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Published on February 18, 2020

How To Set Strategic Goals For A Successful Life

How To Set Strategic Goals For A Successful Life

There are different types of goals that you can set in your quest to become successful in life. However, when it comes to taking a leap, changing status, identifying opportunities, maximizing possibilities, and surmounting obstacles, Strategic goals are the kinds of goals that can take care of everything in the bottleneck and help you move from your current state to wherever you desire to be.

Strategic goals produce strategic results and these include attaining positive change and repositioning of your life and status, gaining competitive advantage, achieving optimum performance, and living a balanced life, etc.

In this article, I will share some insight into the thought process that leads to setting strategic goals, and how you can develop and make use of strategic goals to boost the key areas of your life. You will also find specific examples of strategic goals for your personal development.

What are Strategic Goals?

Strategic goals are specific objectives and results that you as an individual aims to achieve over a period of time, usually three to five years [1]. They are long term in nature and often emerge when you engage strategic thinking or undertake a strategic planning process.

Perhaps, what differentiate setting strategic goals from other types of goals is that they are based on strategic response to some identified opportunities or challenges. When you want to make a new move or make major changes in your life, what you need are strategic goals.

How to Plan for Strategic Goals

In the strategic planning process, Environmental scan and SWOT analysis are two important tools you can utilize in your evaluation. Although these tools are primarily used in business, they can be applied to your personal situation as well and will be very helpful to you in setting your strategic goals for success.

Environmental Scan

Environmental scanning is an ongoing tracking of trends and occurrences in an organization’s internal and external environment that bear on its success, currently and in the future [2].

The results of this scanning are said to be extremely useful in shaping goals and strategies.

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As an individual, internal and external situations affects your success and future too and you need to track them to be succesful. Your internal factors include your strengths and weakness. You have control over these two and you can utilize, manage or improve on them for your own success.

Brian Tracy highlighted 9 factors that can influence your personal success, they include education, skill, contacts, money, good work habits, positive mental attitude, positive image, creativity, and character.[3]

Other factors that can affect your success also include market trends, economic outlook of the country you live in, government policies, advancement in technology, family situation, social influence, etc.

You need to study these factors and review how they impact your success and progress positively or negatively.

Personal SWOT Analysis

The SWOT acronym stand for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats.

Maximizing your talents and opportunities and managing your weaknesses and threats can boost your success rate in life. The personal SWOT analysis will help in ordering your thinking and give you different perspectives about your life. It will also help you to identify areas where you need development.

How to Set Strategic Goals

When you have identified the areas mentioned in the previous section, you will then be able to set strategic goals towards making the needed changes.

Identify Strategic Issues for Strategic Goals Setting

Strategic issues are issues that their presence or absence can contribute to your success or failure, or are capable of affecting a needed change in your life. When you carry out an environmental scan and SWOT analysis, you will be able to identify strategic issues and goals towards the end of the process.

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These issues and goals usually come from strengths to be built on, weaknesses to be strengthened, opportunities to be taken, and threats to be avoided.[4]

Clarify Strategic Priorities to Set Strategic Goals

From your analysis, there is the likelihood that many issues will come up. Also, you might find that some of the problems are urgent, while some are important. Therefore, to be able to come up with more definite strategic goals, it is better to focus on the important issues.

These important issues will represent your strategic priorities. When you know what your priorities are, you will be able to set your goals based on those priorities and create strategies based on your priorities.

Examples of Strategic Goals for Personal Development

To illustrate examples of strategic goals for personal development, I will assume that you have taken the environmental scan and SWOT analysis, and you have also been able to identify the issues of importance due to the gaps you have found and what you need to get to the next stage of your life. These have now become your top strategic priorities, say over the next three to five years.

For example, your strategic priorities for your personal development for the next three to five years can be the following and they can be turned to strategic goals:

  • Develop Self-Confidence
  • Boost Personal Image
  • Advance in Education
  • Acquire More Skills
  • Achieve Work-Life Balance

1. Develop Self Confidence

Whatever it is that you do, exuding self-confidence is crucial to your personal success. Having self-confidence can help you perform to your highest potential as it gives you the energy and confidence to take action. It will help you to influence others as you become attractive and noticeable. It can also earn you a promotion at work.

