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Goal Setting – is it all its’ cracked up to be?

Along with Santa, turkey and good cheer, comes the telling that we need to be setting our goals (or making New Years Resolutions) for the incoming year. Well, that’s the message anyway! Yet statistics show that very few people actually do – only somewhere in the region of 4% of the population take the time to sit down and really think about what they want to achieve in their lifetime, and of those that do, few write it down.

This got me thinking about why the figure is so low and just what is it that stops people?

  • Is it the day to day activities we all must do just to reach the end of a day, leaving people too tired and listless to think about what they want out of life?
  • Or perhaps we really do not know what we want and the thought of choosing one thing is actually eliminating all the other stuff that could be available.
  • Or do we just slump in front of the TV  ignoring the immense potential of our own lives if we took charge of its direction?

I remember asking one man, “Where would you like you and your company to be in five years?” He looked at me, frowned and after a big sigh said,

 “In five years? I don’t know where I’ll be at five o’clock”

 The one thing for sure is that we all want to be happy; we just need to figure out what makes us so. If we think about being happy, what our ideal life would be like to achieve that state; we get an idea of what it will take to reach that ideal. By thinking about what we want in the future, we are able to make decisions easier in the present. Is this taking me towards or away from my aims and how can I track my progress? It becomes clear as we realise what we need to do to bring that ideal state into being.

I find it is sad to think most people won’t get round to deciding what they want out of life, leaving themselves living a half-life, frustrated, overwhelmed and without clarity and focus.

So what is a goal/resolution? It is evidence of your dream. Thinking about options and choices is the beginning of living that dream. It’s important to spend time fleshing out your goal, filling in as many details as possible, make it really live in your imagination.

Only then can we start the process of transferring it from our thought into a reality where it can be seen.

The wise Earl Nightingale said, “Success is the realisation of a worthy goal” and what makes it worthy is that it is aligned with what you value in life.

“We cannot do everything at once but we can do something at once”

Calvin Coolidge (30th US President)

Everyone is individual and how we personally think and act can give us options on how we can take this forward. Some people like to write down their goals in their journal, I Believe that by committing your thoughts to paper it gives them more meaning in your head. Some people like to create a vision board; a collection of pictures of what they want to achieve. Others just want to write down what they want to do, to be and to have in their life.

Goals don’t always have to be material things like houses, boats and cars – they can be feelings too; of happiness, calm and peace. A good way to hold the imagine of the last thing that needs to happen for you to say, “Yes, I have achieved this” as a way to measure your success. Measurement is essential as it gives you a snapshot of where you are in relation to your goal and allows you to alter your path when you need to so you stay on course.

Here are some key questions to think about:

  1. What do you want
  2. When do you want it?
  3. What makes it important for you to have this?
  4. What are you willing to give up in order to achieve this?
  5. How will you know when you have achieved this?

So now you are left with a choice!

  1. Set aside some time to sit down, think about your future, write down the way you want it to be and then start working towards it. By doing this you become one of the few that takes control of their life, their work and their energy!
  2. Do nothing, deal with what life throws at you and be prepared to help us four percent to reach our dreams instead.

I leave you with that choice and this quote!

“People who say it cannot be done should not interrupt those who are doing it!”

George Bernard Shaw

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Cynthia Curry
10 years ago

Brilliant article – and the daily measurement tool for every decision – ‘is this moving me towards or away from my goal’ is one I’m taking into my thinking process. even if I only catch myself some of the time, it will be better than none! Thanks for this Jane – superb coaching.

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