Goal setting is used by the world’s most successful people. Whether you want to reach a certain level of web traffic, build a larger blog following, or achieve a sales target, you need to set goals.
Almost everyone I know sets goals. They set goals to lose weight, increase sales, run farther, and to get promoted. Most fail, with the vast majority giving up very quickly.
You know the type. They are the same people who hit the gym on the first weekday after New Year’s, stumbling over the equipment and trying to make good on their resolution to lose the flab. A few weeks later, they are never seen anywhere near the gym again. Until next January of course.
It’s not that people who fail at goal setting are lazy, or less motivated than those who achieve their goals. The problem is usually that they simply don’t understand how to set goals properly.
Motivation Should Come First
Before you set your goal, you should be able to explain in 1 or 2 short sentences exactly why you want to achieve this particular goal. “I want to get rid of my fat belly” is not a very good reason to start an exercise program after January 1st. If such a goal truly motivated you, there would be no reason to wait until the New Year to start.
A goal should be self motivating. You should want to start it today, right now. Not on some arbitrary date conceived by the media.
Specify Exactly What You Want to Achieve
“I want to increase my sales this year,” is not a specific goal. How will you know when you achieve it? Is 0.1% improvement good enough? Or do you think doubling your sales is important?
You must specifically state your exact goal. Whether it is losing 20 pounds or increasing net profit by 50%, the specificity will tell you when you have achieved your goal. The finish line will drive you when your motivation begins to wane.
Create a Deadline
A challenging yet realistic deadline is imperative to properly setting goals. You can choose an arbitrary calendar date, such as December 31st. But the best date to choose is one which is tied to your goal. Maybe you need to hit a profit target or get your sales out of the black before the end of the fiscal quarter so your company will survive. Maybe your high school reunion is in 120 days, and you want to show up in optimum physical condition.
Dates which hold an emotional attachment are more effective dates to choose than arbitrary calendar dates.
Tell Your Friends
If you really want to achieve a goal, tell your friends. Let them know on Facebook and Twitter. Tell them at the office water cooler. Let your spouse know. Why? Because they will all see you fail if you don’t follow through. Do you really want to publicly fail? Of course not. You will fight harder to achieve your goals and show more discipline if you are motivated by an external pressure.
Another reason to enlist your friends is to increase your emotional support. Good friends won’t offer you a donut if they know you need to lose 20 pounds in 4 months. Good friends will cheer you on as you achieve successes along the way.
Just Do It
By the end of today, you will decide exactly what it is you wish to achieve and why you want to achieve it. You will write it down. Feel free to start a journal (I use Google Docs so I have access to my goals from any computer with internet throughout the process). Set a deadline date which is realistic but challenging. Enlist your friends and family.
We want to see you achieve all of your goals this year. Let us know when you achieve them!
- Dan Padavona, Warmpicture