Plus, you’ll be more positive and make better decisions. Other than that, you will be more productive and be happier.

The lack of self-confidence can bring apathy. You will be unable to take the necessary actions that can lead to your success thus missing out on great opportunities.

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If you have identified a lack of self-confidence, you can set a strategic goal to boost your confidence through daily personal affirmations, reading books on personal development, relating more with people who exude confidence, attempting the things that often scare you, and probably also taking the 100 days challenge .

2. Boost Personal Image

Like self-confidence, the way you appear to other people says a lot about you and your chances of success. Paying attention to personal grooming; how you look and what you wear can boost your personal image and open more doors of opportunities for you. There are specific ways to dress for success. You can achieve this and still be on a budget.

Besides dressing, you will also need to learn other attributes like wearing a warm smile when meeting people, giving a firm handshake, practice good walking steps, carriage etc. All of this will say much about your self-image. When you consciously develop this habit over an extended period of time, it becomes part and parcel of you.

3. Enroll for Professional Masters Degree or Doctorate

There is no end to learning and education is key to success at any stage in life. No matter how confident you are, there are some opportunities you will never able to access if you do not have the required academic qualifications.

In your analysis, you might have identified some opportunities in your industry which you have not been able to access as a result of lack of qualification. It may also be that you sense that some new opportunities are emerging in your industry and the technical skills are not readily available. It could be your strategic goal to take an advanced study in that area so that you would have gotten the requirements by the time such an opportunity presents itself.

A woman once took a study leave at her place of work to earn a doctorate in a reputable institution. She had sensed that there would be an opening in a tenure-based office in her organization and she was interested in that position. She got her degree around the same time the office became vacant. She applied and got the job.

What a strategy! It may not work out for everyone like that but in her own case, it did.

4. Acquire More Skills, Develop Existing Ones

Skills are one of the most important assets that determine success in life. Skill-gaps limit growth, productivity, and opportunities. If you have identified skill-gap in your analysis, it’s about time to set strategic goals to acquire or develop those skills.

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Some of the skills you’ll probably need most are problem-solving skills, creative thinking skills, management and leadership skills, IT skills, and communication skills. Acquiring and developing any of these skills will require some training, reading, learning, and conscious practice.

5. Achieve Work-Life Balance

One of the markers of a successful life is balance. Attaining work-life balance in this ever busy world would definitely require some strategic planning which revolves around time management.

You have to allocate time and resources to every important aspect of your life: work, family, health, social life, spiritual life, etc and stick to your schedules as much as possible. This can be a long time strategic goal to work your way through such that in the next three to five years, you can confidently say that no aspect of your life is suffering a result of the other.

The Bottom Line

Climbing the success ladder in life requires strategies. In order to make strategic moves, you might have to carry out an environmental scan and SWOT analysis to identify your potentials and limitations and also identify the opportunities around you.

This analysis will open you up to issues in your life that require attention in order to become more successful. You will then be able to set your strategic priorities based on the issues you think are most important to you.

This then forms the basis for your strategic goals which you can set to achieve over the next three to five years.

Featured photo credit: Estée Janssens via unsplash.com

Reference

More by this author

Leon Ho

Founder & CEO of Lifehack

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Last Updated on May 28, 2020

9 Things Successful People Do To Always Get What They Want

9 Things Successful People Do To Always Get What They Want

One of the best decisions I’ve ever made was to take on the job of hosting my own weekly radio show. My radio show is about finding some of the most successful people in the world and bringing them on my show to ask them about what they did to become so successful in life and business.

In this article, I’m going to share with you some of the key takeaways I’ve picked up from talking to – and reading about – thought leaders from various fields about the things successful people do. Here, you can get some insights on how to get what you want.

Ready to dive in? Let’s go.

1. They Know What They Want

The first and most important thing that successful people do to always get what they want is so simple that most people forget about it: they figure out what they actually want.

