Get motivated by setting goals

How often do you think at the end of the day “I’ve been incredibly busy, but what have I achieved today?” It is all too easy to fall in the trap of everyday busy-ness. As the Cheshire Cat said to Alice, “If you don’t know where you are going, then any road will take you there.” Without goals, it’s just too easy to end up somewhere you may or may not be happy with. The way to success in life and your job, is to be very clear about what you want to achieve and prioritise your activities accordingly.

Very few people set clear goals for themselves, the productivity ‘guru’ Brian Tracey claims that only 3% of people set goals: that makes it very easy for you to stand out of the pack!

How to set goals? Make goals SMART, so they motivate:

S – Specific

You need to be clear what your ‘end game’ is. In our Time Management course we help you to visualise your goals. First try to vividly imagine what reaching your goal looks like: what will you see, feel, hear, and perhaps even smell?

For instance if you set your goal to run a marathon, try to picture yourself victoriously going through the finish line! The clearer your vision, the more your subconscious will help you direct you to your goal. It will be easier to make wise decisions; to find the discipline needed to get there.
Write your goals down; make your description clear and detailed. An additional way for making your goals specific and visual is to make an image board. You can make a physical one or in electronic form.

M – Measurable

If you can’t measure a goal, how will you know when you have achieved it? Being able to measure your progress and success is motivating!

A – Achievable

You can set really high goals, but if they are not achievable they will only demotivate you. You do need a stretch to give you the necessary push, but make sure it is still encouraging. Tony Robbins once wrote some true words: “people overestimate what they can achieve in a year, but underestimate what they can achieve in ten years’ time”.

R – Relevant

Goals need to make sense to you; they need to be in harmony with your values. If ‘Family’ is a core value to you, goals you set that reinforce your family ties are highly relevant.
Goals also need to tie in together: your short term goals should be aligned with your longer term goals. If you have set a goal to become a Marketing Manager in 5 years, then anything that gets you closer to this goal in the shorter term becomes highly relevant. Probably shooting for an HR degree is not as relevant.

T – Timed

You need deadlines. If you have a big goal, set sub-deadlines. Deadlines help you measure your progress and will direct you both consciously and sub-consciously towards achieving your goal.

So, now you should be able to set some really good goals for yourself. If you tell yourself “I want to lose weight”, you can be pretty sure you won’t. If on the other hand you set the goal: “I want to lose 6kg of weight over the next 12 weeks”, and you write it down, visualise it and make a plan on how you are going to achieve it, you give yourself a good chance!

One last thing: hang your visuals of your goals in places where you see them regularly and tell many people about them. It will make you feel more committed and motivate you to achieve them.

Related Courses:
If you want more help with your Time Management challenges and goal setting, check out our Time Management course. You can come to us in our public course or we can come to you for an in-house time management training.
Let me know what you think of these tips: do they work for you? Do you have better ones, or additions? Please comment!

Peter Munnik

When to give up on goals: http://hbr.org/tip/2012/05/08/know-when-to-give-up-on-your-goals


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