SETTING PERSONAL GOALS
“One of the amazing things we have been given as humans is the unquenchable desire to have dreams of a better life, and the ability to establish goals to live out those dreams.” – Jim Rohn
If you’ve ever dreamed of the perfect life, this article is for you. You’ll discover how setting personal goals can help you achieve the life you’ve always wanted – and deserve.
It’s important to know exactly what you want to achieve and the period of time it’ll take to manifest that achievement. With clarity comes concentrated effort and an ability to weed out diverting distractions. According to Edwin Locke’s famous goal setting theory, the more challenging and specific a goal, the more likely it will be achieved. So think big!
Setting goals will boost your self-confidence and help you discover the meaning and purpose of your life. It’ll propel you into action and seeing your progress will give you great satisfaction.
“Are you bored with life? Then throw yourself into some work you believe in with all your heart, live for it, die for it, and you will find happiness that you had thought could never be yours.” – Dale Carnegie
Knowing What You Really Want
It’s possible to pursue and accomplish a goal, only to find out that the dream in your heart was something entirely different. Sometimes, the journey to the goal is more enjoyable than actually attaining it.
For example, let’s look at the story of Martha. Martha was obsessed about buying her new home and spent several months renovating it. But when she actually moved in, she found she’d lost her enthusiasm. She realized that it was the renovation that had been most exciting for her and this realization enticed her to take a different career path. Today, she is a successful interior decorator.
The true desire of Martha’s heart was actually to become an interior decorator. The house was a major component of the realization of her dream, but it wasn’t its ultimate fulfillment. So dig down deep and discover your true goals to enjoy your maximum happiness from them.
“People with goals succeed because they know where they are going.
It’s as simple as that.” – Earl Nightingale
Avoid setting vague goals like being a “good” writer. Be specific! Instead, decide that you want to become a best selling science fiction author. Instead of deciding to make “a lot” of money, commit to a specific salary figure as the goal you pursue. Instead of saying that you want to get married, determine the qualities your ideal mate will possess.
“A goal properly set is halfway reached.”– Abraham Lincoln
Set Measurable Goals
Your goals should be measurable in time (how long they will take to achieve) and in quantity. For example, decide whether you want to quit smoking or cut down on the number of cigarettes. Your brain needs clear instructions to know where to begin. Giving your mind a clear direction keeps you from procrastinating.
“If you try to figure out how you will get what you want, you will limit yourself to what your ego or conditioned mind can do. The key to creating what you want is to turn your desire or your goal over to your subconscious – which is connected to the Universal Mind or Universal Subconscious – and let it bring the goal to you and you to your goal.”
– Dr. Robert Anthony
Start with an overall vision of your life and decide on the long-term goals you want to achieve. The next step is to break these down into the smaller goals that will lead you to realizing your lifetime goals.
To make this clearer, let’s take the example of Barbara, whose lifetime goal is to be a famous novelist. In order to turn her dream into reality, she must draw up a plan of action comprised of smaller goals, such as:
- Reading the kind of books she wants to write
- Writing a page a day
- Keeping a journal
- Joining a creative writing workshop where she can get feedback on her work
- Doing a course in fiction writing at an acclaimed university
- Completing her manuscript
- Looking for agents and publishers
Chances are good that you’ll have more than one lifetime goal. Apart from her artistic goal, Barbara can look at the other areas of her life (career, financial, education, spiritual, family, and relationships) and create a lifetime goal for each.
Ensure Your Goals Reflect Your Own Desires
If you want your goals to be achievable, let them be your own idea. Chase the dreams of your heart, rather than the aspirations others have for your life. For example, if you want to lose weight just because your partner wants you to (and you’re happy with your body), your lack of motivation will snuff out the success you seek.
“One’s philosophy is not the best expressed in words; it is expressed in the choices one makes. In the long run, we shape our lives and we shape ourselves. The process never ends until we die. And, the choices we make are ultimately our own responsibility.” – Eleanor Roosevelt
Keep it Realistic
Determine if you have the ability, or can gain the necessary skills, to achieve your goals. Take into account any limitations you may have to work with that could make the journey longer or force you to make adjustments along the way.
For instance, Ralph has a chronic respiratory challenge that requires hospital care from time to time. Since he doesn’t have access to a hospital out at sea, this will likely prevent him from being the first man to sail around the world.
“Be careful the environment you choose for it will shape you; be careful the friends you choose for you will become like them.”
– W. Clement Stone
Set a Deadline for Your Goals
If you’ve given yourself 10 years to achieve some large goals, divide that time frame into increments to achieve smaller goals that will lead up to your large goal. The next step is to set a one-year plan, a six-month plan, and a one-month plan. Decide what you’ll achieve in these time frames.
For example, Barbara can set the tasks it takes to complete her manuscript within reasonable time frames for her. Perhaps she would give herself a month to plan out her novel and then a month to write each chapter. When her initial writing is finished, she might give herself 3 months to revise it (including the time she must let the work alone so she can return to it with fresh eyes), and another six months to find a publisher.
Tailor your tasks for your goals and your time frames around what works for you! This sets you up with a reasonable expectation of the time it will take you to achieve each goal. Adjust your timeline as necessary to move past challenges along the way as you pursue your goal, but always have the big picture, with your ultimate success, in mind.
“Goals give you a compass in order to direct your path through life. Goals focus your thoughts and actions on areas that have precise purpose and meaning.”
– Catherine Pulsifer
Plan your Daily Routine
Next, decide on the things you’ll do each day to achieve your smaller goals. Barbara will write a page every day. She’ll fill in her journal every week. If you stick to your daily routine, you’ll remain motivated.
Once you’ve divided your lifetime goals into smaller ones, you may find yourself feeling overwhelmed, but all you have to do is prioritize your intermediate goals and keep them practical and achievable. Writing down your goals helps clarify them and also reminds you of them when life is trying to distract you.
“Instead of worrying about what people say of you, why not spend time trying to accomplish something they will admire.” – Dale Carnegie
-With your Success in Mind,
Adrian, the Confidence Coach
Want to read more about setting goals…get the rest of the article in the Goal Setting e-book.