Goals are something we all have, but only a select few seem good at consistently achieving them. Most people seem to have a great deal of trouble reaching goals, even when they start the journey feeling excited and motivated.
If you’re able to push through to the end to reach your big and small goals, it’s time to change up your strategy. Below, we’ll discuss some little-known wisdom about goal setting and goal achievement to get you back on track and accomplish any goal on your list.
How Goal Setting Impacts Our Lives
“What you get by achieving your goals is not as important as what you become by achieving your goals.” –Zig Ziglar
Goal setting is linked to higher achievement.
This is due to several factors, including the ability of goal setting to help us:
- Become more resourceful
- Work better in a team
- Shape the future
Having definite goals means the difference between knowing your destination or just drifting aimlessly over the sea.
In my experience, I’ve seen a clear pattern: People who regularly set goals regularly achieve success. I believe their mindset plays a big part in this. In most cases, this is usually energized by change and innovation, as well as being comfortable with risk-taking while reaching goals.
Just think for a moment about some successful people, such as Kamala Harris, Roger Federer, and Oprah Winfrey. These high-achievers all used goal-setting to help them realize their dreams.
One of the best ways to set goals is to always write them down — either in your journal, on a card that you can keep in your wallet or purse, or within a digital notepad. When you do this, you immediately transform your ideas from just being wishful thinking into concrete first steps.
The effectiveness of writing down goals is actually backed by research. In 2015, psychologist Gail Matthews showed that people who wrote down their goals were 33% more successful in achieving them, versus those who just kept ideas in their heads.
What Defines Us?
What exactly defines who you are, and how do your goals fit into this picture?
To help you answer these questions and start reaching goals, it’s important to have a basic understanding of values.
To start, goals should be based on your core principles and values. For example, if you care deeply about the planet, then your goals should be aligned to sustainable and environmentally-friendly practices.
Values are your own personal ethical and moral beliefs. However, be aware that some of these beliefs may change over time, while others will stay steadfast throughout your life.
Values represent what we stand for and believe in, how we want to relate to others, and the legacy we would like to leave behind. This means that they should be one of the first sources of reference for the goals that we set.
Values-based goals guide us towards what is important versus unimportant. In other words, when our goals are aligned with our values, we can immediately decide which really matter. Goals that are based in our values will provide endless motivation, because we believe in them and want to see them play out.
When your goals match your beliefs and values, you’ll find it much easier (and much more enjoyable) to attain them. In fact, in most cases, you won’t even feel like you have to work towards these goals—they’ll just be part of what you love doing.
Why We Sometimes Fail
Let’s now talk about why you might not be currently reaching goals on your list and some of the best ways to change this.
Goals and Values Don’t Align
First, if your goals don’t honor your values, then this will make it much harder for you to achieve them. This might happen if you’re pursuing goals on behalf of someone else, such as a teacher, parent, or partner. Or perhaps it’s a goal that society deems worthwhile and noble, but one that you personally disagree with.
Wants Vs. Needs
Another issue that might be causing you to fail to reach your goals is that you’re more interested in your wants than your needs. For instance, you want to save up to buy a shiny, new sports car, but you also need to pay off your student loans.
Things we want usually trump what we need, and this can play havoc with your goal setting. To remedy this, spend time observing yourself and your life to clearly identify your needs. Then, prioritize these over your wants.
Think about the size of your goals. If they’re too big, then it may be difficult, or even impossible, to start reaching goals consistently. Ambition is good, but at the same time, you shouldn’t set unrealistic goals.
For example, if you want to become a best-selling author, you can’t just write a book and submit it — there needs to be lots of mini goals that get checked off before that, such as honing your writing, researching how to get published, outlining your story, contacting publishers, etc.
If your goals are unrealistic, it can push you to procrastinate on them. If you find procrastination is already plaguing your plans, check out Lifehack’s Fast Track Class – No More Procrastination.
Poor Time Management
If your time is not well-organized, then it will be next to impossible to reach your big goals.
If you don’t think time management is an issue for you, then let me ask you this: How much time do you spend each day on social media? If it’s more than you’d like, then you’ll need to make some changes to your daily routine if you’re serious about ramping up your success.
The following article is a great place to start: 20 Quick Time Management Tips to Super Boost Your Productivity
How to Visualize Your Goals
An article about visualization on HuffPost states the following:
“When we visualize our desired outcome, we begin to ‘see’ the possibility of achieving it. Through visualization, we catch a glimpse of what is, in the words of one writer, our ‘preferred future.’ When this happens, we are motivated and prepared to pursue our goal.”
While I agree 100% with the above, I want to make it clear to you that visualization should not be confused with the “think it and have it” mentality. This is just wishful thinking and won’t help you on your path to reaching goals.
Genuine visualization recognizes the need for action on your part. However,, it’s certainly true that before you can believe in a goal, you must see it before you can believe in it.
To give you an example of this, think about the last time you had a craving for a hot apple pie with custard or a delicious ice cream waffle. When the craving came, you didn’t only recall the taste and texture of the food, but you would have also seen a vivid image of the food in your mind.
In other words, before you could choose, find, and eat the food, you would have had to see it first on your mind’s screen.
Vision Goal Setting
When it comes to bigger goals, I recommend following a technique called Vision Goal Setting (VGS for short). The way this works is that you search for a dream based on your passions and inspirations.
Once you’ve decided on the dream or goal you want to follow, you build a crystal clear vision of where and what you would be doing in 5, 10, 15, and even 20 years into the future.
By spending time creating these images, you’ll give yourself deliberate steps to take towards achieving your ultimate career goal. VGS will increase your motivation and commitment to your goal, as well as streamline the necessary planning, preparation, and action.
The Bottom Line
If you find that you have trouble reaching goals and staying motivated, the above suggestions can help. When it comes down to it, it’s about creating a goal you care about and laying out a plan to get it done.
Start with just one of the tips above, and you’ll be well on your way to making goal setting and goal achievement a natural part of your life. Start with just one of the tips above, and you’ll be well on your way to making goal setting and goal achievement a natural part of your life. Set your sights on short term and long term personal goals, and get started with an action plan today.
More on Reaching Goals
- 8 Simple and Effective Ways to Start Reaching Goals Today
- How to Set Goals and Achieve Them Successfully
- 7 Best Goal Tracking Apps to Help You Reach Your Goals
Featured photo credit: Marten Bjork via unsplash.com
|||^||Psychology Today: Goal-Setting Is Linked to Higher Achievement|
|||^||Dominican University of California: Study Focuses on Strategies for Achieving Goals, Resolutions|
|||^||HuffPost: How to Use Visualization to Achieve Your Goals|