The importance of setting goals
With the importance of setting goals identified, it is time to start identifying what yours are by following these five principles:
Be specific – You should not over complicate your goal, you need to have a clear path of how you will get there and what you need to do each step of the way
Be measurable – Your goals should be time-phased with exact months and dates that you want to achieve them by. We would encourage setting out your outlines for your goals first and then what smaller goals you need to meet in between to reach those. This could be done by creating a quarterly plan, so for every 90 days a smaller goal is set to aid your outcome goal. By separating your goal plan into quarters, this will seem less daunting.
Be challenging – As per the Locke & Latham theory, one study suggests that 90% of the time, specific and challenging (but not too challenging) goals led to higher performance than easy, or “do your best” goals.* You need to think about what exactly you want to achieve and what potential barriers there are on the way.
Be appropriate – Your goals should be suitable to what you want to achieve. If your goal is to have a promotion at work then you would not set a goal of finding a new job, this would not be appropriate.
Be realistic – Think about whether your goals are achievable before setting them out. Are you willing to put the time in to reach your goal? Is the goal achievable with your lifestyle? These are all factors that need to be considered when setting out your goals.
What to do next with your goals
WRITE THEM DOWN! – The most important stage and the most commonly forgotten. In fact, people with written goals are 50% more likely to achieve them than people without goals**. In 1995 Jim Carey, the comedic actor, wrote himself a cheque for $10 million at a time when he was struggling and dated it for five years later. Five years later he had doubled his $10 million goal and was an extremely successful actor. By writing down his goal and the date he wanted to achieve this goal, he could follow all the right steps on the way to reach his outcome goal. To hear about Jim Carey’s story in full, visit: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_ok0PXY7HhU
Have your goals written somewhere that you can read them on a daily/weekly basis as a constant reminder. In 1979 there was a study conducted on students in the MBA programme at Harvard University, in which they were asked, “have you set clear, written goals for your future and made plans to accomplish them?” Only 3% had written their goals, 13% had goals but not in writing and 84% had no specific goals at all. When meeting the students 10 years later, the 3% who had clear written goals were worth more than the 97% put together!^
How coaching can help you achieve your goals
Goals are important for keeping you focused and staying motivated. With every small goal ticked off, it will leave you feeling rewarded and encouraged towards ultimate success. Remember, it may be a challenge but there is always a way of reflecting and continually learning.
^Mark H McCormack, 1994, What They Don’t Teach You at Harvard Business School