4 Tips For Making Goal Setting Work For You

Whether you're highly motivated by the idea of travelling the world and seeing all sorts of beautiful landmarks in person, or whether you spend your free time daydreaming about being able to perform some fitness feat such as doing the splits, it's natural for everyone to have certain goals and aspirations in life.

The concept of goal setting has been around for a long time, and even despite the fact that there's now a bit of a movement against conventional goal setting in parts of the self improvement world, it remains the case that we're all motivated by goals, moment by moment.

Even if you don't have any particularly ambitious or clearly defined goals that you're working towards, something as simple as the desire to get your car washed or to go out and buy groceries constitutes a “goal.”

A lot of the real change and magic in life tends to happen when, instead of just following these kinds of “default goals,” we begin to set intentional and bold goals that motivate us deeply and open up doors of possibility.

Here are a few tips for effectively setting and achieving goals.

Begin by brainstorming what you want in different areas of your life, and then set rough timelines

One area where people commonly go wrong when it comes to goal setting, is by setting themselves goals that they don't personally much care about or believe in, but which are common “general” goals that are advocated by others.

Maybe, for example, you really don't care about having a big house and don't find the idea of living in a big house motivating. So, to set yourself the goal of “owning a big house” just because you read it in a list of aspirational goals, in some self help book, isn't likely to do you a lot of good.

Your goals always need to be very personal, and the best way to start the goal setting process is to begin brainstorming exactly what it is you want in different areas of your life.

Start with a blank sheet of paper, and just write out everything you can think of. At this stage, don't concern yourself with whether or not a goal or wish you're writing down is “realistic.” Just write it all down.

Then, check that you've got at least a few key goals for the key categories in your life. Including things like family, career, social life, and leisure.

Then, begin by assigning some kind of a “timeline” to each of the goals you have listed down.

At this point, the goals themselves — and the timelines — shouldn't be overly specific. Instead of setting yourself a goal along the lines of “I will weigh 155lbs by January 10th, at 3.00pm…” write something more like “lean and toned body, 1 year.”

Doing things this way — particularly initially — keeps you from getting overwhelmed or bogged down, and helps you to get a clear big-picture sense of what you're after.

Continually research and reflect on your core goals on a daily basis

As you set about pursuing your goals, you will naturally need to dedicate more and more focus and attention to those goals — and you will simultaneously need to research them in greater and greater detail.

Perhaps you've got a particular business venture in mind that would require commercial printers, and a print manufacturing campaign. In that case, learning about things like Kodak commercial printers in detail will prove to be invaluable.

Actually setting a goal is just the first part of the overall journey and equation. To actually achieve the goal, you need to concentrate your focus and your energies, and you need to continually research, reflect on, and act to pursue your goals, day by day.

Develop a regular practice of visualisation and mental exercises, to boost and support your sense of possibility

Throughout history, there are a huge number of different stories and examples of people defying all the odds and accomplishing great things, due to an unwavering sense of belief and tenacity.

All of us can also probably think of situations where we should have been able to achieve something on paper, but just lacked confidence and self belief, and so dropped the ball or didn't live up to our potential.

Having a motivating and ambitious goal is one thing, but believing that it's possible for you to actually achieve that goal is something else altogether. As a general rule, if you're unable to believe that you can achieve your goal, it's extremely unlikely that you'll actually find yourself being able to do so.

Whenever you're pursuing any kind of a goal, you should be sure to establish a regular practice of visualisation and other mental exercises, to boost and support your sense of possibility.

If you have a sinking feeling in your gut that you can't achieve something, one of the most potent things you can do is to begin questioning and picking that doubt about in your own mind.

Ask yourself questions like “why do I feel like I can't achieve this? Has anyone like me ever achieved this? Are there times in my life where I've exceeded my own expectations? What's some evidence that I actually could achieve this?” And so on.

Building up your sense of self belief and potential in this way can have dramatic effects on your ability to be successful and optimistic.

Support your goals with daily habits and routines, in addition to intermediate targets

A goal is, in most cases, a fairly “big picture” aspiration — and many goals will be somewhat long term, usually at least a year from the point at which you set them.

In order to stay on track on an everyday basis, you need to support your goals with daily habits that consistently move you in the right direction, in addition to intermediate targets that act as “checkpoints” along the way.

Using a daily habit tracker could be helpful here.

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