Motivation

How to set your goals in 5 easy steps

GPS plays a very important part in travel these days.  Even a drive to a neighboring suburb can be a nightmare without it!  It’s today’s map.  Would you consider driving cross country if you didn’t have your GPS set to your desired location?  Yeah, probably not.

Just like a trip, life needs a roadmap too, but it comes in the form of goals.  You cannot reach your desired destination/outcomes without goals.  They keep you on track and tell you when you’ve gone off course.

Goal-Setting Theory of Motivation

In order to understand goals and goal attainment, let’s step back for a moment and consider “Goal Setting Theory”, coined by Edwin Locke back in the 1960s.  To put it basically, he found that the greatest motivating factors came in goals that were clear, specific, and difficult compared to goals that were vague, simple, and general.  So… what does that mean?

It’s easier to be motivated to accomplish harder goals that are clear and well-defined than easy, vague goals.

How’s that?

Goals that are difficult yet specific give an individual a sense of accomplishment when the outcome is achieved.  If a goal is easy… a person ends up thinking that anyone could have done it… and most often they are right.  The more challenge in the goal, the more triumph and pride one feels when it is attained.

What are your goals?

So, do you have a set of goals in place?  Maybe a three, five, or ten-year plan?  What about goals for 2018?

If you don’t, you’re in luck.  We are going to cover a few tips on setting goals and you can also download a goal setting worksheet here to help you get the most out of this post.

1.  Long-Term Goals

Unlike other people that write ‘how-tos’ on goal setting, I like to suggest you start with the long-term goals instead of short-term.  Why?  It helps you to focus on the big picture and then set the steps (short-term goals) to reach the big goals.

  1. Pick a date sometime in the future, say five years from now.
  2. Take a sheet of paper and pen or open a text editor and write all that you’d like to have accomplished in five-years time.  Let’s set your goals.
    • Categories to include:
      • Material possessions (cars, house, etc)
      • Physical (better shape, martial arts expert, etc)
      • Mental (knowledge of a foreign language, read X many books, etc)
      • Personal (lots of friends, better relationship with your mom, etc)
    • Be specific!  Don’t simply write “a big house”.  You must detail that house.  Exactly how big?  How many bedrooms?  What type of architecture?  How big of a lot?  Be as specific as possible.
  3. As you write out each goal, imagine how you’d feel to reach it and involve all of your senses.
  4. Don’t limit yourself.

2.  The Power of Belief in Goals

Now that you have your long-term goals written out, read over them again and really consider each one.  Are there any of them that you feel may be out of your reach?  If so, it’s pen and paper time again…

  • Write out your ‘why nots’, the reasons why you feel you couldn’t accomplish one or more of your goals.  For example, “I feel like I don’t deserve that much money”, or “making that kind of money comes only to those with big degrees from Ivy League schools”.
  • Once done, re-read your excuses.  You have beliefs that will keep you from reaching those goals if you don’t check them first.
  • Re-write your excuses to be the reverse instead.  “I can make that kind of money without a big degree because others have so I can too.”  This is what you need to start to believe now.  If they can do it, so can you.  Now, I understand at first it will sound like a lie after believing the negative for so long, but soon you’ll start to accept the real truth – you can do it!
  • Read over your new beliefs as often as you can every day for 60-days.  You’ll see at the end of the two-months that your belief has indeed changed!

3.  Short-term Goals

Now that we have your long-term goals defined as well as a list of new beliefs, it’s time to consider short-term goals.  (Again, you can download the goal setting worksheet pdf here to help you get the most out of this.)

You can start with 2018 goals or make it something like a year from now.

  • Read over your long-term goals
  • What steps should you take in the short-term to reach these goals?  What could you accomplish in this time to prove that you are on track to reaching the larger goals?
  • Set your goals by breaking the long-term goals into nice little bite-sized pieces.

4.  Shorter-term Goals

I think by now that you are getting it, right?  Take your short-term goals and break them down even further, say into monthly goals.

5.  Work it

The last part here is where most people get it wrong.  I honestly like to believe in the Law of Attraction, but you still have to work towards your goal and not just sit there with your hand out.  You have to help yourself along.

By doing setting goals in reverse, you’re able to build up towards the ultimate goal.

For more help, download my goalsetting template here.

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