Three Steps for Positive Goal Setting
As I conduct my Time Management Seminars all over, my audiences
consistently tell me they want more out of life. Almost everyone
I speak with has a yearning for improving several aspects of
their lives. They have dreams and goals about their future as
Many come to the end in life with those visions unrealized,
pictures in their minds only.
Achieving goals helps us to get the "want to's in our lives.
Life ought to be more than just achieving the "have to's".
I offer three important tips to help increase the probability of
achieving your dreams, getting more of what you want in your
1. Put your goals into writing. There is something powerful
about writing out what you want, getting your dream out of your
head and on to a piece of paper. It then seems more realizable.
It's a stonger affirmation of what you are working towards
rather than having a vague, wispy notion floating around in your
An even stronger tool is to prepare a goal scrapbook. Nothing
fancy. Get a three-ring binder and fill it with notebook paper.
Then get a picture of each your goals and paste them into your
new goal scrapbook. You ca go to the car dealer and get a
brochure of the new car you want. Visit a travel agent and pick
up brochures of your ideal vacation's destination and add that.
Clip a picture of your dream house out of the newspaper's real
estate section and add this as well.
Then, each night, review your goal scrapbook and see a picture
of what will surely be coming to you. It's like viewing a
crystal ball and seeing your future.
2. Quantify your goals. Many do not get what they truly want in
their lives because they are too vague about what they want. It
is not enough to say, "I want more money" or "I want to be
rich". Instead, if you write, "I want $10,000", you now have a
clear target to shoot for.
3. Set a deadline. Did you ever set a New Year's resolution and
never achieve it? Most people have. And most people fail to
achieve their dreams because they did not include a deadline
with their goal. Deadlines move us to action.
When we fail to include a deadline for our goal, when we commit
to achieving it "as soon as possible", the goal winds up in our
"as soon as possible" pile of things I will do another day,
which is probably never. Why? Because we all too much to do and
not enough time to get it all done. The items that have
deadlines for completion tend to bubble up in priority and
importance so that we take action and achieve them.
Having written out the goal, placed a picture in our goal
scrapbook, quantified it, and set a deadline, we can now break
that goal down into its little component pieces so that
achievement becomes realistic and manageable.
The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. No
goal achievement is a leap across some huge canyon. Many are
intimidated and driven away from going after what they really
want in their lives for fear they will have to take a giant leap
across that canyon and, hey, what if I don't leap far enough?
Let's say you have a goal to get an additional $10,000 in
savings two years from today. Make up a picture of your new bank
statement two years from now showing the additional $10,000 in
your account. The goal is in writing. It is quantified and a
deadline has been set. Now you can break that goal into its
little steps for achievement.
To get $10,000 over the next two years requires getting an
additional $5,000 per year. A year is made up of twelve months,
so that means you need to get approximately $400 per month. A
month is made up of four weeks, so that's $100 per week. And a
week is made of, let's say, five business days. That's $20 per
day. (I have not added in interest to these calculations just
I don't know about you, but the notion of going out in the world
tomorrow and getting an extra $20 is a whole lot more realistic
and certainly a whole more doable than getting $10,000. Getting
the entire $10,000 is the leap across the canyon. It scares me.
$20 is the single step. That's something I can handle. Now the
goal seems realistic and is realizable.
But until you write out your goal, quantify it, and set a
deadline so that you break it down to its small steps, it will
forever appear to be too big a stretch and therefore
unattainable. But every time you follow these three steps and
break the goal down, you will always find that you have within
your control what it takes to accomplish that next step. And
once you begin, you are on your way!
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