Goals are the window to your future. Without goals you will find yourself in a closed box watching the TV about someone else’s life journey. There are several techniques and some science to help bring goals to reality. Get there by mixing clarity with emotional fire and purpose. Goals are dreams with deadlines. Passion is the fuel and vision provides a roadmap. But beware of the dark side, it will catch you by surprise.
You want what you want, but how do you get it? School teaches a lot about facts and some goal setting skills but often fails to tie it all together. Good goals tied to personal policies give you the power to drive the bus and design the reality you want. As the author of Think and Grow Rich Napoleon Hill once said, “what you can conceive, and believe, you can achieve”. Picking goals is like a trip to the salad bar of life. Every salad is different, pick your ala’ cart items and go. You are not a prisoner of the past, you can start right where you are with the croutons and circle back for the lettuce. The unified field wants you to succeed but does require your participation. Thinking about goals reminds me of a joke. A fellow prayed to God every day, please let me win the lottery! After a year of this God spoke back, my son, buy a ticket! Goals are your ticket to the future.
Goal-setting is based on the fact that people need to have something to strive for. Maxwell Maltz in the seminal book, Psycho-Cybernetics observed that the happy people in his care all had big goals that pulled them forward in life.
These desires fuel the engine to reach clearly defined accomplishments such as an education, a car, romance, travel etc. Too often he discovered people fail to buy a ticket to the future. Motivational speaker Jim Rhone once said, “the elevator to success is broken, but the stairs are working”.
A goal's efficiency is affected by three features; proximity, difficulty and specificity. An ideal goal should present a situation where the time between the start of a new behavior and the end state (proximity) is close and attractive enough to keep you emotionally invested in making it a reality. This explains why some children are more motivated to learn how to ride a bike than mastering algebra.
A goals difficulty should be moderate, not too hard or too easy to complete. Goals stretch you as a person just as exercise stretches muscles. Demanding too much from your muscles will cause them to snap and become useless. Pick tasks that cause you to work a little harder than normal and once those become easy raise the bar. Big goals need to be broken down to a series of smaller accomplishments. If you believe that there is a substantial probability that you will succeed, you will.
Specificity concerns the description of the goal, it must be clear in your mind. A classic example of a poorly specified goal is to get the highest possible grade. Most children have no idea how much effort they need to reach that goal. Life situations tend to change over time so goals need to roll with the changes or you might end up working toward something that no longer serves you quite like you had hoped for.
Policy-driven goals focus energy like a magnifying glass, giving you the feeling that things are moving in the right direction. A lot of writers have talked about SMART goals, which are good but miss the critical component of emotional fire. To make things happen in life a good plan is to set eS.M.A.R.T. goals. eSMART goals are: emotionally charged, Specific, Measurable, Acton oriented, Realistic and Timely. Be aware though that most of the time goals change shape as you progress toward them.
9 Steps to making good eSMART goals:
* Put your specific goals in writing.
* Make a list of measurable obstacles.
* List the benefits of achieving your goal.
* Identify stepping the stones and map out a plan
* Learn what you need to learn.
* Enlist the help of others.
* Visualize yourself achieving each realistic goal by a certain time.
* Attach a STRONG emotional charge to feel success over failure.
* Reward yourself each step of the way.
Sounds simple you say? It is. Easy? You bet. Then why are ninety percent of new years resolutions forgotten within a week? There are four roadblocks to getting your goals working for you.
1. You don’t understand the importance of accomplishment
2. You don’t have the skills to accomplish certain goals
3. You are comfortable so why bother?
4. Fear of failure.
The solution to all four is simple, baby steps. Small goals aren’t so scary that the ego stops us from trying. Grouping together lots of little goals define your personal policies. Keep your goals personal (emotionally charged), positive and in the present tense to keep them working for you. GOAL: Get Out And Live!
11 steps to insuring goal success
1. Make a plan for goals supporting all five pillars
2. Identify the obstacles and develop solutions
3. Take action every day without taking on too much.
4. Enroll helpers and a support system
5. Visualize the sight, smell, touch, feeling and sounds of success
6. Believe in yourself, ignore the inner critic, make friends with the inner fan.
7. Stick with it, persevere. In the face of setbacks declare a breakdown, learn why and move on.
8. Be accountable to yourself.
9. Be flexible and fluid, allow goals to redefine themselves.
10. Insist on being emotional, cry and smile as necessary.
11. Celebrate and share even little successes. Get used to winning.
___ Emotionally charged, I want this because ___________________
___ Specific, I have a clear vision of success.
___ Measurable, I’ll know this is done when ____________________
___ Action oriented, What are the steps 1., 2., 3. …
___ Realistic, I know I can do this.
___ Timely, I can get this done by _____________
* See Companion Guide: Ulysses Contract.