The Truth About Goals
The common meaning of goal is something that any person wishes to achieve but only we ourselves can truly define our unique goals to ourselves.
Throughout the civilization of the human race, every achievement originates from the ideas and efforts of our ancestors. Since then, many individuals have gathered and aspired to achieve goals in their respective fields. In each generation, we have found meanings of our lives in our different goals when we possess the desire to achieve a certain purpose in life. By all means, we will use our best efforts to achieve these goals. Then, these achievements, in turn, inspire the next generation to improve and achieve more than our predecessors have succeeded.
As it is subjective to define a person’s goal to another, the chances for a person achieving his/her goal can depend on various factors as shown by multiple research from various fields of study. While some pursuits of success are limited by certain factors, there are others whose success grows on different factors.
Industry experts, business people, motivational speakers, entrepreneurs have all shared their knowledge, methods and skills with us to achieve our targets or emulate their success. Despite that, many have often overlooked the importance of setting their goals clear enough to utilize the information and skills they possess effectively.
So how do we perfectly set goals that will launch our work to success? Before trying to answer this question, we must first understand why so many have failed to set their goals.
1. Not Realizing the Importance of Setting Goals
The most habitual mistake during the planning stage is to ignore the importance of setting goals. In fact, most who do not understand that specifying goals for both the short term and the long term cannot find purpose, meaning or even inspiration in their efforts to achieve the goals set.
Such mistake does not only affect an individual or organisation’s course of actions but also the attitude towards the goals. Without a sense of purpose or meaning of the goals, one cannot simply use passionate effort to achieve success.
Goals are not just tasks on a to-do-list which you can tick off once you’ve completed it. Goals can also be stepping stones to a bigger cause in life. Therefore, we should define our goals clear enough before we set ourselves on our journey.
2. Writing Only the Long Term Goals
Our focus on the end results have often derailed us as our progress is not constructively planned when we have only set long term goals but not the short term ones which are required to accomplish the long ones.
For instance, if you wish to start a bakery, you must not only be good in baking cakes and making a variety of confectionery and pastries, you must also know how to manage the business and employ the right people to help you operate the bakery. Those are the short term goals of getting everything prepared before realizing the long term goal of operating a bakery.
Setting short term goals in sight of the long one is to help us focus on one goal at a time and build on each success to reach further and apparently achieve our long term goals. Usually, this sort of achievement satisfies us even more in the end.
3. Pre-Belief that It Won’t Work
Those who have such belief usually have very consistent reasoning on rejecting certain ideas before reaching the final stages of setting their goals. As such, during the stages of setting goals, one should embrace the foreseeable challenges after sufficient analysis and not discouraged by them.
However, over-analyzing and constantly filling ideas and efforts with doubts will definitely end the goal setting process earlier than expected. During the stages of goal setting, we also have to acknowledge that it would not be possible to answer all the questions and create substantial plans to overcome the foreseeable challenges.
4. Writing Our Goals as Negative Statements
Instead of working towards something we want, writing our goals as something we try to avoid or as obstacles we do not wish to overcome may affect our motivation to finish work. How we write our goals down can really affect how view it. In other words, nobody wants their goals to sound discouraging.
Writing “Don’t lift less than 120lbs for your bench press” definitely does not sound as inspiring as “Good job on lifting 100lbs on the bench press. Try lifting 120 lbs next week.” The way the goals are written should inspire us to be dedicated to our goals and not try to instill the fear of failure in us.
5. Generic Goals
Having goals which are often too similar to others around your age usually means the goals you have set are not specific enough. So how does this deter you from being successful?
Not having enough details of how your goals should specifically be means the effort which you will use might not be able to help you achieve whatever targets.
For instance, if you wish to buy a house, you must find out the market price of the house, its size, its design, the loan repayment, interest rates of the loan, the location of the house and many other necessary factors for you to purchase the house successfully.
Whether it’s a vacation you’re planning or increasing profits of your business, the more you specify your goals, the clearer it is in your mind that you are convinced these are the goals you really wish to achieve.
Having a high-performing mindset takes time and consistency. These five steps, when performed consistently, will help transform your mindset, helping you to accelerate your goals and achieve them faster.
6. Measuring Results
Business leaders and entrepreneurs often face this problem of utilizing the right tools to measure the progress of their businesses. Those who have no idea how to measure the progress of their work during the goal setting process are doomed to fail. Most are disillusioned by monetary profits they gained earlier on.
Measuring results is not only a good way of ensuring you are on the right track to your long term goals. Besides, it gives you the chance to improve results based on the goals you have specified during goal setting.
7. Setting Irrelevant Goals
Wasting time on goals which are not relevant to the aim or missions in your life will not benefit you in the long term. Besides, having too many goals at one time and not being able to produce results for each goal after so much effort will only damage your progress towards the long term goal.
Stay focused on the goals and try to achieve one goal after another.
8. Setting Unrealistic Goals
If you set goals which you could not realistically achieve over a certain period of time, you will feel discouraged and eventually will give up on chasing after your goals. So don’t kill your chances of achieving your goals by being unrealistic.
In setting your goals, you must set short term goals or stepping stones for you to reach the bigger goals. These ‘stepping stones’ will also nurture you for face bigger challenges in your pursuit of your dreams.
At the end of the day, it’s important to be ambitious but not too unrealistically excited.
9. Not having reasonable time frame for achievement
While you can measure results with the realistic goals you have set, time is always an important factor as any delay in achieving your goals means less can be done to achieve it.
Some goals have their time limits and so, progress must be measured over certain amount of time.
For instance, you worked out that, to have your dream vacation in July 3 years from now, you must save up about 10% of your salary every month. Otherwise, you will not have enough money for the vacation by then so it’s crucial that you save as much even if the amount you save each month can be different.
10. Opinions of others
The opinion of others may have considerable weight in our goal setting process especially if these people are close to us like our family, colleagues and friends. It is therefore understandable that we may have set our goals based on most of their opinions.
The risk of setting the ‘goals of others’ under the illusion that you share those goals might actually be similar to the risks of setting irrelevant goals as you have read in mistake no. 7. If those goals are solely based on the opinions of others, you will not be able to feel the satisfaction of achieving them especially if they are not truly your goals.
After learning of the common mistakes of goal setting, it is easy to believe that we could achieve our goals as long as we could define the obstacles and the methods to succeed. However what most people have neglected throughout their journey of pursuing success is the sheer determination to sacrifice many other things along the way.
Instead of asking ourselves questions like “What kind of success do you wish to have? How much resources are you willing to use to reach your goal?”, we must be able to answer “How badly do you want to do this? How much can you sacrifice for this?” What motivates us must not only be extrinsic, it must also be intrinsic.
Many want to be famous and successful with their work but few realised that having goals is just the easy part. After all, very few people can give up their lifestyles, doubt their beliefs or even risk their relationships with people to thrive.
The sky is the limit. Everybody wants a gold medal. Not many are willing to train, eat and live like a world champion.
In other words, setting goals with only the future rewards in sight will not prepare us well mentally. To be the best, we must be able to bear all the costs to reach our goals.