Goals, objectives, resolutions – call them what you will, but the fact is that without having a goal in mind, or an objective you want to achieve, you’re simply on an endless journey with no final destination.
Goals are ultimately what give us direction – they give us a reason to get up in the morning, inspiration when times are tough and a vision for the future. Setting goals for yourself is like having an action plan for your life. Generally, you perform better in everything you do when you have an end goal in mind.
Believe it or not, there’s an actual process to setting goals – it’s all very well to have dreams, but a dream only actually becomes a goal once you have written it down – in detail – and plotted the steps you need to take to get there. It’s important to set yourself goals in all areas of your life – this isn’t only about work. You can have goals you wish to achieve in your personal life, financial goals, family and leisure goals, fitness, spiritual, giving back and volunteering – the list is endless.
The first step is to set realistic goals – things that you really will be able to achieve. An unrealistic goal can have the opposite effect, instead of motivating you to do better, you could find yourself becoming disheartened when you don’t achieve a goal that was never realistic in the first place. That’s not to say that goals should not challenge us to push our boundaries, but they should be attainable.
Write your goals down so that they’re tangible and measurable and most importantly, give yourself a time frame so that you have something concrete to motivate you.
Goals can be divided into long term goals – the big picture that you ultimately want to reach – and short term ones that help you see the progress you’re making and create milestones that you can celebrate, raising your confidence and showing you how far you have come.
Once you know what the bigger picture is, take a step by step approach - remembering to reward yourself each time you achieve one of the smaller goals and taking time to recognise how well you have done, before moving onto the next step.
It seems like an easy process, but it is definitely one that takes some thought. For example, when setting goals, you should determine whether this is something you really want for yourself or whether it’s what you want simply because it sounds good, or because it is what your friends or family want for you.
Use positive language – words such as ‘don’t’ and ‘never’ should rather be framed into affirmative and encouraging statements. Identify the daily distractions that tend to get in your way and work on how to avoid or eliminate them.
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