Tuesday, July 1, 2014

The Elements of a Goal...Part 1

The Mid American Stock Car Series flagman wavi...
The Mid American Stock Car Series flagman waving the checkered flag at the end of a series stockcar heat race. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
goal (Photo credit: Sean MacEntee)

My last couple of blog postings talked about goals and the ones that I am trying to achieve this year so I decided that it would be good to go over what a goal is for those of you that are having trouble getting started or working toward those important things in your life. Today I will go over what a goal needs to contain and next time I will discuss the different types of goals and how to set them.

As I mentioned a goal must have some critical ingredients and I will discuss each one of these one at a time: specific, have a time limit, be written down, achievable and challenging.
First a goal must be specific. This will be the hardest when trying to work with your long range goals but lets just look at the basics. When I set my weekly and monthly goals I try to make them specific so that I know exactly what I need to achieve to reach that goal. A salesperson that sets a goal of selling some things will not get far but a salesman that says the intends to sell 15 items per week at $150.00 per item has a specific goal they are looking to achieve. Look at your goals are they generic and say I would like to lose weight or are they specific that you will lose so much weight?

Next a goal must have a time limit. You must decide when you are going to achieve a goal. If one of your goals is to be a certain weight, you must decide on what date that you are going to achieve that weight. If you instead say that I want to be at 165lbs but don't put a specific date on it, there is no sense of urgency and it doesn't happen. But if instead you figure out how much weight you need to lose to hit that goal and then set a specific date, it motivates you to work hard toward that goal. Then if a couple of weeks go by and you have not made progress you realize that you need to change something to get things to happen. To give another example does a goal of someday paying off all of your debts sound reasonable or does it make more since to say that by this date I will have all debts paid off and this is the time frame I will do it in and here is the steps I will take along the way (something I will talk about more next time).

The third important element of a goal is that it must be written down. By writing down your goal you are making a commitment to make it happen. It has been said that a goal that is not written down is just a New Years resolution or dream because you are not putting into place a system that works toward that goal. One important reason you want to write down your goals is that it is something you can refer to on a daily basis and it gets you excited when you can check off those goals and say "Your done!...Next" which gives you motivation to move on to the next one.

The fourth element of a goal is that it must be achievable. There are some out there that will tell you that all you have to do is put your mind to it and you can achieve it with the right attitude which is just not true. You must have goals that are realistic. For example I could set a goal of winning next years Daytona 500 but that would not be realistic for a variety of reasons no matter how hard I tried and set a goal of it. However, as I mentioned before I set a weight loss goal which might have been too conservative since it looks like I will achieve that goal before September. Something else to take into consideration is if your goal fits into your value system otherwise you are not going to have success reaching that goal.

The final part of a good goal is that it is challenging. As mentioned above it is important for a goal to be realistic but it also much challenge you. With that being said you should have some goals that you can achieve quickly in order to motivate you to the next goal and the step in the process. Never set the same goals for the next period that you set for this period, they should be moving you to another level unless it is long term project such as weight loss.

That sums up what a goal is, next time I will discuss how you set goals and the different time lengths of goals.

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