Goal Setting for Success

“A dream is just a dream. A goal is a dream with a plan and a deadline.”

That was on a fortune cookie that I got many years ago. It was so insightful that I kept it tucked away in my wallet and still have it today.

The original quote came from Harvey Mackay, a businessman, author and columnist where he gives career advice to readers.

That quote really connected with me because there were so many things that I wanted to do for myself but never knew where or how to start. I just thought these dreams would happen out of luck or maybe they weren’t the right ones for me. I failed miserably at everything that I wanted to do. This “failure” came at the cost of my self-confidence.

I have learned a lot about goal setting and success since then.

Goal setting is not just saying you want to achieve something. Goal setting is both an art and a science that requires creating an environment and mindset where you can create powerful goals that you can achieve. It’s about tapping into your personal power. Personal power is our own ability to influence the outcome and the success of our goals.

On some level, each one of us have goals we want to accomplish. I would like to share some knowledge and tips for setting good goals.

  1. Goals should be identity based.

We must consider who we are today and who we want to be in the future. Goals are the bridge that allow us to move toward the ideal self and grounds us when a goal becomes challenging. How can you set goals that help you grow into the person you want to be or know you can be?

Check out this personal SWOT Analysis you can take to identify your Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats to help you with this. Use the prompt questions as a guide.

  1. Motivation creates a goal. Discipline completes the goal.

We love creating goals when we are feeling motivated! Getting motivated is easy. Staying motivated is hard. Especially things get challenging. Discipline comes in to help get you through even when motivation is wavering.

  1. Your goal is only as good as the structures you put in place.

There is so much that goes into achieving a goal. The structure in place determines success or failure. Scheduling, planning, time management and prioritization are all important components to include when creating a goal.

We also must be mindful that we experience something called “present bias“. We tend to focus on smaller rewards that are present instead of waiting for a larger reward in the future. Immediate gratification is the destroyer of goals. Discipline staves off this bias.

What specifically will you achieve? When will you work on it? How will you do the work and overcome obstacles as they arise?

Check out the book “Atomic Habits” by James Clear to learn more! You can also listen to the Blinkest version on LinkedIn Learning for the main points.

  1. Goals fail when they aren’t clear.

Realistic and specific goals are easier to achieve and also build confidence. When goals are vague or don’t have timelines, you can’t hold yourself accountable to them and neither can anyone else. Be clear about what you want to achieve.

  1. Avoid all or nothing thinking.

It is easy for us to think we either achieved a goal or we did not. In the words of the iconic Paula Abdul, we sometimes “take two steps forward, one step back” in relationships. This is also true for goals. Consider the progress you have made and if needed, re-strategize to get you back on track to move forward.

The SMART goal method is an effective method to use when creating a goal to achieve a larger reward in the future. SMART stands for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time-bound. This makes a goal achievable because you establish the details of what you are trying to achieve.

Using the steps above and a goal setting model like this positively changed my entire life.

One of my goals in my professional life is to become an expert facilitator. This aligns with my identity. After considering my own strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats, I leveraged Rocket Academy and earned my degree in psychology.

I used the SMART framework to help me break down the goal in a way that would ensure success and flexibility when challenges arose. It was only when I aligned my identity, time, priorities, motivation and discipline was I able to structure each day and week to align with my goal. This was on top of a full-time career!

I leveraged my calendar to schedule family life, social life, work, gym and homework. I said no to many fun weekend events (present bias) with my friends because of homework. I stuck to this for three years through motivation, discipline and structure (with some obstacles along the way), completed my program in 2023 and will graduate Magna Cum Laude in June 2024.

Each of you have the ability to own your personal power and achieve the goals you set for yourself.

I am also here to support you as a coach in your goals. Click here to schedule a free consultation.

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