Webster would define a goal as “the object of a person’s ambition or effort; an aim or a desired result.” Prevailing wisdom would lend you that the best way to achieve our goals would be to set specific, measurable and actionable goals.
For years, I approached my goals the same way. I’ve set goals for starting, for stopping; for being quicker; for slowing down; for earning more; for spending less; for health, fitness, productivity, and for simply doing more with less. I approached them all the same. I’ve succeeded a few, and failed at many. Eventually I realized that my results had very little to do with the goals I set.
The right mindset and the right plan, however, are crucial.
Having the right mindset is by far one of the most important pieces. Your mindset ensures you have the attitude, mental fortitude, resilience and capacity to be the person you need to be to achieve the goal in the first place. This includes but isn’t limited to believing in yourself, maintaining your confidence, and managing your fears. Your mindset is one of the few things you truly have full control of.mA great mindset will have a tremendous positive impact on your life.
Many never achieve their goals simply because they are never completely sure of what they want, or they set unrealistic goals. In order to manifest desires, you must be crystal clear on exactly what it is that you want, and every detail associated with attaining that desire. Ask yourself right now: Once you manifest what you want, what would it look like in your life? What will it feel like? How will it change your lifestyle? How will it affect decisions you make? Be specific. Once you do this, write it into existence. Write out exactly what you want to achieve as if it has already happened. Your unconscious mind does not differentiate between dream and reality. It’s cliché, but you have to actually believe in yourself.
Have a plan, timeline, and a roadmap. When we set deadlines without a schedule or plan, it’s a first step toward another missed goal. Set a schedule to operate rather than a deadline to perform. Choose a goal that is important to you and then set a schedule to work towards it consistently. Productive and successful people practice what’s important to them on a deliberate and consistent basis.
Think of your favorite athlete, Olympian or musician. For them, it’s not just about the performance, it’s about the continual practice. Baby steps. Focus on the action, rather than achieving “X” goal by a certain date. If you want to accomplish things on a consistent basis, then give yourself a schedule to follow, not a deadline to race toward.
Winners and losers start out with the same initial goal to win. The goal in any sport is to end the game with the best score, but it would be ridiculous to spend the whole game staring at the scoreboard. To win you must get better each day. The score takes care of itself. The same is true for other areas of life. If you want better results, focus on making continuous small improvements and progress.
Finally, don’t sell yourself short. We’ve all muttered the words, “Once I reach my goal, then I’ll be happy.” The problem with this is that you’re continually putting happiness off until the next milestone. Happiness is not a fish you can catch, and it certainly isn’t something for only your future self to enjoy. Find your passion in the pursuit of your goals. It’s unlikely that your path in life will match the exact journey you had in mind. It makes no sense to restrict your satisfaction to one scenario when there are many paths.
Setting goals are the place markers. It’s a cycle of endless refinement, progress and continuous improvement. Ultimately, it is your commitment to the process that will determine your progress and make you a better you. Remember that success is not just an event, it’s a journey.