Goal Setting is a Powerful Tool!!!
Do you make resolutions at the beginning of every year? Well, we all love to set goal and objectives for the upcoming year and if done right, goal setting can help you take your personal success to the next level.
However, the key here is once you start with goal setting, you have to work harder to make your dreams come true.
Do You Win at New Year’s Resolutions?
58% of Australians reveal that they broke their resolutions for 2016. Interestingly, 15% of the participants backed out in just three months while the remaining had fallen off track by the end of September. When unsuccessful participants were questioned, one in four answered that they failed to keep track of their progress.
What’s more interesting is that 15% stated that they forgot about their New Year Promise completely.
The Proper How To's of Goal Setting
"The key here is once you start with goal setting, you have to work harder to make your dreams come true..."
If You Want Success, You Need to Have an Action Plan!
Goal setting can give best results. However, studies show that goal setting is effective only when you have an action plan and set measurable and practical goals for yourself.
Why do people break their resolutions? Well:
- 25% don’t keep track of their progress
- 22% make too many resolutions
- 15% forget about it completely
- 12% set goals that are too unrealistic
- 26% have other reasons
We all know that goal setting is important. Your brain is continuously finding ways to solve the most basic problems such as finding food, saving money and there’s temptation to set the most incredible goals.
Simply put, you cannot avoid goal setting but you need to set measurable goals. Make sure you define your objectives in practical, pragmatic terms.
You also need to identify the resources and time you need to invest to achieve the goals you have set for yourself.
It’s not surprising that you cannot set measurable goals unless you know where you want to go and how you’ll get there.
Having an action plan can help you see multiple dimensions of a problem and then sort it them pretty quickly.
Studies also suggest that preparing a short map or goal setting plan creates a vivid picture for your subconscious mind which then helps your brain solve problems and steer you towards success.
Use the SMART Goal Setting System
When it comes to achieving your goals successfully, you should define each goal so that it meets the SMART criteria.
Make sure your goals are:
S – Smart
M – Measurable
A – Achievable
R – Realistic
T – Timely
Let’s say you want to save more money this year. Instead of writing “I want to save a lot of money,” specify “I want to save $10,000” by the end of December.
A goal needs to be as specific as possible because you can work towards finally achieving it.
Remember, saving money is too vague – you need to specify the amount you want to save and how you can achieve it.
Check this out:
Work Your Way with Short-term Goals
It is important that your goals are framed in such a way that you can measure your progress easily.
As stated earlier, your brain is continuously solving problems but it has trouble focusing more than 3 months in advance.
Monica Mehta explains the important role of brain chemistry in goal setting in her book ‘The Entrepreneurial Instinct.’ Monica believes successful goal setting is not just about hard work and discipline.
It’s about your brain function and how your brain processes information.
Studies show that when you succeed at something or achieve a goal, your brain releases dopamine, a special brain chemical that stimulates the reward center.
When dopamine levels increase in your brain, you have better concentration and you are more focused to re-experience the task that caused dopamine to release in the first place.
So when you are setting goals for the win, make sure you set only few short-term goals at a time.
Not to forget, the goals should be specific and practical and more importantly, incorporate your strengths.
Setting overambitious goals or too many objectives at once increases your chances of failure and this isn’t good.
What’s worse is that failure decreases the production of dopamine and this is counterproductive for goal setting.
If you set 5 long-term goals and even achieve 3 of them, your brain will only focus on what went wrong and what you weren’t able to accomplish.
Big Goals are Good, SMART Short-term Goals are even better
Big, long-term goals are good – they give you motivation to work towards something. But SMART short-term goals are better.
Remember that long-term goals take more time and they obviously tend to be complicated, challenging and require patience and persistence.
It’s quite common for people to get frustrated when things are not working out or the goal takes longer than they were expecting to achieve.
Frustration and disappointment is one of the biggest reasons people give up long-term goals half-way.
Breaking your goals into smaller, bite sized chunks not only helps you achieve them quickly, but you remain positive and motivated throughout the entire process.
More importantly, the more items you check of your short-term goal setting checklist, the higher will be dopamine levels that would then fuel you to get more done.
Should I be writing down My Goals?
If your goals aren’t measurable and realistic, you would never know when you reach it.
Whether it is losing weight or saving money, setting practical, measurable goals will be the “key” to achieving it.
Writing down your goals and tracking your progress can help you get closer to your target.
As you continue to cross out items on your to-do list, you will build momentum and your excitement will keep you motivated towards your overall goal.
Sadly most people don’t have clear goals to work toward. If you don’t know where you are going or what you want to achieve, how can you make goal setting more effective.
A study conducted at Dominican University shows that people who write down their goals are able to achieve them more successful than those who did not write down their objectives.
If you don’t want to maintain a goal journal, you can use more convenient online tools to track your progress and keep your goal setting on track.
When you see yourself reaching the goal, you will be motivated to push even harder and this would make even the most difficult tasks look fairly simple.
Whether you write down your goals or type them, they very act of recording and tracking your progress allows you to build on your momentum.
Conclusion: Believe You Can Do It!
You can use goal setting for all sorts of things: saving more money, losing weight, eating healthy, buying a new car, keeping track of your college assignment and even in a professional setting when dealing with highly complicated projects and strict deadlines.
The bottom line is that it is easy to make goals, but it is difficult to make them true.
However, with SMART goals and effective action plans, you can reach your goals with greater confidence and of course, a higher chance of success.