Setting Realistic, Achievable Goals
When it comes to setting realistic, achievable goals, there’s definitely a system involved. Once I gained a clear understanding of how goals should be set and what they could do for me, I studied everything I could find on the subject. I went so far as to draft up a document that looked like a legal agreement to write my goals on, called it my Proposal and Agreement. I would fill out the form, “approve the paperwork,” and read my list of goals every morning and night. Once a goal was completed, I would write the word “Completed” and the date across the document in red ink. Then, I would put the document into a binder for safekeeping. Whenever I had a down day, I would pull out that binder and review all the goals I’d already accomplished. Seeing those documents always gave me a mental and emotional lift. They also reminded me of what happens when you stay focused.
You are welcome to download my Proposal & Agreement form here: http://www.tomhopkins.com/pdf/ProposalandAgreement.pdf
Read through it. Then, take your goal setting practices seriously. Goals aren’t meant to be a glorified “to do” list. They’re way more than that. However, once your goals are set, you will find yourself adding items to your daily “to do” list that help you move toward the achievement of those goals.
Why are goals important
Goals help you to discipline yourself to achieve those things that you desire. Desire, without discipline, leads to disappointment, disillusionment, and depression. And no one wants to go there. So, let’s talk about setting those achievable goals.
There are two types of goals: 1. Short term – no longer than 90 days, and 2. Long term – starting with 20-year goals then breaking those goals down to 10-year, 5-year, and one-year goals that are stepping stones to your large goals.
I discovered several criteria for setting achievable goals. I’m happy to share them with you here. Your goals must be:
- Better than your best, but believable. If you can’t even imagine achieving them, you won’t take the steps necessary to do so.
- Worth committing to. Don’t set a goal for something frivolous just to set a goal. You ARE going to commit time to achieving them so make it worth your time.
- Clearly defined. Don’t write that you’ll buy a new car with cash. Write out a detailed description of the car including make, model, color, and any other option you want.
- Vividly imagined. If you can’t close your eyes and see, hear, feel, smell, and taste the object of your goals, keep writing until you can. Be so descriptive that another person could read the description and know exactly what you’re talking about.
- Ardently desired. I happen to love that word “ardently.” It’s about having an intense passion for your goals. You don’t just “want” them. You “have to have” them.
- In writing.
Set goals for what you want to be, do, and have in your life. Give this some serious thought–perhaps a couple of hours the first time you do it. Or, let the ideas percolate for a couple of days before starting to write. Just be sure to do it.
What else to consider when setting goals
Another important element to setting realistic, achievable goals is that they’re your goals, not goals that others tell you that you should have. If everyone else you know says owning a Mercedes is the ideal car to have as a goal, but you prefer Jaguars, don’t let them influence you. You won’t work hard for goals that aren’t your own.
I highly recommend that you set goals in at least four areas of your life for starters:
- Financial independence – this would be a specific net worth amount.
- Emotional stability – this is about understanding what makes you happy and gives you a sense of mental strength.
- Physical fitness – there’s no sense in achieving in other areas of your life and losing your health along the way.
- Spiritual fulfillment – if what you believe in doesn’t matter, it doesn’t matter what you believe in. I’m not saying that you must be religious. Just understand that we are spiritual beings and feeding that spirituality is important to living a life of balance.
Once you have your goals set, plan your days around their achievement. Review them at least once every morning when you rise, and every evening before going to sleep. Use them to set the stage for how you’ll live each day.
Authored by Tom Hopkins