“The difference between the life with definite goals and the one without is night and day. The one with goals concentrates all efforts to efficiently undertake day-to-day routines and move closer to goals. The one without a goal has nowhere to focus and the dispersed efforts are too weak to bring tangible results. Time becomes worthless asset to waste in indolence.” – Colin Mtita, Your Inner Child Is Calling
Life is a waking dream and like a dream, the life’s purpose must start and manifest in the mind before it comes to reality. However, a mere thought in the mind is powerless without definite action and determination to realize it. Unless you consciously do something about your dream, it will not see the light of day but remain just a dream. This is where goal setting comes in.
Goal setting is probably one of the most crucial things towards attaining anything in life. There are very good ideas on how to set and follow through important goals in life. Yet, most people lead their lives without something to look forward to, in the end, their dreams perish.
Every time I have clearly defined goals and I take necessary steps to follow them through, my life seems much easier, happier and the future seems more predictable. That is true even when there is a very slow progress towards my aims, but the fact that I have something worth my day to guide me, makes me feel hopeful.
On the contrary, when I lose sight of my goals, I succumb to distractions, and I can’t focus at all, not even in the smallest tasks. I jump from one thing to the next, I perfom my duties partially, which is not worthy my time. Life is devoid of meaning and I feel hopelessly adrift from day to day without anything tangible to show. I don’t like that kind of life, that is why I have goals, at least one to look up to, every day. If you feel your life is worth a lot, I hope you gonna define goals as well.
Goals help us decide what is more important among what crosses our minds. This is a crucial thing to do because this is how we can prioritize our lives and choose what we want to attract to us, both material things, opportunities and people.
This article offers practical suggestions on goal setting techniques. The ideas described here, if followed, are powerful to get any of your goals done. Parts of this article are excerpt of the book, Your Inner Child Is Calling by Colin Mtita. For the sake of understanding and quick use of the ideas, this article contains only crucial parts to give you a quick to grasp on the ideas and hence put the knowledge you acquire into immediate use.
The article divides the goal setting process in three parts, the first part is the preliminary process that prepares your mind and hints on crucial things you must know. The second part is the goal setting part, this is when you define all your goals and classify them. The final part is activities you must do after you are done with identifying your goals. Achieving your goals requires a continuous process and not a one-day action. To make it work, you must follow the process to the point.
A. DO THIS BEFORE EMBARKING ON GOAL SETTING
Setting Goals Require A Mental Change
Goal setting is more than writing down your goals on the piece of paper. The process of writing is simply showing you know what you want in the end. But merely writing something down won’t get you anything if you don’t accept it in your mind. The idea here is not to set a big goal because it can be achieved in the end, but to set a goal that you are convinced it will come to life – whether big or small, is immaterial. You must accept it in your mind.
For instance, your income is around $3,000 a month and you set a goal that you’ll buy a house worth $100,000 within a year. Is that goal relevant to you? Do you see yourself believing that? Honestly, none hinders you from saying it, but if your mind won’t accept it, you won’t achieve it. Be releavant and honest to yourself.
Don’t just set goals, some goals will only serve to discourage you than encourage you to take actions when challenges strike and your motivation is gone.
It’s crucial you adhere to the above ideas because of the following:
- It’s not so much about the goal on paper, but what your mind accepts that matters. It’s not about the size of the goal, but what you believe you can achieve is the key here. Action and planning is crucial in this part.
- Best goals are the ones you have the passion with. It isn’t so much about what you do, but it’s about how you do that matters, which refers back to the mindset. If you set goals and you have passion behind it, then it will certainly be achieved. Otherwise, you fail before you even start.
To be on the safe side before setting goals, do the following:
- Be clear on how you want to live your life
Be realistic. Analyze both short term and long term intentions in your life
- Be certain of what you want to achieve
You must know what you want before you aim to achieve it. You can’t aim nowhere and expect to hit a target – that’s guessing and trust me, you don’t need guesswork with your life. More on that, give your aims some timeframe that will make it more relevant.
- Analyze your beliefs
Belief on your ambitions is key. Analyze whether what you believe in pertaining to your goals is either positive or negative. If it’s negative, work to change it, because it will act against you in the process.
