The psychology of setting goals is relatively complicated and in-depth – even at the most basic level. Fortunately even if we don’t ever understand why and how goals are SO POWERFUL… we don’t really ever need to. We just need to set goals and do what it takes to achieve them!
So let’s start at the beginning: You will need the appropriate tools and resources to set the goals and to ensure that you follow through on them.
Let’s look at the basic psychology to start.
When we set goals, we are establishing a process in which we must work through. There is a beginning for the goal, just as there is an ending.
Many individuals will take tidbits of information that they hear or see and implement it into their own goals.
This is where many elements fail.
We cannot just stick bits and pieces of information where we feel is most appropriate, we must follow the complete goal setting process from the time we set the goal until we achieve that goal.
I would like to illustrate this point for you. Let’s say that your grandmother bakes the most delicious apple pies that you have ever known. One day, your grandmother provides you with a recipe to that mouth watering apple pie. You now know what ingredients that she puts into the recipe, as well as the steps that are necessary to make the famous pie yourself.
Well, you will need to go purchase the ingredients, then, mix them as they should be mixed, and follow all the instructions on the recipe in order for it to be successful, right?
Setting Goals is a Process
Of course! This is a process. In order to set goals, and achieve them, you must follow the recipe for success.
The goal setting process is a direction. It takes many different roads and landmarks out for you so that it is easy to travel on the road to success and reach your destination.
In this aspect, it is almost like a map. Maps outline the roads that allow us to come from one place to get to another place. If you elect to take a different path, we may find that it takes longer to reach our destination – if we reach it at all.
The process is just like this. Certain roads and landmarks must be experienced so that we know that we are still on the path to personal growth and achievement. When we experiment with goal setting techniques, there are two things that we should keep in mind.
The first is that we remain flexible on our path to success.
The next thing that we should remember is that we should not place all of our focus on the process of goal setting in itself. We must always keep our eye on the actual goal that we are attempting to achieve.
The following details an effective process that can be used for any goal, for any purpose:
- – Evaluation in a reflective manner.
- – Dreaming as big as you want to dream.
- – Using the S.M.A.R.T formula for setting goals.
- – Action which includes implementing the process, and holding yourself accountable.
- – Evaluate once more in a reflective manner.
In the evaluation stage of the goal model that we use here, it is important to take the time to consider where you have been in life, and consider the things that you have learned there. This will help you to determine where it is that you need to go. This is more less a personal realization of where you are starting out at on the road to success. You should also reflect on any thoughts, people, or things in your life that are holding you back. It is important to ensure that you address this step at the beginning of the goal setting stage.
In the dream stage of the process, it is important to think or dream BIG. You should also ensure that you think and dream in a positive way. Thoughts create the feelings that you have. Eventually, the feelings that you experience create behaviors. In turn, the behaviors that you have will lead to actions. It is these actions that bring forth results. If you start with a positive attitude on your dreams, you will experience positive results. If you start with negative thoughts, the results will also be negative.
The S.M.A.R.T Formula
– S – Creating Specific Goals
– M – Making Sure Goals Are Measurable
– A – Attainable
– R – Realistic
– T – Timely
Action and Accountability
As you are setting your goals, and move through the process, it is important to ensure that you hold yourself accountable for those goals. This is where action and accountability come into play. When you are setting new goals, it is important to come back around and evaluate where you are in conjunction to where you have been. This will determine if any adjustments need to be made.
Learning to set goals is a great way to be successful in whatever you want to achieve in life whether it be financial, fitness, diet, and more… BUT it is crucial you have the motivation to see them through.
A study of Yale graduates found that only about 3% of students had planned out goals for their future. 20 years later, they found that those 3% of individuals had more wealth than all the other 97% of students COMBINED! Can you see how important goal setting and motivations are?
I like creating weekly goals. Sitting down at the beginning of the week (usually Sunday) I will plan out all of my goals for the week. I know on Thursdays and Fridays I have very concrete goals for my websites, which is to create new content for readers like you.
Having a schedule holds you accountable for your actions. Put the most important tasks at the top of your list for each day. You should have one ultimate goal to complete each day. You should not go to bed unless that goal is accomplished.
Take your goals seriously and make sure to reward yourself at the end of the week for accomplishing them all. This will help keep you motivated to continue working on whatever it is that you need to complete.
Goal setting and finding motivation are not easy, but they work together. By setting goals and accomplishing them, you motivate yourself to complete even bigger and better goals.
If you are interested in setting goals and learning how to go about the process I recommend picking up either of ther following books, The Magic Lamp: Goal Setting for People Who Hate Setting Goals or Goal Setting: How to Create an Action Plan and Achieve Your Goals. Both books offer great strategies in how to go about taking goal setting seriously and get yourself motivated.
What are you waiting for? Take control of your life now!