It is estimated that approximately 3% of the population has a set of concrete, written goals. If the full impact of goal setting were realized, and more importantly the results it produces, we would undoubtedly see more people engaging in it.
In a follow-up study of one prominent university’s graduating class, the 3% of graduates with written goals outperformed the other 97% combined!
If you are new to goal setting, here are some tips to get you going. This is by no means a comprehensive course on goals, but should at least serve as a good starting point.
Goals are most effective when they are written down, and although goal setting usually begins as simple lists like to-do lists, a journal dedicated specifically to your goals is a great asset. Not only does it keep the goals in front of you, but it serves as a record of your accomplishments. Drawing on past success is extremely motivating, especially as your goals get larger and more audacious.
In addition to a journal, it is also a good idea to utilize index cards and post-it notes that can be placed anywhere you are sure to see them throughout the day. Some suggestions are the bathroom mirror, the refrigerator, your dashboard, your computer, etc. The idea is to keep your goals in the forefront of your mind and prevent them from getting swept away by the monotony of the day.
When writing goals you must be as specific as possible. The more clear and crisp the image, the more likely you are to achieve it. If you wanted to lose weight, for example, simply stating, “I would like to lose some weight” is too vague a statement to have any meaningful impact. Instead, a goal would sound something more like, “I will lose 25 pounds and reach my goal weight of 119 pounds by August 31.” You can see that this goal is measurable in both weight and in time. Come August 31, you have either met your goal or you haven’t.
Review your goals at least 3 times a day, preferably first thing in the morning, the last thing before bed, and then somewhere mid-day. Don’t worry too much initially about how you will accomplish your goal. When you get proficient at setting goals and continually reviewing them, your mind will come up with the “hows”.
Start with small goals that are relatively easy to accomplish and build momentum to bigger and bolder goals. If you don’t hit a goal by its deadline, don’t worry. Just rework the goal, set a new date, and recommit to getting it done.
Start today. As you begin checking off goals in the coming weeks your life will begin to take on new depth and greater meaning.