The Beginners Guide to Personal Goal Setting
Being an instructor for almost 30 years I have worked with thousands of students in many areas of self-improvement. One of the most common mistakes people seem to make over and over again is not having a clear understanding of how to make and follow through with personal goal setting and accomplishing more of what they desire.
When you ask most people they will tell you that they have goals. Then when you ask them if they have written their goals down 90-95% have not. This is one of the most important steps with being able to follow through with your goals. Many of these people will have heard and even know this to be true yet they do not make it happen.
Part of writing down your goals will become easier as they build momentum with this practice. But from years of teaching others I have found that most people have never been taught how to write effective goals.
In this article I am going to give you 5 basic steps to learn how to effectively get started with personal goal setting and following through with whatever it is that you want to achieve.
1- Start with a few goals. If you have too many things to focus on more often than not you will fall short of your expectations. Focus on a few goals that you will be able to memorize and revisit daily.
2- Use the “SMART” goal strategy. This is a basic acronym I like to use when teaching goals setting. Using this strategy there are five basic criteria to utilize.
• Be Specific- Your goals should be clear and precise to be able to accomplish them with any consistent success.
Good example: Plan a training strategy so I can run a half marathon this year.
Bad example: I want to run a half marathon.
• Make Measurable attainable goals- If you cannot measure your performance it is impossible to make the necessary adjustments to accomplish whatever it is that you set out to do.
Good example: I will lose 12 pounds.
Bad example: I want to lose some weight so I feel better about myself.
• Actionable- Every goal needs to start with an action (“write”, “run”, “quit”, “finish”, “learn” etc.)
Good example: Finish the last chapter of my new book.
Bad example: Do more work on my new book.
• Realistic- Goals should be used to push you to new heights but at the same time use your common sense and don’t set yourself up for failure.
Good example: Increase my meditation sessions to 30 minutes every day.
Bad example: Meditate so I can become enlightened.
• Set a Time frame for completion- Every goal you make has to have a date associated with it. You will have both short and long term goals but they need to be clear as too when they will be reached.
Good example: By December 31st I will have completed 250 hours of reading.
Bad example: I will read more this year.
3- Write them down. This step is essential for your success. By writing your goals down you are setting your intention to start things in motion and are one step closer to making them a reality. Just the simple act of writing down your goals will give you power getting you one step closer to where you desire to be.
4- Review your goals daily- Writing your goals down will get you started off on the right foot. The next important step is to review them regularly. You should read them every day as well as put them to memory so you can visualize them and mentally review the needed steps to make them a reality.
5- Share your goals- It is good to tell those who support you so they can offer assistance when needed. If you are trying to accomplish something at work you should share your vision with your employees to get everyone working in the right direction. If you want to write a book you should tell your teachers and mentors so they can offer guidance when needed.
Goal setting is not just about accomplishing one task or another. Having the confidence to accomplish goals and follow through with what you set out to do will bring you happiness as well. People who make consistent progress towards meaningful goals will find more happiness and satisfaction than those who do not. To learn more about goals and how you can build a good goal setting practice check out the Meditation Mastery Plan.