Goal Setting 101

What you get by achieving your goals is not as important as what you become by achieving your goals.
— Zig Ziglar

Today we can help you become a master in achieving your personal goals! Here's how:

Setting and achieving your goals can help boost your overall happiness and leave you feeling empowered to go after bigger and better challenges.

First off, why are setting goals so important?

The same reasons why airplanes and ships use compasses; they help map out a destination.  

Second, how does setting and achieving our goals contribute to our personal wellness?

Simple, it makes you feel happy. Setting constructive goals is a proactive practice in transforming dreams into reality.  It’s a solid first step in the process of attainment.  When you physically write your goals down, it helps spark a commitment.  Vast research in positive psychology has proven that goal setting is beneficiary in helping to maintain a happier, healthier life. Dopamine is released every time we experience the reward of checking off a goal, no matter how big or how small that goal may be. This motivates our brain to continue striving for new successes. 

In addition, understanding our goals helps us set coordinates and reference points during our quest, helping us feel grounded along the way.  Ultimately, It’s easier to get to your destination when you simply know where you’re going.

Third, there’s a vast distinction between a daydream and a goal.

A goal is defined as "the object of person’s ambition or effort; an aim or desired result".

Key words: ambition and effort. While day dreams can be a helpful way to peer into your subconscious and conscious desires, setting goals is a constructive and efficient way to tackle your ambitions.

Fourth, don’t set uninspiring goals.

Okay yes, there are plenty of small goals that should be your list.  Some could be as simple as making the bed every morning.  However, when it comes to larger goals, try to think bigger and bolder. Think of ways to phrase your goals, that fills you with the utmost excitement to achieve them. Writing inspiring goals is all about a shift in perception.  Some of your goals can be long, arduous journeys that will be easy to abandon or even worse, give up on.

How do we combat this and stick to our intended goals?  By simply having a realistic but challenging goal in mind. 

Goal: Get in shape 

An excellent goal but it sounds very boring and uninspiring. By being specific and ambitious, you will suddenly start to feel more of an attachment to actively pursuing whatever you have your sights set on. 

Goal: Get in shape to compete in this year's Spartan Race!

Now we have an inspiring goal that would make almost anyone thrilled to take part in.

Here's another example:

Goal: Make a $1,000,000 in revenue for my company.

Again, very ambitious goal but a very boring one.  Raise the standards of your goal and you may be surprised to find that your actions to attain your goal may be raised as well.

Better Goal: Land a spot in Inc’s 5000 fastest growing privately held businesses.

Now were talking! This change in the way we phrase our goals can make all the difference in the world.

Goal: Donate to charity

Yawn. A formidable goal but very cliche.

Better Goal: Raise 10k through kickstarter, community members and other promotional efforts to help raise awareness for MS. 

Fifth, break down your goals by creating subtasks for each goal.

Goal: Save extra money towards the down payment of my dream home.

Subtasks for this particular goal may go something like this:

A. read the top books on financial literacy. 

B. Roll savings into a high yield savings account through Goldman Sachs. 

C. Bring leftovers to work and save extra money. 

D. Begin researching homes in desirable areas.

E. Attend open houses on weekends.

F. Apply for a part time job to help contribute towards down payment.

Finally, it's important and motivating that we are able to measure our progress. Dedicate a journal for writing and rewriting your goals. Take it a step further and spend a few minutes each day to write down what you did that day to help get closer to completing your goals.

The process in itself is rewarding enough to keep you on track until that incredible day rolls around when you can finally check the box and be proud of what you were able to accomplish.  And remember, sometimes it's not even about completing a goal but rather the person you can become in order to attain it.

Erica Kirkwood