“What you get by achieving your goals is not as important as what you become by achieving your goals.” Zig Ziglar
Reflection is invaluable when you are in business. And it is always worth reviewing the following questions: What do we want to achieve? Who do we want to be? What do we need to learn? Improve? Take to the next level? Do we keep these aims in practical reality or do we ‘dream big’ in the hopes that magic and the law of attraction will be on our side?
Goals influence and guide our behaviour. Moreover, behaviour change is accomplished through setting goals. Yet, how many people take time out at this time of year to set proper objectives for the year ahead? Not just new year’s resolutions that are forgotten six weeks later, but realistic goals and intentions for the foreseeable future?
Goal setting gives us a journey to embark upon. That journey needs a clear map of the route to take, a specific destination, and a GPS to keep us on track in the form of a coach or mentor. Inevitably, that route will have diversions as life takes over with setbacks and unforeseen issues coming to the fore. Nonetheless, contained within the plan/map must be clear activities for us to take to guarantee we stay on track. These designated actions eliminate wishful thinking and ensure our outcomes are grounded in reality.
To be successful, our goals and intentions for the forthcoming year have to fulfil certain criteria:
• Goals must be expressed in specific terms and be written down. This means identifying exactly what you intend to accomplish. Precise goals also give you an opportunity to measure your progress on route which boys up your motivation to continue. In short, you are setting priorities for yourself and your time and giving direction to your pursuits.
• Goals must include short-term objectives – monthly, quarterly or yearly – and longer-term aspirations that may take three to ten years to achieve. What is important is that the short-term objectives directly feed the longer-term dreams. This guarantees alignment in all that you do.
• Goals must be realistic. Setting blue sky aspirations can be great fun, but if they are not attainable, the fun stops there. It is essential to find the right balance between having big dreams that excite and challenge you and remaining realistic about what is achievable.
• Goals must have a specific date for their accomplishment. This time frame should be feasible. Consider what has happened in the past and what is currently going on in your life that might influence the fulfilling of your outcomes.
• Goals must have much pleasure and meaning attached to their achievement. Also, the route to their attainment must be rewarding too. Goals must stretch you so that you grow through their accomplishment, but not so much that the route is no longer enjoyable. Importantly, you need to accept that there will be new skills to learn, new behaviours to embrace and a shift in belief will be necessary to take you to your destinations.
In addition know that:
• Goals help you develop your inherent sense of self. You will need to grow into the person that is worthy of these intentions coming to fruition. You also will have to be the person who can overcome the obstacles and solve the inevitable problems that arise along the way.
• Goals always highlight your weaknesses. Goals too point to the new strengths you need to develop within yourself. This may mean that you have to set new goals on route to your destination so that you learn the tools and techniques that are a prerequisite for ultimate achievement. In truth, many of us like the idea of making our dreams a reality but we are less keen on the practical skill-growing involved in accomplishing them.
• Affirmations will support your intentions. Whether written or verbalised internally, affirmations stated in the present tense, and the positive, seem to work. They seem to have an impact on your brain and physiology. They keep you focused and motivated too. They also make you more optimistic which, in turn, supports the theory that optimists tend to notice opportunities that pessimists miss. Also, optimists have more energy, feel happier about life and take more risks.
Most importantly, goal setting makes us responsible for our own life. It makes us define our values and set our inner compass for our growth into the future. Whether we love to dream big, or like to stay with short-term destinations, focusing our mind on a specific goal and objective can support our growth as individuals and help us live a more significant life.