5 Keys to Effective Goal-Setting
Effective goal-setting requires a plan. But even before you can develop a plan, you have to know exactly what you need to accomplish and the strategies it will take to get there. Here are 5 keys to effective goal-setting:
1. Develop a Clear Vision
While it might seem obvious, knowing what you hope to accomplish is seminal to achieving your goal. When we take a trip, before we can map out our route, we need to know our destination. Basic. Yet, too often our goals are too fuzzy, general, or unrealistic to provide the incentive or the guidance we need to get on the road to success. Start with a clear vision of your goal—one that you can articulate—even though that goal may evolve as you develop your plan to carry it out.
2. Write Down Your Goals
Writing down your goals is an essential step to achieving them. Informal research carried out by Professor Emeritus David M. Kohl of Virginia Tech demonstrated that 80 percent of Americans have no goals and another 16 percent have goals but never bother to write them down. The remaining 4 percent put their goals in writing, but only 1 percent actually go back and review those goals periodically to assess their progress. Not surprisingly, this 1 percent also happens to be the top 1 percent of high-achievers. Goal-setters who wrote their goals down were found to earn nine times as much as non goal-setters, whereas those who set only mental goals were found to earn only three times as much.
When writing down you goals, use the SMART Goals formula for maximum effectiveness. Your goals should be Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-bound. Goals that fit these five criteria contain the built-in elements you need to create an actionable plan for achieving them. Dr. Kohl recommends creating two sets of SMART Goals: one for short-term goals and one for long-term goals. You’ll need to do this for each project you carry out.
3. Get Things Done (GTD)
This is often the most challenging part of the process. But, a little organization and a good plan of action like David Allen’s Five Steps that Apply Order to Chaos will help you Get Things Done. By getting everything that demands your attention categorized and assigned its proper place in the grand scheme, you’ll free yourself to create and follow your plan without distraction, making the transition from planning to action a much smoother one. Your GTD plan will include a list of the specific steps you need to take to meet your goals. Like a checklist, you’ll be able to check off each item, in order, as you complete it. This will help guide you through the implementation of the plan. GTD will help you clear away the mental clutter, free your mind for action, and actually Get Things Done.
Weekly reviews are another crucial step in the GTD process that will help you track your progress and adjust your plan as needed to increase effectiveness. These regular assessments let you fine-tune your approach to be sure you stay on track in achieving your goals.
4. Keep Your Eye on the Prize
Never underestimate the power of the intangible to motivate you. When you have concrete and measurable goals and a solid plan for achieving them, and you follow that up with decisive action, the intangible rewards you see in the distance will draw you like a magnet toward achieving your goals. Once you handle the details, you’ll find that visualizing the prize and refusing to let obstacles distract you will not only be easier, but it will give you the persistence and passion you need to succeed.
5. Review, Assess, Repeat
Reviewing and assessing the end results of your goal-setting is another key to developing a viable method for consistently reaching your goals. Each time you practice these time-tested goal-setting techniques, you’ll become a little bit better at carrying them out and will be able to repeat the formula, getting that much closer to perfecting it every time you set a new goal.
If you need help setting and meeting your personal or business goals, BizAssure has the resources that can show you how.
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