Goal setting is a powerful tool which can provide you with direction for your future endeavors. It can act as a motivating factor to turn your ideas into your reality. As we enter the holiday season, we start to realize that the new year is right around the corner. We start to reflect on the year that is passing and we start to look ahead to the new year. In this process, most of us start to set goals for the new year. The challenge is turning our goals into successful outcomes. Whether your goal is to lose weight, obtain a promotion at work or to become a more altruistic person, many factors go into turning your goals into your accomplishment.
Well planned goals can make the difference between a successful outcome and a less successful outcome. Well planned goals can keep you focused and motivated. When setting your goals , it is important to ask yourself the following questions:
- -Do I really want this goal?
-How badly do I want this goal?
-What I am willing to sacrifice and do to achieve this goal?
Once you are able to identify your direction, and your desire towards that direction, you can start to develop a plan of action. The first consideration is to make your goals clear, concise, specific and measurable. If a goal is too vague or if it does not have specific parameters, the end result can be unclear. For example, if weight loss is your goal then ” I want to lose weight ” is not a specific. If you were to say “I want to lose 10-15 pounds, that is more specific, but it doesn’t indicate the time frame you would like to achieve your goal or the means in which you will achieve it. If you said ” I will work on losing 1-2# per week for the next 8 weeks, towards my goal of losing 10-15# by reducing my calories to 1200 per day”, you are stating a clear, concise, specific and measurable goal. The plan and the expected results are clear.
Another factor in creating a successful outcome is staying accountable. Accountability can help keep you on course. If you are working on a weight loss goal, staying accountable can mean, getting weighed in front of people or telling someone what you weighed. It can mean sampling writing your progress down as you go. In the words of Lee Iacocca, ” the discipline of writing something down is the first step towards making it happen”. Writing your plans, and progress along the way sets the events in motion.
When goal setting, staying positive is vital to success. A positive attitude can increase your chances of reaching your goals. A positive attitude can keep things in perspective. It can keep you focused and accountable. No plan is fool proof, so to accept that you could have some set backs or perceived failures along the way can help you from becoming discouraged. Accept that a small setback does not negate your whole plan. It is important to start from where you left off and continue to move forward towards your goal.
Throughout the process, it is important to adjust and re-assess your goals. Along the way, you may realize that you are not progressing as you had planned or you may hit a bump in the road so to speak. Realize that at any point you have to ability to change your course of action and create a new plan. The end result will be the same, it is just a different path to reach that goal.
Finally, when you do reach your goal, make sure that you celebrate your success. If your goal is weight loss, reward yourself with a special item of clothing. If your goal is to quit smoking, take the money that you saved from buying cigarettes and spend that money to take a special trip. Once you start seeing the measurable achievements you made, you can look back and realize that this was a worthwhile endeavor.