I’ll keep it to myself. I don’t want to be all ‘show-y’ about my goal. I’ll just quietly get on with it and people will see when I succeed.
All of the research suggests that you are many more times likely to achieve your goal if you share it with others. Choosing who to share with is important, but you must share it if you want to give yourself the very best chance of success.
We are loving Stickk – a great resource for helping with this. You choose your goal, nominate a ‘goal referee’ and can even enlist the help of supporters. They reckon this at least doubles your chance of success.
You’ve arrived at an airport or got off a train and are keen to get to your final destination and rest. You jump in a waiting taxi. What’s the first question the driver will ask?
Of course. There’s no point setting off until the destination is clear. Otherwise, how will they know which roads to take. The Motorway or back streets? North, south, east or west?
Setting a goal begins with simply deciding where you want to end up.
Imagine getting in the taxi and saying something like, “I’m busy and pressed for time so get on a fast road and cover as many miles as you can as quickly as possible.”
It’s easy to live life like this. Maybe we have clear ‘destinations’ in some areas – usually work, if anything – but completely lack direction in others. We are travelling fast but in no particular direction. Stressed, worn-out, frustrated…and without the satisfaction of ever feeling like we are getting somewhere we want to go.
What do you want your family dinner times to look like? What does being healthy mean to you? How would you most like to contribute to your community? How do you want to spend your weekends?
Once you know, you can begin to head in that direction. I sincerely hope what is shared here will help you define your ‘destinations’ in some areas that are really important to you.
The road to hell is paved with good intentions, or so the ancient proverbs goes.
It’s an important idea though – we have so many great plans and noble aspirations that we don’t follow through on.
Once you’ve set a goal, the key to achieving is to commit. Think, plan, decide and then absolutely commit to doing.
Here are a few ways that help you to make your goal a firm commitment:
make it public (e.g. post on Facebook)
write it down, pin it on your fridge / bathroom mirror / office wall so you see it every day
ask someone to hold you to account and give them regular reports on progress (don’t choose someone who will easily let you off the hook)
set up a reward for success and / or consequence of failure (put money on the table)
Learning to set good goals that are important in your life and do whatever it takes to achieve them is such a crucial skill and yet so many fail to master it. It takes practice, effort and determination but is absolutely worth it. They are your goals after all.
A task is something that has to be done. We fill our days with endless tasks…things to do that, once we’ve done them, are only replaced with hundreds more. If we’re not careful, it can lead to a continual sense of drudgery and today is just another day of hard work.
A goal is something altogether different.
A goal is something to achieve, a victory to gain, a finish-line to cross with arms in the air and a sense of triumph!
I may have that fallen down fence to fix this weekend (true story!) and it feels like another annoyance that will blight my free time. Alternatively, fixing that fence can become my weekend goal. When it’s done, I’ll feel like I succeeded. I crossed the finish line. My work is done here. I am victorious!
Honestly, this works. It’s about a ‘Progress and Victories’ mentality. Celebration of small achievements that helps keep energy and enthusiasm up for the inevitably mundane challenges that characterise so much of life.
The leadership courses we are involved with include an element called ‘7-day Goals’ and participants are required to set a work and a personal goal every single week, often over a period of many months. In a year, that’s about 50 (often small but) meaningful victories personally and professionally that have made life feel better…more successful. How about trying that next week? One work goal. One personal goal. Anything that when you imagine completing within 7 days will feel like a victory. Write it down. Do it. Celebrate!
The book ‘Think Small: The surprisingly simple ways to reach big goals’ is a really interesting read around reaching goals. Not your typical ‘dream big and believe in yourself’ stuff, rather some very simple, practical advice based on the research of the UK Government strategy unit, Behavioural Insights Team.
They suggest that there are five factors that have been shown to most improve your wellbeing… great areas to start setting some ‘small goals’. These are the five areas:
Strengthening your social relationships
Getting healthy and active
Learning something new
Being more curious
Giving to others
Why not choose a small, achievable goal in just one or two of these areas and take some first steps towards them over the next few days!