5 Steps to Reach Your Goals
In a 2007 study, by Dr. Gail Mathews, some very interesting things were discovered about the process of setting and achieving your goals. Although setting a goal and reaching it seems like it should be a fairly easy process, studies have shown us it takes certain steps and proper execution of a plan to increase our odd of actually meeting the goals we set. In the next few paragraphs, we will explore what this groundbreaking study taught us and how to maximize its potential to reach and EXCEED our goals!
Make no mistake, I am no Steemit expert or some great self-help guru, but I have been in the same profession for over 20 years. During those 20 years regardless of which agency I was working for, I was promoted quicker and higher than my peers due to following the steps contained within and by exercising an unhealthy level of perseverance!
Having a Plan is Part of the Plan
The first step in effective goal setting is to actually formulate what goals you want to achieve and a plan on how you are going to achieve them. One of the key factors with regards to goals are that they need to be clear, precise, and attainable. For instance, instead of saying “I want a promotion”. You may want to consider your goal being – “I want to achieve a promotion to VP of marketing with a 20 percent increase in pay, by taking online marketing courses, completing assignments ahead of deadlines, and take on more responsibility from my immediate supervisor.” The second wording is clear, precise, and has a built in plan of achievement.
Additionally, you want to set up goals designed to be attained in the short-term, mid-term, and long-term. Short-term goals are just that, goals that can be reached in the immediate future. I usually set my short-term goals to be reached within 3 to 6 months. Mid-term goals should encompass a 1 to 3 year time frame. And finally your long-term goals could be longer than five years to the rest of your life. I like to think of my long-term goals as my “hopes and dreams” goals. These are the biggies like vacation homes, travelling the world, etc. A key factor to planning out your goals is to realize that they are ever changing and fluid. They need to be revisited from time to time to tweak or redesign them as your current situation dictates. As you begin to reach your short and mid-term goals it is absolutely imperative that you develop new goals to fill the void of the achieved goals. The best planned goals feed into each other like building blocks. They are foundations for the next set of goals and achievements.
If it’s Not Written Down, It Didn’t Happen
How many times have you heard this in your life? Plenty, I’m sure. The reason is that these truth hold water. From contracts to leases, documentation is key. The same is true of goals. This amazing study, by Dr. Matthews we mentioned at the start of this journey was groundbreaking for many reasons. One of those reasons was empirical proof that individuals who write down their goals are far more likely to achieve their goals than those who do not. By a whopping 43 percent! So basically if two people have goals and one writes them down and the other doesn’t, chances are the one who wrote down their goals are going to succeed in reaching them and the other poor soul will likely not attain their goals.
What many experts suggest is that, not only do you write them down, you do so in a manner and in a place where they can be seem multiple times throughout the day. I have mentors who have an actual “goal” board that has their short, mid, and long-term goals clearly written out on a wall-sized dry erase board next to their home computer. Another associate of mine lists their goals on paper attached to their bathroom mirror and uses them as a daily mantra to start their day. However you choose to do it, it is clear that a major step in successfully reaching your goals is by having them written down. Now if you think 43 percent is a huge advantage to reaching goals, wait to see the next two steps!
Go Tell It On The Mountain
So, 43 percent more success by writing a goal down is pretty impressive. But, would you believe that it can be boosted even further by just talking about it? Dr. Matthews’ findings, were that when an individual shares his goals with family, friends, or peers in addition to writing them down, the success rate jumps to over 60 percent compared to those who do not write their goals down. That’s right, I said 60 percent! You would be hard pressed to find those odds on your luckiest night in Vegas! It boils down to responsibility. By writing your goals down you gain some ownership of them, but when you begin to tell people your goals, especially people you care about, you basically have signed the bill of sale on them. They are yours and whether your win or lose you are responsible for the outcome.
If nothing else, this simple act gives you the fuel to prove your haters and detractors wrong. Who doesn’t love the feeling of going to a class reunion better off than when they left school however many years before? The need to prove my naysayers wrong was a pivotal catalyst in my career and personal success. I have a burning yearning to show people I was more than how I was raised or where I was born. Find your fuel to power your rocket ship of success.
Mr. Sulu, Status Report!
Alright, so far so good! Right? I mean, who would not be proud of a potential 60 percent success rate. (In my best TV voice…) But wait, there’s more! It was further discovered that in addition to writing your goals down and sharing them with others , that if you add the step of having an accountability partner that you share your weekly goal updates with you will increase your overall success rate to 76 percent! 76 PERCENT! That is an almost can’t lose scenario.
These findings have been proven in real world applications long before this study was conducted. Having an accountability partner has been a cornerstone of success numerous progress programs such as Weight Watchers and Alcoholic Anonymous. The fact that you will have to face a peer that you care for and that cares for you will drive you to meet your goals so that you do not disappoint them. Also, who doesn’t need a shoulder to cry on when the going gets tough? Your peer update is not just for accountability but also as your own personal cheering section of support. The knowledge that there are people who truly want you to succeed is intoxicating and one heck of a motivational tool.
If at First You Don’t Succeed…
We all know the ending of this saying, but the power in this simple statement is absolutely life changing. So many leaders, giants of industry, and superstars will tell you that the key to success is just to hang on when all others let go. Here in the South, we refer to this quality by many names…grit….sand…stones….stickability…but all of these are different names for the same thing…. PERSERVERANCE ! Your goals are not going to go down without a fight. Even with all of the above advantages taking you to a 72 percent chance of success, there is still 28 percent of back-breaking work involved. You have to attach your goals like a thief stealing your last food. You have to run at your goals until your legs give out. You can’t stop when your friends do. You must succeed!
Early in my career, I made a goal to get hired at an agency that was larger than my current one. It would mean not only a significant pay raise, but better working conditions, more chances for advancement, and better benefits. I got my mind right, wrote the goal down, shared it with friends a family, updated a peer weekly, and then began attacking this goal like I was fighting for the last piece of chicken at Sunday dinner(and I LOVE chicken). I was so severely persistent with this particular goal, that the hiring manager at the new agency actually told me he would happily give me the job if I would just stop bothering him. He said he never saw someone want something so bad and who was so aggravating at the same time! By the way, I moved into his job within 2 years after he retired. Life will tell you no, bosses will tell you no, people will tell you no, but you have to only accept YES!
I think it is very important to mention that although many of our goals seem to center around careers and finances that it is imperative that your goals be balanced and lead towards a well-rounded life. Ensure that you leave room for goals related to family, relationships, health, spirituality, and mental well-being. If we only concentrate on material things, we will soon no the meaning of true poverty.
Another final note is that no matter your station in life, your current circumstances, or your age now is the time to start making goals and following the above map to success. Col. Sanders of Kentucky Fried Chicken didn’t cook and sell his first piece of chicken until his was in his 70’s and couldn’t live on his benefits. And now almost every country in the world knows his image and taste. The actor, Charles Bronson, didn’t star in his first staring movie role until he was in his late 30’s. The point is that it is never too late to set goals, today is your day to reach out and grab greatness!
I wanted to give a huge shout out to @lyndsaybowes Her constant support, upvotes, and comments have definitely helped to keep me movtivated on Steemit! Check out her blog and the amazing #walkwithme and #ophumanangels tags she created.