What To Avoid
- Don’t set goals because you want to show off to other people that you aim higher.
- Don’t set goals to impress other people, focus on your life first.
- Don’t set goals because you have seen others have similar goals, see what you want and have passion for. Don’t copy other’s ideas without seeing if they suit you.
Other people don’t matter in the end, or to put it simple, they don’t care about your goals at all. You are the only one who cares, so focus on what you want, not other people. In the end, it’s your life that you are living, not theirs.
Why Are Goals Important?
Why do we have to set goals in life? Well, here are 5 reasons why goals are important
- Goals are necessary to advance your life with certainty. Goals connect you to your inner self and let you express it on the outside
- Goals give you freedom to choose what you want and exercise your freedom in life
- With clearly defined goals, opportunities become more apparent. You can easily identify lucrative opportunies around you and beyond, which is what you need to be successful.
- Goal setting builds the right mindset that is necessary towards success
- Goal are the best and most powerful ways to fulfil your dreams in life
B. THIS IS HOW YOU DEFINE YOUR GOALS
Assuming that the above step is clear, then you are ready to set your goals. Now, before defining and writing down your goals, you must understand that goals are never the same. There are goals which are life changing and others are meant to get you day by day. Hence, you must understand which goals have much larger impacts in your life and focus on them.
This ideas was clearly explained in the post 7 Effective habits for achieving personal excellence, which hints on long term perspectives and delaying gratifications. The idea of goal setting isn’t about planning for today. No, the goals are there to help us bring our future into the present and start to work on it today so that we get to live the life we want with less efforts.
Here are few steps on how you should actually set your goals:
1. Define goals to balance your life
When you plan your goals, make sure you set goals that keep your life at a balance. For instance, you can have financial goals, spiritual goals, career goals, health goals, family goals and others. These goals make you work with your life every day.
2. Give your goals time perspective
Goal is nothing without a time boundary. Define a time boundary for your goal, like Napoleon Hill put it; a goal is a dream with a deadline. Hence, to make it simple, classify your goals into three categories:
- Short term goals: These are routine goals and done on daily basis. They serve to bring you enthusiasm and keep going through life. For instance, I read for one hour every morning on the subject of self-development is a goal I have set and continue to follow through, routinely.
- Medium term goals: These are goals you want to achieve anywhere between a month to three months. For instance, within the next two month, I save 20% of my earnings for future investment.
- Long term goals: These are life changing goals and are simply indispensable. Long-term goals span anywhere from three months to 10 years. Most long term goals are broken down into smaller manageable and measurebale goals and done routinely. This not only makes achieving them faster and with little efforts, but makes sure that you are always taking action towards your dreams.There are various instances of long-term goals. You can plan on education, investing, purchasing assets, writing a book and so forth. For instance, one of my long term goal was to write a book and start a blog to share ideas, it went of for years but I slowly started to take actions, and finally here I am and you are reading this article. Goals are really things that change our lives and long term goals are really what you should focus on if you want to change your life.
3. Only focus on what you are capable of doing, leave the negativities out
The most important thing when setting a goal is to acquire a positive perspective on it. Think of your capabilities towards achieving your goals. Think of your strength.
Forget the weakness. Forget the failures. Forget the setbacks. If the goal is important, these things won’t matter, when the time comes you’ll surely find the way to deal with them. Don’t think of investing in business and then start thinking of failures, what if it won’t work out, what if I lose money? That won’t be a good way to go about your goal.
4. Keep It Super Simple – KISS
Be realistic. Don’t complicate goals. Start small and take babe steps towards improvement. Don’t overestimate things, just start slow, because even if you will face challenges, you’ll not burn out your efforts.
For instance, when I started the blog and decided to constantly post three articles per day in 7 days a week, I would have been long exhausted by now. With time, I would have realized that I don’t have that enough resources and time to keep up with my schedule. I would have been burnt out and challenged so badly. I decided to start slow and advance with time. That allows me time to do other things while slowly advancing to the targets with little efforts and required efficiency.
5. Write down your goals
It is crucial that you write down your goals. Take a piece of paper and note them down. This is one of the most important things you’ll do when practicing the art of goal setting. Goals on paper have more power and chances to manifest than the goals which have been merely spoken without being committed in writing.
