Setting goals is an essential activity for success in life. People who set goals do more than merely exist. They are the ones who tend to thrive and live life to the fullest. It can be said that if you don’t set goals in life you are merely existing.
It is important to remember that even when you set goals, sometimes things will happen to prevent you from reaching that goal. However, you should always keep it in the back of your mind that every successful person failed miserably numerous times before they achieved success.
It’s important as you set goals that you plan out the process. Here are a few pointers to get you started:
- Don’t set the initial goal out of reach– There is no limitation to the goals you set. But don’t aim for the moon until you can get off the ground. In other words, you had to crawl before you could walk. Don’t set a totally unrealistic goal of making a million dollars next week. For example, if you want to lose 50 pounds then set a goal of losing 1 pound next week. That is a totally achievable goal, and it will encourage you to go further. If you just focus on the entire goal, when it takes you a while you will lose motivation and not reach your target.
- Don’t be unrealistic– It’s great to challenge yourself but you should keep it practical. If you are 5’6″ it’s probably unrealistic to set your goal as a professional basketball player. Not that it can’t be done, but the odds are exceedingly long unless you have unbelievable skills as a basketball player.
- Don’t expect miracles overnight– This applies to everything in life. Things take a while to produce results. You don’t become a brain surgeon overnight. It takes years of school and training. You can’t manifest the life of your dreams overnight if you are currently homeless. You can build on each step of a process to manifest the life of your dreams. Just be reasonable in your timeframe and expectations.
- Set your goals around something you really desire– When you are focused on something you desire and set your goals around them it makes it easier to focus on them. This makes it much easier to stay committed to seeing the achievement of your goals.
The SMART Theory of Goal Setting
The SMART theory of setting goals can help you achieve your goals by keeping them within the parameters above. By using SMART you are able to narrow down your goals into manageable pieces that fit into your overall goal.
Using the brain surgeon analogy from above, you would start by setting a goal of going to college. Then you would set a goal of graduating college with honors. Then your next goal would be to get into medical school, and then taking each step after that.
It is a way for us to set goals that can help us achieve our ultimate goal while giving us a roadmap to that goal. The roadmap consists of simpler steps along the way that help us to the final goal.
Each letter of SMART stands for something. Each one is a part of setting up a goal.
- Specific– The first letter of the SMART theory stands for specific. You need to be very specific about what you want. Don’t just say something like “I want to be rich”. Everyone’s idea of rich is different. Be specific about a number. If you want to earn an extra $5,000 per month, write the number down. If you desire a new house, you need to see the house in your mind. How many bedrooms, what does it look like? Be as specific as possible, then WRITE IT DOWN. Nothing focuses the mind better than writing down your desires.
- Measurable– Any goal you set has to have a way to measure its success. It’s easy to measure whether you are making an extra $5,000 per month. It’s also easy to measure your progress toward owning that new home. By looking at how much you need as a down payment, and how much you currently have saved.
- Attainable– Your goal must stay within attainable limits. In the $5,000 extra a month example, you might want to start with earning $100 or $500 more per month, then build upon that to reach the final goal. You can even set an attainable goal and then set a stretch goal. Maybe you are convinced you can earn $100 per month extra, and your stretch goal could be $500 if things go extremely well. If you set the goal as totally unrealistic and not attainable you are simply going to lose motivation and eventually give up.
- Realistic– Your goal needs to be realistic. If you set a goal of launching a rocket into space but you don’t know anything about rocket science, that’s probably not a realistic goal. If you decide you are going to meet an alien tonight on a deserted road, probably not going to happen either. But could you do something and eventually make $5,000 extra a month? Absolutely!
- Time- Set a time standard for reaching your goal. If you just say you want to earn an extra $5,000 a month, but not by when, you leave yourself open to failure. Are you going to feel good if 2 years later you still haven’t earned a dime because you didn’t have the motivation to get started? Set a realistic timeline and then set benchmarks to keep you on the path to your goal. Reevaluate your progress at regular time intervals and then adjust what you are doing accordingly. Figure out what is working and what isn’t. Then focus on what is working.
Setting goals can help us achieve the things we want in our lives. Without goals, we are probably just living an existence, with no real purpose. That is not who you are. You are someone who wants to succeed and achieve things, or you wouldn’t be reading this blog.
So take a moment to set some goals for things you want to achieve. Start with one and use the SMART theory. As you start to see results you will get supercharged, and there is literally nothing within reason you can’t achieve.