Use a goal-setting template

What’s your goal?

Alice came to a fork in the road. “Which road do I take?” she asked.
“Where do you want to go?” responded the Cheshire cat.
“I don’t know,” Alice answered.
“Then,” said the cat, “it doesn’t matter.”

(Taken from Lewis Carroll’s ‘Alice in Wonderland’.)

Goals give purpose and direction. Without goals, you drift and, when you drift, you’re not in control. If you’re not in control, then someone else may be. By setting goals you take charge of your own future and give yourself the chance to experience freedom, happiness and fulfilment.

A goal can be described as a dream with a date. It is what gets you from “I wish I was” to “I am”. When you set goals, you create clear aims and objectives towards which you can channel your effort and energy.

A Goal-Setting Template

Here’s your template for setting effective goals. With your goal in mind, go through these steps, refining if you need to until you have a tangible, inspiring, challenging but achievable goal.

1) Align with your values

Make sure each goal fits your big picture and is in line with what you value in the world, what’s most important to you.

2) Challenge yourself

If a goal is too easy you will become bored and drop it. So dream big and then identify then smaller steps to get you there.

3) Make it achievable

Whilst goals should be challenging so you feel inspired, they should also be reachable, otherwise you’ll quickly become disheartened and may give up. If the goal seems unrealistic break it down into smaller more manageable chunks.

4) State the positive

You tend to get what you focus on and the subconscious mind struggles to differentiate between a positive and a negative. So instead of “I want to stop being shy” re-phrase that to “I want to be confident”.

5) Use the present tense

Use “I am” instead of “I will”. For example, “I am working on projects I feel passionate about”. This may feel odd to the logical, conscious mind if it’s not yet fact, but the subconscious mind will latch on to it and focus all efforts on making it true.

6) Be specific

A vague goal is unlikely to be realised. For example, if you want to get more clients decide exactly how many clients you want to get and by when.

7) Imagine

How does it look, feel, sound to have reached your goal? The more vividly you can imagine the end game, engaging as many senses as you can, the easier it is to move towards it.

8) Write it down

Written goals stand a greater chance of achievement as it makes them more real and fixes them firmly in place.

9) Give a time-frame

Always attach a start and finish time. And do this for each of the action steps you plan. This helps to keep focused and stay on track.

10) Make it measurable

Ask yourself how you will know when you have achieved your goal. For example, “I am successful” could mean when you’ve consistently achieved a certain turnover for six consecutive months and have a steady stream of new clients in the pipeline.

11) Keep it legal and ethical

Goals should be for your own good and the good of others.

12) Share

Making someone else aware of what you’re working towards can give you a sounding board as well as increase your sense of accountability to make it happen.

13) Review often

Bringing your goal to the forefront of your mind daily helps to reinforce it, as well as giving you an opportunity to refine or adapt it as needed.

14) Maintain balance

Aim to set goals in each area of life to ensure that you’re not jeopardising family for the sake of business, for example, but rather nurturing every aspect of your life experience.

First published July 2014 at Real Time Minds.

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