by the Mind Tools Content Team
If you want to live a happy life, tie it to a goal, not to people or things.
Many scientific researchers work day in, day out to pursue goals that will take years, decades, or even generations to achieve. Their progress is often painstakingly slow, they likely receive little feedback, and they know that success isn’t guaranteed.
However, despite the odds, they find enough meaning and motivation to keep working towards their objectives. Because of their long-term focus, we’ve all benefited from life-saving advances in areas such as vaccination, CT scanning, antibiotic development – and very many others.
It’s clear that people who maintain focus on long-term goals can achieve much bigger things than those who jump from idea to idea, or those who give up after the slightest setback. So, how can you keep focus on long-term goals, especially when you have to contend with everyday distractions and other urgent tasks?
What is Focus?
by the Mind Tools Content Team
If your goal is to become an account director within the next five years, where do you start your planning process? Or if your team needs to redesign the company’s organizational structure, where do you begin?
In planning, most of us would usually start building our plan from start to finish. What do you have to do first, second, third, and so on? And by what date does each step need to be completed?
This is a solid form of Personal Goal Setting that works very well. When combined with the Golden Rules of Goal Setting , you have a motivating formula that can help you actively move yourself forward.
A New Approach
However, there’s another simple but lesser-used method of goal setting that can be equally as powerful. It’s called backward planning, backward goal-setting, or backward design, and it’s used quite often in education and training. The idea is to start with your ultimate objective, your end goal, and then work backward from there to develop your plan. By starting at the end and looking back, you can mentally prepare yourself for success, map out the specific milestones you need to reach, and identify where in your plan you have to be particularly energetic or creative to achieve the desired results.
It’s much like a good presentation, when the presenter tells you where he’s headed right at the beginning. Then, as the presentation unfolds, it’s easy for you to follow the concepts and think critically about what’s being said. If you have to figure out the main points as they come, your energy is often used up by just trying to keep up. Fortsätt läsa
It is important to have goals because they are good for your physical and mental health. You can have goals for all areas of your life. Here are a few ideas: Career, Learning, Clubs, Money, Community, Politics, Contribution, Professional, Emotional, Reading, Family, Relationships, Health, Service, Home, Spiritual Interests, Travel.
What Makes an Effective Goal?
Not all goals are motivating. If a goal is too vague, hard to measure, or impossible to achieve, it will lack effectiveness and ultimately be a wasted exercise. Goal statements should be:
– Stated with action verbs
– Written down, with completion dates
Effective goals have all five ingredients.
The 80/20 Rule
The 80/20 Rule (also known as Pareto’s Principle) says that 20% of what we do produces 80% of the results. Fortsätt läsa
All goals take time to accomplish. But most people are impatient. All really worthwhile objectives involve work, and sacrifice, maybe even pain! But most people HATE pain. Therefore, most people don’t have any system at all for setting targets.
As some wise person once said (and we’ve all heard it a hundred times), “Nobody plans to fail, but many people fail to plan.” And when you look at that sentence on balance you have to realize that it’s the same thing. No plan equals a plan for failure.
So here is a plan for goalsetting – target-setting – that may assist you in changing the way you address life.
Take out a new sheet of paper and write the numbers 1 through 10 vertically, about an inch apart. Ready? OK.
To make it easy for you to remember, I’ve made each of the following ten points hinge on words starting with the letter “P”.
Point 1…PAPERIZE. That’s MY word. It means: Commit everything to writing. Fortsätt läsa
It’s been said that everyone has goals, whether we know it or not. We have goals to keep our current job, or to get a different one. We have goals to save for the future, or to travel, take a vacation, or purchase the things we need and want to make our lives more enjoyable. An important distinction, however, is that top achievers are very intentional and focused on their goals, while many of the rest of us are not.
Top achievers know that the wording, structure, timing and format of a goal can make it’s achievement much easier – or far more difficult. Top achievers understand the basic skills for setting and reaching their goals, every time! They know how to design goals that create success. Here are the 10 most important steps to set and achieve your goals:
1. Reachable goals are SPECIFIC. Top achievers know that to reach their goals, the brain must know exactly, precisely, what they are trying to accomplish. Never word a goal with vague terms like “some” or “a little bit”, or “more”. Be specific! If you want to lose 8 pounds and reach a weight of 175, specify those exact numbers. If you want to save $200 this month, be exact. Your brain can help you accomplish almost anything if it knows precisely what you are aiming for.
2. Reachable goals are SIMPLE. Fortsätt läsa
Did you know that fewer than 10% of people who set New Year’s Resolutions actually achieve them? How can you ensure YOUR success? Try using the Top 10 Tips below.
1. Write Them Down. It’s a fact: writing down your goals gives you a higher chance of success.
2. Commit. Move beyond the land of “good ideas” to promise yourself to show up for your goals. Perhaps you can do a ritual or ceremony to symbolize your commitment.
3. Tell People. Let your biggest fans in on your new commitments and goals for the year.
4. Get Accountability. Even better than just letting others in on your “secret” dreams and goals-get some accountability. Fortsätt läsa
Much has been written about achieving your goals. For the Solo Entrepreneur, pursuing goals can be an even bigger challenge than most. The very independence that appeals to Solo-E’s often leads to an extremely full plate. The weekly 168 hours is not enough to do everything on the list, to say nothing of pursuing goals. Stop for a minute and consider what could be different. Fortsätt läsa
To reach goals, consider this illustration: If you see roadblocks up ahead on a journey you take a diversion. No one in their right mind would just drive on and hit the obstacle head on just hoping they get through!
When you set a goal and if you are going to successfully reach goals, you need to write down a list of potential obstacles you may face. Fortsätt läsa
Have you set goals, personal or business, and failed to achieve them? Here is a crucial question: WHY?
The answer is simple:
Because you did not have a strong enough desire.
Some may argue with that: “But I did set goals with a strong desire and still I didn’t get there!”
Sorry, but the desire was still not strong enough.
This article is about INTENSE desire. In other words a PASSION. Fortsätt läsa
Achieving goals requires persistence. Here’s the proof: In 1915 Ty Cobb set up an amazing baseball record of stealing 96 bases. Seven years later Max Carey set the second-best record with 51 stolen bases.
Was Cobb twice as good as Carey?
Consider this: Cobb made 134 attempts. Carey made 53.
So Carey’s average was much better.
Cobb however made 81 more tries and was rewarded with 44 more stolen bases.
Frank Bettger makes this strong point on page 238 of his fascinating classic: How I Raised Myself From Failure To Success In Selling Fortsätt läsa