Goal setters are goal getters

‘Man is a goal seeking animal. His life only has meaning if he is reaching out and striving for his goals.’ Aristotle

If you were about to embark on a long and complicated car journey, you would surely write down clear directions in order to arrive at your destination safely. But if you were considering the future direction of your life, your goals, and what you need to do to achieve them, it’s likely that you wouldn’t write it down. Imagine, the most critical journey of your life, and you probably won’t put a word to paper.

Clear goals give you direction in every area of your life: your career, personal relationships, self -development, financial, spiritual and health. Goals give you a sense of purpose in life, and they create energy, drive, inspiration and passion within you. Always remember, you become what you consistently think about and focus upon. What you think about consistently usually emerges as your reality. I believe that effective goal setting helps you to create the future in advance and therefore sets you up for success.

In 1984, the late Mark H. McCormack wrote the bestseller What They Don’t Teach You At Harvard Business School. He wrote about a research study conducted at Harvard between 1979 and 1989. In 1979, the MBA graduates were asked, ‘Have you set clear, written goals for your future and made plans to accomplish them?’ Only three per cent had clear written goals with action plans to achieve them. Thirteen per cent of the graduates had goals, but they were not in writing. The other eighty-four per cent had no specific goals at all. A decade later, the researchers again interviewed the students of that class. Surprisingly, they discovered that the thirteen per cent, who had goals that were not in writing, were earning on average twice as much as the eighty-four per cent who had no goals at all. The truly amazing finding was that the three per cent of students who had written, clear goals when they left Harvard, were earning over ten times as much, on average, as the other ninety-seven per cent combined. There are many other similar recorded research studies that seem to conclude with approximately the same results – that only three per cent of people set clear, written goals and action plans for their achievement. These people clearly achieve far more success and happiness in their lives and careers than others. The ability to set goals is the skill that separates these top performers from the rest.

What is a goal? A goal is simply a personal set of instructions that, when followed, yield a selected and pre-determined result.

So how do I set goals? First you must dream big! Dream of everything you want in every area of your life. Right now the gap between what can be imagined and what can be accomplished has never been smaller. It takes great goals to lead us away from our limitations and towards achieving more than we ever thought possible. Dream as you probably last did as a child, and let your imagination run wild!

You have abilities and powers that you’re not even aware of. Quite simply, the fact that you can creatively dream and desire, makes these dreams and desires possible to achieve. You were born with the power to set and achieve most of your goals, but you have probably just not learned how to master the skill. Definite results require definite plans.

We all want more out of our lives. We desire more happiness, better health and greater wealth. It’s surely a universal need within all people to grow and improve but somehow, only a few effectively do anything about it.

Why do we sometimes fail to take action? Could it be a lack of desire, a fear of failure, procrastination or self-limiting beliefs? Whatever the reason, you need to muster enough strength to say, ‘Today is the day I start making more of my life.’ This life-changing decision can be made in an instant.

Effective goal setting is the perfect starting point in your quest to achieve greater success, happiness and an extraordinary quality of life. Goal setting is at the centre of meaningful living. Starting now, set your goals and commit to realising them with energy and determination.

Define your goals with clarity
The first step in goal setting is clarity. Absolute clarity will account for the majority of your success, happiness and achievement. Your success in life will be determined by how clear you are about what you really want and why you want it. People with clear, written goals will accomplish far more, far faster than people without them.

Ask yourself, ‘What do I want?’
Be precise in what you want or desire. The more clearly defined your goal is, the easier it will be to attain. Decide exactly what you want in each area of your life: career, health, self-development, financial, relationships, contribution, personal reward, and any other goal categories that may be important to you. Be specific!

Ask yourself ‘Why do I want it?’ and ‘What will it give me?’
You need to clearly identify and understand the purpose of your goals. A clear, dedicated purpose will give you immense power. The more questions you ask yourself, and are able to answer regarding your purpose, the clearer your goal will become. Once you know the exact outcome that you desire, you will be able to create an action plan that will go a long way towards ensuring your success.

Brainstorm and prioritise your goals
Brainstorm all the goals that you wish to pursue, always asking yourself the questions, ‘What do I want?’, ‘Why do I want it?’ and ‘What will it give me?’. Remember, this is a dream list of everything you would like to be, have, or do, if you had no limitations at all. Choose two meaningful goals in each category and give each one a timeline. Highlight your most significant one-year goal as the key achievement that will drive your goal setting crusade. This major goal must be the one that truly inspires you.

Take immediate action
Once you have made a clear decision on the goals you wish to pursue, take immediate action towards each one’s attainment. These first steps will create momentum and power.

Write it down
Unless we write down our goals, they can be lost in the hustle and bustle of everyday life. What may seem clear in your mind today can become lost in the craziness that is tomorrow. I recommend that you keep a permanent record of your goals in a journal. Write each goal in a separate paragraph, using powerful words describing why you absolutely must attain it. This journal should always be with you so that you can regularly revisit your goals. I commit fifteen minutes every morning to reviewing and updating my goals and action plans. This serves as a constant reminder of what I plan to achieve that day. This daily ritual ensures that my focus is clear, and helps me to create energy and momentum as I move towards achieving my goals. I find that having clear, exciting goals and dreams gives me a sense of optimism and motivation. By writing your goals down daily, you are forced to focus on them, constantly reinforcing them in your subconscious mind. And, as I have said before, what you positively focus on with a clear and energetic action plan will become your future reality.

Get yourself on the right track and starting setting your goals today!

‘Our plans miscarry because they have no aim. When a man does not know what harbour he is making for, no wind is the right wind.’ Seneca