Take a piece of paper, jot down your thoughts while following the principles suggested above and I will see you in the next section.
C. WHAT YOU MUST DO AFTER GOAL SETTING
The above steps will get you from being hopelessly adrift to having a direction in your life. However, you will not be anywhere near completion. Now, this final part is the one that brings you from having a goal in your mind to manifesting tangible results in the end.
The process of achieving a goal takes time, hence you must be very patient and consistently take the necessary action towards your goal, this is what finally results into the positive outcomes.
1. Whatever You Focus On Expands
To get your goals done, you must focus on your goals and take actions, consistently. This creates a pattern in your mind. A pattern that will be used to put you in the right track towards achieving your goals. You only you get better at setting and achieving goals with constant practice. There’s neither magic nor voodoo. If you can’t do it, none else will do it for you. Take time, work your goals out. It’s about how much you can improve with time. It’s neither a one nor two day’s activity. It’s what you must do every day. This is due to the ability of the mind to prioritize on whatever it is fed upon consistently. And that is a pattern creation process.
The mind gets better at reminding you on what you constantly impress on it – what you focus on mostly. You are always working with your conscious mind to think and analyze situations, but you are indirectly using your subconscious mind to solve most of your problems.
Conscious mind is what you use to operate on day to day basis. This is where thoughts are generated and concentration can be done. If you keep planning goals and work on them every day, your mind will be forced to remember these ideas every day. Guess what? That’s how these ideas get to mature. Your conscious mind will then tell your subconscious mind to prioritize on these ideas. You’ll eventually get to find ways to meet your goals. This happens because your mind won’t be distracted by anything else but what you want to achieve. This is by far the quickest way to achieve your goals.
Napoleon Hill in his classical book Think And Grow Rich described six steps towards the riches. In the sixth step he insisted on reading the statement of your goals and plans aloud twice a day. This is how you tell your mind to focus on your goals. You must do this religiously, every day so that your mind can understand your desires.
The pattern, once created replaces all the negative ideas pertaining to your goals with the positive ideas. It also crash worry, fear, negativities, indecision, reluctance and procrastination. That is why you must focus on your goals and create a pattern that leads to achieving it.
2. Keep Goals Private
It’s important to realize that your goals are personal. If you are one of those people who’s easily swayed by other’s opinions, then simply keep them private. They have better chances to mature that way. Only speak of your goals by achieving them. Let your actions speak for you.
I don’t discourage you from sharing with people. I only discourage you from sharing with the wrong people. Sharing is good. You can get all good ideas by speaking your mind, but that only happens when the ideas you get in return empower you towards achieving your goals. This is from people with a positive perspective on life – optimists. If you share your ideas with dream stealers or pessimists, you’re likely to abandon your goals during its initial stages. That’s not the way to live. I suggest you keep your goals private and share only if you need advice from the right person, and that is the big if. Focus on taking action, sometimes you need to face challenges to discover your way, and only action can lead you there.
How Many Goals To Achieve At Once?
Well, this is really relative and subjective depending on how you do things. There’s no hard coded formula on this. I have seen plenty of people saying you must have only one goal at a time. But I don’t work that way. If I focus on only one thing at once, I become bored and it doesn’t work out. I need things to fill my head. I need to run things in parallel. It’s not necessarily too much goals, but it surely can’t be one. More goals create some kind of feeling that I have a lot in my plate, hence I must manage my time well. If I lose time to accomplish the task on one thing, that means I lose time to start on another thing – that pushes me to the edge and I get things done on time.
Choose goals that can’t be mutually exclusive. If you need to work to improve your finances, you can as well work to improve your health. At the same time you can work to improve your self-awareness and others. These goals bring your whole sense of being to a higher level and I don’t see them interfering to one another. Rather, I can’t let my health wait until I am financially free. I can’t wait until I have a lot of money to be self-aware. These things can simply run in parallel.
I don’t know how it will work for you, but you have to try it for yourself. If you are a one goal person, it’s well and good, go for it. If you can multitask, then it’s well and good, go ahead and do it. There’s no rule here, it’s all what you are capable of doing. Remember that multitasking involves allocating small chunks of time to each tasks. You don’t do all of them at once.
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