The No Fuss Guide to Goal Setting

I frequently speak to people who are frustrated that their career hasn’t taken them where they want to be, yet they don’t have a clear goal defined to work towards. If you want to be purposeful in your career direction and choices, then the secret to success is having clearly defined goals to work towards.

The beauty of goal setting is that it prompts us to consider what we want from our life and career and moves us out of thinking mode and into acting mode.  And we all know that it is action, not thinking, that delivers outcomes!

The process of goal setting doesn’t need to be daunting or arduous; these three simple steps will have your goal defined in no time.

SETTING THE GOAL

The objective of your goal, as well as giving you something to work towards, is about generating motivation and inspiration so that during the goal striving phase (which can be over an extended period), you don’t lose momentum. The key to this is creating a goal that isn’t just an explanation of the outcome but is a statement that also generates emotion, excitement and energy.

So, when creating your goal statement, work through the following four steps:

What:
Ask yourself what your ultimate vision is?  What is it that you will be doing when you have achieved your goal? How would you describe the outcome when your goal is achieved?  Make sure that your ‘what’ is specific and measurable.

When:
Research has proven that goals without timelines are usually not achieved. Timelines and deadlines keep you accountable, so are essential components of your goal statement. So, make sure your goal statement includes a date by which you will have achieved your goal, first checking that it is realistic, yet still a stretch.

Why:
The ‘why’ is the inspiration and the motivation – the thing that will keep you striving, even during those tough days. It’s what makes the goal and its achievement important to you. Think about why you are pursuing this goal and incorporate this into your goal statement.

Polished Goal:
You should now have a rough and ready goal drafted, so the next step is to bring all these pieces together into a clear goal statement.  Once you have done this, step back and ask yourself how motivating and energising it is, on a scale of 1 to 5 (1 being not at all motivating, to 5 being significantly motivating).  If you are around a 3 or 4, think about what polishing you can do to make this goal statement a 5 – do you need to bring more of the ‘why’ into it, to create some more emotion?

When you have your polished goal statement, make sure you keep it somewhere you will see it regularly, as it’s important for goal achievement to have a regular reminder of what you are striving for.

MILESTONE DEFINITION

A goal in itself can feel like a daunting undertaking; a little like looking up Everest without a plan.  So, the next step is to break it down into manageable steps. All goals will have major milestones that need to be achieved along the way, so break your goal down into its key milestones – think of these as the stepping stones along the way to achieving your goal.

These milestones, or stepping stones, will serve as ‘sub-goals’, giving you short to the mid-term focus and preventing the end goal from feeling overwhelming.

THE REWARD

We all know that reward is a great way to maintain motivation, so take the time to define a reward for yourself, that will be yours when you achieve your goal. 

Conclusion

However, you choose to achieve your goals the point remains the same: focus only on the goals that matter, break them into smaller steps, and start work immediately. 

Goals are ambiguous things that we as humans struggle to define and work towards. Hopefully, the above guide will provide the framework to create a path to success.

Your turn…

Be sure to share your own tips for effective goal setting in the comments below.

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