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Don’t Just Set Goals. Achieve Them!

A lot of people talk about goal setting and the need to have goals.  But the reality is that most goals are never achieved.

Looking at studies of personal and business goals, most findings show less than 25% of goals are achieved. In fact, if you look back at your own life, how many goals have you set v. how many of them have you achieved? It is no wonder that many people get discouraged when thinking about setting goals, working on goals, or letting others know about their goals.

Before we ever set a goal, we need to understand our internal mindset toward goals, and if necessary, change a negative mindset to a positive mindset. We need to consider our history of setting goals, working toward them, and achieving them.  This history and the view that we have of goals in our life will definitely affect our motivation, enthusiasm, and belief in the purpose of goals in our lives. If our mindset about goals is negative, due to negative experiences, we have to change the way we approach goal setting and achievement in our lives. If we continue to do the same old thing, we will get the same old results.

So, how do we change the way we approach goals?

  1. Get a new, positive mindset that this time will be different than before. We will be successful!
  2. Only set goals that are important to you. You have to have a desire and passion to achieve the goal. It has to be something that you are willing to sacrifice to achieve.  Have you ever heard of a “Big Hairy Audacious Goal,” or a “Wildly Important Goal” (BHAGs & WIGs)?  Both of these have the commonality of being very important to the person!!  Stop setting goals that a spouse wants for you, or a boss, set goals that are important to you.
  3. Understand this simple process: Passion leads to Motivation, which leads to Commitment, which leads to a Willingness to Sacrifice, which leads to Achievement!
  4. Realize that you cannot achieve everything at once. Find the most important 1 to 3 things you want to work on right now, and set those as goals.
  5. Follow the S.M.A.R.T. process to set your goals. S – make it Specific, M – make it Measurable (so you can celebrate small successes), A – make sure it is Attainable (big, difficult, but attainable), R – make sure it is Relevant to you, and T – set a Time for completion.

You now have your main goal(s) established.  Now to achieve them:

  1. To work on your goal, you need to make it visible to stay on your mind, make working on it attractive to you, make it easy to work on, and make it satisfying and rewarding to put in the effort and sacrifice.
  2. Break it out. People talk about breaking goals down into smaller goals. This is fine and can be helpful. But I find it more important to break the goal out into goals that will support the achievement of your main goals. For example,
    1. Choose one change that you will stop doing to help achieve your goal. (i.e. goal = get down to 170lbs, so limit TV time to 1 hr. per day)
    2. Choose one change that you will start doing to help achieve your goal. (i.e. goal = get down to 170lbs, so start going for a 2 mile walk each day)
    3. Choose one relationship to develop to help achieve your goal. (i.e. goal = get down to 170lbs, so walk with spouse and build relationship or talk with Bill who recently dropped 50 lbs.)
    4. Choose one skill/knowledge/mindset that you can change to help achieve your goal. (i.e. goal = get down to 170lbs, so read a fitness book or take a fitness class)
  3. Establish accountability.
    1. Put your goals everywhere (phone, computer, vision board, post-its) that will remind you and help you keep them in mind.
    2. Get support and accountability from others (coworkers, friends, family, spouse).

When all of these factors come together, you will achieve your goals.  You will have the passion to achieve the goal.  You will find more motivation and commitment to having a plan.  And you will know more surely that now you actually will achieve your goal, the sacrifices will be more worth it, and you will achieve those things you want the most.


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