What is Goal Setting?Goal setting is the process of deciding what you want to achieve and determining an action plan of how you will make the goal a reality. The aim is to focus your efforts and concentrate on doing things that will actively move you closer to achieving your goals.
Why goal setting is important?
A study carried out by the Dominican University of California has concluded that participants were 42% more likely to transform their desires into reality when they wrote down their goals regularly, compared to those who did not.
Goal setting provides you with the motivation and consistency you need to continually make progress on your towards achieving your aspirations. It also provides perspective on the benefits of putting in the work now to reap the gains in the future. This idea is shown in one of Picasso's famous quotes.
“Our goals can only be reached through a vehicle of a plan, in which we must fervently believe, and upon which we must vigorously act. There is no other route to success.” - Pablo Picasso
What are SMART Goals?Regardless of what you are trying to accomplish, your goals should be measurable and attainable. A remarkably effective way to do this is to follow the SMART methodology. S.M.A.R.T. is an extremely helpful mnemonic acronym for setting objectives. Using this methodology, all goals should meet the following criteria. They should be: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-Bound. You are much more likely to achieve a SMART goal than an unspecific, general goal.
SpecificBe clear and be specific about exactly what you are trying to achieve. This helps you know how to begin.
MeasurableHow will you know if you have reached your goal? It should be trackable, so you know how much progress you are making towards it, and when in fact you have achieved it!
Ambitious people love dream big. As the adage goes, ‘Rome wasn’t built in a day’. Be sure to create goals that challenge you but are also achievable.
Realistic/RelevantBe realistic with what is you are capable of right now. Is achieving this goal worthwhile to you in this moment in time?
Time-BoundAccording to Parkinson’s Law, work expands to fill the time allotted. As such, every goal needs to have a target date to help motivate you to complete it. Be sure to assign the goal an appropriate timeline so you don’t feel discouraged if you can’t meet it. Remember, almost all projects take longer to finish than we initially think!
What Does a SMART Goal Look Like?An example of a poorly defined goal would be “I want to learn to speak Spanish.’ Instead, use the SMART methodology to make sure the goal is specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and time-bound. A better way of defining this goal to learn Spanish would be “I want to learn enough Spanish to be able to have basic conversations with people on my trip to Cancun for spring break, including being able to check into the hotel and order food in Spanish.
Warren Buffet’s 5/25 RuleWarren Buffet, one of the country’s wealthiest people, has an amazingly simple rule for goal setting. It’s called the 5/25 rule. Begin by writing down your top 25 goals or the top 25 things you want to achieve. Put them in order of importance and circle the top five. The final step is crucial, and it is to focus intensely on the top five goals and completely ignore the other twenty. The principle behind this rule is to focus on the few things that you really want to achieve and to make them happen. If you try to tackle everything at once, distraction and multi-tasking will mean you are less likely to achieve these goals.
Take the opportunity now to write down your top 25 goals and pick the five you will focus on!
Micro GoalsSmall goals can make an enormous difference. Micro goals allow you to prioritize your main goals (or macro goals) by breaking them down into bitesize chunks. They can help turn a big dream into small, actionable steps. Every time you complete a micro goal, it gives you more momentum to complete the next.
Start by taking the first goal you have from the list of 25 you just created. Work backwards from that goal and determine what steps are involved in achieving this goal. This will help build a roadmap of how to get where you currently are to where you want to be.
The final step in this process may be the hardest, and it is to get started!