When was the last time that you achieved an important personal goal? Did it enhance your life in a tangible way? Did it lead to praise or accolades from others you respect? Or were you filled with a deeply rooted sense of pride?
Many of us have good intentions, but ultimately allow our energy and time to wane when it comes to the pursuit of our objectives.
Take these steps to develop goals that get results:
Step 1: Get Your Mind Right
The journey towards effective goal setting begins with our attitudes and thoughts. Explore your level of self-efficacy (the degree to which you believe that you can achieve something). Acknowledge a mentality that potentially stands to threaten your success and address it directly. Focus on what you will do versus what you won’t do.
Step 2: Be Specific
Create goals that provide you with laser focus on a precise outcome. A detailed goal will you the clarity required to identify next steps. Think “Complete a 30 minute cardio workout 3 times a week” instead of “Workout more.” Use the SMART framework to create detailed objectives.
Step 3: Commit in Ink
This is so simple that it almost seems ridiculous: Write your goals down. Research suggests that people who write their goals are more likely to achieve them. That’s it. Boo-yah.
So get a pen and some paper, open up a Word document on your computer – and get your documentation on.
Step 4: Check Your Progress
Take stock of how you are doing and how far you have to go to reach your goals. Consistent feedback will give you a realistic view of how your efforts are paying off.
And lets revisit your mentality for a minute: adopting a growth mindset (the belief that you can learn and enhance your capabilities) can provide motivation when you have a ways yet to go. Stanford University psychologist Carol Dweck suggests that using the word ‘yet’ can be a subtle but powerful way to shift into a growth mindset and carry you forward. Open yourself to the possibilities that can become realities with time.
Step 5: Visualize the Whole Journey
Give yourself the freedom and latitude to envision the desired results of your goal. Research from UCLA suggests, however, that it is important that you visualize about the process and requisite steps to achieve your objectives in addition to the results.
Studies show that if you fantasize purely about the outcome, you can actually erode the habits that you need to establish to gain momentum.
Step 6: Act Now
Seize the moment and take action to make progress towards your goals whenever you can reasonably do so. Experts suggest that advance planning will better position you to recognize and act on opportunities that will support your objectives when they occur. This “preparation” to act can increase your chances of success by ~300%.
Meaningful goal setting allows us to grow and create our vision of success. You can invest in the development of specific objectives and see them through to fruition!
Which one of these steps do you need to incorporate as you pursue your goals?