The Power of Goals
The Power of Goals
For many years I’ve lived by the creed that while the world owes you nothing (it is up to you to achieve things in life), while at the same time no one can stop you from getting what you want. But you have to know what you want to get what you want, and in life we don’t get what we wish for, we get what we deserve (what we work for). As such, it is vital that you take the time to define clearly what you want – what your goals are. Here is a simple but powerful system I developed. The investment of time to really think carefully about what you want and how you’ll get it has incredible return potential as those few minutes of conscious introspection will help to shape your subconscious thoughts as well as your actions minute to minute, hour to hour, day to day and year to year.
Effective Goal Setting – The Key Components
What: This is where you state what you want – what the goal is (to lose weight, make a team, get a promotion, etc.).
When: It is important to set a timeline or deadline. This creates a sense of urgency, specificity, as to when you want to accomplish the goal.
Who: While achieving the goal will largely be up to you, at times other people are involved – list their contributions and make sure they are clear on your goals (coaches, parents, siblings, etc.).
How: It is important that you list specifically the major ways you will accomplish your goals. Be as clear and precise as possible. Here is where often people fall short – they set a goal, but never take the time to figure out how they will actually accomplish it.
Why: This is probably the most vital component of effective goals. The Why gives you reasons every day to choose your goal over other distractions, less important activities, etc. Be honest with yourself as to why this goal is important to you. By answering this question, you will have the motivation daily to put your energy into achieving the goal rather on things you have determined are less important to you. There are only so many hours in the day and how you spend them will determine where you end up in the future.
General Comments: Write in the first person (I will do this), be as specific as possible. Review your goals every morning to set the tone for the day, and at night before you go to bed to see if you are on track to accomplishing your goal. Monitoring your goals is essential – it is not enough to write them down and forget about them, you need to review them regularly and be realistic about your progress towards them.
Ineffective Goal: “I don’t want to be fat.” (negative vs. positive goal, no time frame, no specificity).
Effective Goal: “I will lose 20 lbs. within 90 days. I am responsible for this goal and will be supported by my personal trainer and family. I will lose this weight as it will give me confidence and energy. In addition, I will be a better role model for my kids and be able to do more things with them (running, skiing, etc.). I will lose the weight by reducing my alcohol intake from 5 glasses of wine a week to 2 (weekends only) and replace with water. In addition, I will increase my walking/running to 4 days a week from 2, and add interval circuit weight training. I will also eat less bread/pasta and substitute veggies. I will weigh myself each morning around the same time and if I don’t see progress, I will increase my expenditures slightly (running, weights, etc.) and decrease my consumption slightly (food, drink) until I start seeing progress consistent with my goals.
There is virtually nothing you can’t accomplish if you set a clear goal and work towards it persistently and consistently. Often, we don’t know where to begin – or are afraid to start. Don’t overthink things. Begin with something you are pretty sure you can achieve, write it down using the system above, accomplish it, and that will get the momentum going for the next, bigger goal. Only you can create your life – do so one intentional, powerful step at a time.