Create Greater Success with Effective Goal Setting

by Anne Bachrach

Whether your big dream is to start your own business, earn more money in your job, or simply have more time to spend with your family, it all starts out with setting a goal. You can improve the odds that you'll achieve your goals by following these steps.

Mountain climberIt’s relatively easy to set your goals, even if you have never done it or not done it much before. You start by breaking down a broad mission a dream into workable smaller parts.  You begin by writing down your broad mission and dream goals so you can create goals today that will put you on the path of achieving these long-range goals.  Put a specific date by each goal that represents when you would like to have it achieved.  The more short-term goals you create, the better, because it will fill you with more confidence as you achieve them on your road to even greater success.

Keep in mind that just writing all your professional and personal goals out on paper is not exactly a great accomplishment, in itself.  True, by thinking your plan through this far you have already done more than the average dreamer out there.  Thinking is not exactly doing though, is it?

What really matters, and what will make you ultimately successful in life, is taking action.

This is why it’s important to write down your goals with specific target dates for completion.  When you do this, it will help you actually accomplish your goals.  When you accomplish your short-term goals you know that you are on the path to achieving your long-range goals.  How would you feel to know this?  How would it feel to know that you are more consistently achieving your goals?

Let’s say you want to open a new office in another part of town.  You will want to put the exact date (month, day and year) you would like to have it open for business as the first step.  Then you will write down all the activities required for you to achieve this goal along with specific dates for completion.  As you check each activity off the list you know you are coming closer to opening the door of a new office on the date you specified.  You can always change any of your goals along the way, if you need to.  If you think one of your goals is especially intimidating, then try pushing it back to a later late.  You are not abandoning this goal, but perhaps moving it from the one-year mark to the two-year mark.

Remember to write each goal in a positive light and approach each new step with excitement.  It will help to put in exact dates and amount of money you need to help you visualize the plan and measure your achievements.

Fulfilling Your Goals

How can you write a plan when you don’t know the future?  Make no mistake about it: life isn’t always fair, and you can rest assured that things will probably not go your way at least once or twice. I simply call this, ‘life happens.’ Why does this happen?  It may not be due to any mistake on your part.  Sometimes you have to plan for the unpredictable element.

You cannot predict the future, so attempting to determine the outcome of your every endeavor might leave you feeling disappointed.  Instead, focus on what you wish to accomplish with the experience.  You can certainly determine your own performance.  Try and set goals that you have more direct control over.  This way, even a financial or personal setback will not interfere with the achievement itself.  There could be any number of obstacles that could prevent an outcome-oriented goal from being accomplished:Government law could inhibit your professional goals. Weather or climate could ruin an important event.  A bad economy could prevent you from achieving high numbers for the year.

You must also beware that others should not influence you to set unrealistic goals based on outcome or performance.  Your views on what success means could be influenced by the media, by employers or even by one’s own family.  The problem is, when others try and set the standard for success, they do so in ignorance of your personal desires and ambitions.  What makes one person successful does not necessarily make you happy.  What one person sees as high performance in a short period of time, you may well consider exhausting or you don’t view it as high performance, based on your own circumstances, desires, and ambition.

Related: How To Succeed

Setting Smart Goals

If you are looking for a system of goal setting that is easy to remember then consider the word “SMART.”  This acronym stands for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Timed.  Your goals should be specific, measurable, and at the same time relevant to your vision and measurable in physical terms.  Some people think their goals have to be ‘realistic.’  Realistic is somewhat relative.  I believe that setting a goal that may seem a bit out of reach or a challenge works to motivate me more.  If I don’t achieve this goal I still feel better that it was a stretch over what I would have set it I set a realistic goal.  You need to set your goals the way it motivates you the most.  Lastly, by attaching timing to your performance-oriented goals, you can induce yourself to take action.

Remember that you can and should modify your goals as time passes.  As you gain valuable life experience, you may find that some goals are just too easy.  If this is the case then you may want to rewrite those goals to be more personally challenging.  On the contrary, you may find that some goals are beyond your capacity, at least within a short period of time.

You may decide that it’s best to rework some of your goals into a more manageable solution.  This is acceptable.  I call this course correcting at any time.  What’s important is that you are continuing to pursue your objective and prospering at your own pace.  This is far more effective than setting very unrealistic goals and then falling by the wayside because of discouragement.  As long as you have a plan, then you are heading in the right direction.

You must write your plan with a view to taking action.  Goal setting means nothing unless you actually follow through with your plans to finish each step.  Do not sabotage your future by creating goals that are not in-synch with your abilities or time frame.  Start slowly and work your way towards the top of the mountain.  See the difference that goal setting makes in your life and as the quality of your life starts to improve.  Begin today.

Anne Bachrach is president of the California based accountability coaching firm, A.M. Enterprises. By utilizing her powerful processes, Anne's clients learn how to maximize their talents and experience a great quality of life. Her fresh approach to business is a much-needed change for stagnant businesses. For more information, go to her website at www.AccountabilityCoach.com.
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