When you know what you want, you will also know how to get what you want. If you’re unsure about what you want in life and business, I’d suggest picking up some career and self-improvement books to help you gain some clarity and focus.

2. They Are Assertive

Successful people know that they need to be both bold and sincere. Balancing these two characteristics is the essence of assertiveness.

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Oh, and by the way – being assertive is not a natural talent someone is born with. Assertiveness is a learned skill and anyone can do it, including you!

3. They Learn

You may have heard of the old saying, “great leaders are readers”. For the most part, I’d say this is true.

Let me give you an example. On my radio show, I regularly ask successful people about their habits that lead to success. Do you want to know something really neat? Every single one of them reads books.

Successful people read and learn as much as they can about what they want so that they can get what they want. If you’re curious about how to get what you want, then start reading a book. If you’re low on time, subscribe to a book summary site to get the core concepts of the books in your industry quickly.

4. They Make Things Meaningful

One of the most powerful things successful people do to always get what they want is that they make things meaningful. That is, they ensure that whatever endeavor they decide to embark upon is meaningful to them (and not necessarily to anyone else). They know and understand that it’s only worth it if it matters.

5. They Ask

One big thing that successful people always do to get what they want is this: they ask.

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Most people are too shy to ask for what they really want. If you are too shy to ask, you may never know how to get what you want. So, don’t be like most people.

Here’s an exercise you can do to get over it: next time you’re buying something, regardless of what it is, ask for a discount. Just do it. The worst-case scenario is that you’ll get a chuckle from the Barrista at Starbucks. The best-case scenario is that you’ll get comfortable with negotiating when it’s time to buy your next car.

6. They Take Action

Insight without action is useless. Successful people know that to always get what they want, they’ve got to take massive action.

One of the most powerful exercises I’ve ever discovered is this: never leave the sight of a goal without taking some kind of action towards its achievement. In other words, as soon as you decide you want something or as soon as you set a goal of some kind, do something – anything – that shifts you closer towards getting it.

7. They Use Their Time Wisely

Have you ever heard of NET time? It stands for “No Extra Time”.

For example: when you’re driving and sitting in traffic, are you listening to Mylie Cyrus? Or are you listening to an audiobook?

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Successful people take NET time seriously. Get yourself some audiobook so you can start listening to the best business and self-improvement books available – all while you’re on your way to work in the morning.

8. They Choose to Lead

You don’t need to have formal authority to become a leader. You just need to choose yourself. All successful people know this, and so should you. Knowing how to get what you want requires knowing how to lead the way for others and yourself.

Don’t wait for anyone else to do it, because the truth is that most people want to be led anyway. So, just step up and claim authority. Be the leader you wish you always had.

9. They Contribute

Successful people know that to get what they want, they have to be willing to help other people get what they want.

What happens when you stop doing your job? What happens when you stop caring about your schoolwork? What happens when you become emotionally disconnected from a relationship?

You suffer – that’s what happens. Successful people know and understand that in order to succeed, they need to contribute. They need to add value to the lives of others. They need to do their best so that they can become the best.

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So, Now What?

I hope this article has re-ignited the fire that you already had within you to be successful at any endeavor. The reason why I’m stressing the fact that you’ve already got everything you need to succeed and get what you want is that you wouldn’t be reading this if you weren’t already motivated to be successful.

At the end of the day, however, all the insights in the world are worth nothing unless you combine them with action. When it’s all said and done, it’s your decision what you do with this list and how you apply it to your life and career.

But if I may, here’s what I would suggest you consider as you get started doing the things to help you succeed:

Review this list of the 9 things successful people do to always get what they want and then compare it with where you currently are at each one of these 9 things. Rate yourself in each one of the 9 things. Next, pick just ONE of them to work on every week.

For example, if you find that you’d like to learn more about the business side of the company you work for, then go read the best business books to help you do that.

Never stop learning. Always feed your mind with the knowledge you need to become as successful as possible within your area or industry. It doesn’t matter how busy you are. We’re all busy. Make the time to expand your knowledge.

And remember: every key learning should be immediately followed with action.

More Tips About Leading a Successful Life

Featured photo credit: Austin Distel via unsplash.com

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