s time to put the “S.M.A.R.T.” philosophy to use. Write each goal down using the acronym. There are a few things to keep in mind when you write your goals. Make sure they are stated in the present moment. Avoid starting with weak words such as “I want” or “I will.” Instead use determined words like “I have” and “I am.” Also, add adjectives to describe your goals and make them more compelling and fun. If you have done the job correctly, your goals should look like the following:
I enjoy reading 25 new inspiring books by June 1, 2017.
I easily gain at least 100 new, amazing, and likeminded customers by December 31, 2017.
Notice the goals are:
Specific. Anyone can read it and know exactly what I want to achieve. Measurable. I know how many customers I want to attract and how
many books I’d like to read.
Attainable, given the current circumstances.
Realistic (to me, at least). Your goals must be realistic to you, not to
Time-specific. My goals have a deadline. You need a due date;
otherwise, your goals are just wishes.
Finally, my goals are stated in the present moment. I wrote them as
facts, like they’ve already manifested in my life.
To further enhance this experience, below each goal, write down why
you would like to accomplish it. It is said that when your “why” is big enough, you are halfway there. You could note the “how” as well. List at least two things you are going to do to help you accomplish your goals.
Read your goals each night with emotion before you go to bed so that your subconscious mind can get to work on them over night. Don’t be surprised if you wake up with big ideas. Read them first thing in the morning as well. That will help you keep them in mind throughout the day.