By Robyn Pearce, CSP*
Goal setting for business owners and professionals is essential when it comes to making improvements and reaching milestones. There are many ways to set goals. However, not all of them are effective. Here for you is a compilation of methods that I’ve personally tried and tested.
Use these goal setting techniques if you are looking to have a breakthrough year.
1. Think as far into your future as you can - at least a year out and ideally much further ahead. Dream big. It isn’t your imminent tasks or relatively easy projects we’re interested in at this stage. They come later. ‘Realistic’ is very useful for short-term goals, but entirely too limiting for long-term dream goals.
2. If you break your life into categories you’ll find it easier. For example:
• Self, wellbeing and spirituality
• Business and career
• Home and family
• Community and humanity
This can help you focus on every aspect without being held back by outside factors and variables. Think about what you want to accomplish in each category before moving on to the next one.
3. Write your goals down.
Many people say, ‘Oh, I know what's important to me. Why do I need to record it?’
Have you noticed that the exercise of putting your thoughts down on paper forces clarity? One of my clients had this to say about writing down his goals:
‘At first it was very difficult at first to make myself write. For one thing, it takes self- discipline. We live in a busy world of instant action and quick entertainment. It's easier to cruise through life with a comfortable but only general awareness of what our most important issues are.
‘I found, however, that writing them down made them more serious. It was a very liberating experience, once I started.’
4. Be very specific.
Don’t say ‘I want more money’, ‘I want a new house’, or ‘I want to travel’. Instead be more descriptive about your goals. How many rooms? Where do you want to build the house? Will it have an outside area? Where will you travel? How long will you be staying in the destination? What specific activities do you wish to do when you’re there?
5. Initially do goals for yourself, not the others in your life.
It’s not selfish – it’s just easier. If other people will be involved with some of them, negotiate later. Some things may have to be shifted out a bit but you need to be clear on your own thoughts before you can have a useful conversation with someone else.
6. If something comes into your mind, don’t dismiss it with thoughts of: ‘I can’t do that’, or ‘it’s not practical’. Instead, listen to your intuition – if it’s come into your mind it is probably something you should be writing down. This is the time to cater to your new personal goals and ideas.
7. Find or make pictures to represent your words and thoughts.
Make a collage, a poster, a scrapbook or some kind of visual reminder. Pictures are incredibly powerful. Alternatively, you can also create your own visuals. Drawing a timeline or your own diagram can add a personal touch to your reminders.
Afterwards, hang your inspiring visuals in a place where you look frequently. This could be on the back of your wardrobe door, your computer monitor at work, or even near the kitchen counter.
After you’ve set your goals, it’s time to start taking steps towards turning them into reality. Don’t get discouraged by the time it takes to achieve your goals. Instead, talk to your workmates, friends and family about them for extra motivation (if they’re supportive people).
If you’re looking for innovative ways to apply new goal setting techniques in your office or home, try our effective goal setting toolkit: http://www.gettingagrip.com/product/getting-a-grip-on-life-goals-toolkit/.
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*Robyn Pearce CSP(Certified Speaking Professional) is known as the Time Queen. She runs an international time management and productivity business helping people find more time.