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How to Set Goals: 10 Steps to Stay Focused

How to Set Goals: 10 Steps to Stay Focused

For most people, creating goals is easy! The execution and application is the struggle. As Diana Scharf Hunt says, “Goals are just dreams with a deadline!” Everyone has dreams, but successful people turn them into goals that they accomplish. In order to ensure you reach the finish line with your goals achieved, here are 10 steps to help you move from dreamer to doer.

1. Utilize the SMART Goal Approach

We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, therefore, is not an act but a habit. – Aristotle

SMART goals have been utilized for years, because they work. Make sure your goals are:

Specific:

A specific goal will usually answer the five Ws (What, Why, Who, Where, and Which). Writing specific objectives fleshes out your goal so you can easily identify what you want to accomplish.

Measurable:

If your goal isn’t measurable, there will be no way to know if you’re making progress. You need to address the question, “How will I know when this is accomplished?”

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Attainable:

Your goal must be something that you can realistically attain. I would love to fly like a bird by jumping off a cliff with no parachute, but gravity would have the last word in that interaction. However, learning to jump off a cliff with a hang glider is more realistic.

Relevant:

If your goal doesn’t mean anything to you, then it isn’t worth pursuing. Tie your goals to your deeper values to give them more meaning. Make sure you are behind the goal 100% so you stay motivated to achieve it.

Time Bound:

You need to have a deadline. Otherwise it’s just a dream that never becomes reality. Putting down a deadline makes you more committed to bringing it to fruition.

2. Write your goals down and display them!

I hear and I forget; I see and I remember; I write and I understand.” – Chinese Proverb

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A large portion of your goal is already accomplished as soon as you write it down. A study showed that among people who wrote down their goals with actionable commitments that they put into weekly progress reports and shared with friends, 76% accomplished them. This is in comparison to a control group who were just asked to think about their goals. In this group, only 43% accomplished their objectives. Writing down your goals makes them real; they are tangible words on paper, not an ethereal dream in your mind.

3. Break big goals into smaller ones!

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    How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time!”

    It’s the same for big goals! Break them down into manageable weekly and daily actionable bites. If you don’t, you can sometimes lose motivation if the goal seems far away or too big to accomplish.

    4. Make an action plan and follow it!

    If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail!” – Benjamin Franklin

    The best gift you can give yourself is a well thought-out action plan. Take time to organize all of your smaller daily and weekly goals in one place so you can easily check your progress or send it to others to hold you accountable.

    5. Do your goals as early in the day as possible!

    The sun has not caught me in bed in fifty years.” – Thomas Jefferson

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    If you study successful people, you will find that most of the time they do more before the sun rises than the rest of the world does in a day. Get your goals done first thing in the morning to feel like you’ve started your day right. That way, you will always find time to do them.

    6. Tell others your goals to keep you accountable!

    Accountability breeds response-ability.” – Steven R. Covey

    When you know someone is going to check your progress, it lights a fire under you to follow through. Find a good friend or mentor who will take on the role of motivator and occasional butt-kicker. You will come to value this service immensely when you see your efficiency and effectiveness improve.

    7. Make sure your goals excite you!

    “If you want to live a happy life, tie it to a goal, not to people or things.” – Albert Einstein

    Your goals should be a source of joy in your life. They should be one of the main reasons you get out of bed in the morning. If your goals don’t excite you, then you need to re-evaluate them.

    8. Use positive language in your goals!

    “The major reason for setting a goal is for what it makes of you to accomplish it. What it makes of you will always be the far greater value than what you get.” – Jim Rohn

    Setting and accomplishing your goals changes you. You become a positive person who is more excited about life. Make sure your goals reflect this. Don’t say, “My goal is not to mess up today.” Instead your goal could say, “My goal is to excel today in my career by doing X, Y, and Z.” Do you see the language difference? No one can get passionate about going through the day trying to avoid something negative. Instead, turn it around so you spend your day chasing and catching success.

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    9. Set goals in multiple life areas!

    “The greatest danger for most of us is not that our aim is too high and we miss it, but that it is too low and we reach it.” – Michelangelo

    Don’t just reserve your goals for your career. You should challenge yourself to set fitness goals, finance goals, family goals, relationships goals, educational goals, spiritual goals, health goals, and adventure goals. Every area of your life that you value should have a goal to help you improve upon it.

    10. Set performance vs. outcome goals!

    “The ultimate reason for setting goals is to entice you to become the person it takes to achieve them.” – Jim Rohn

    Many things are outside your control. For example, you may have an adventure goal to climb Mount Everest. You follow an action plan and train daily. You reach the moment when you are ready to ascend the mountain’s icy slopes with your team. Suddenly, a huge storm turns you back. The weather was out of your sphere of influence. You met all of your performance goals. Just because the outcome didn’t happen this time does not mean you failed. You were prepared. Life just happened and you weren’t able to climb the mountain – this time. However, regardless of the outcome, you became the person who could climb your mountain should life open the door. That’s the deeper endeavor. When you set your goals, don’t say, “My goal is to climb Mt. Everest by January 2014.” Instead, say, “My goal is to be completely prepared to climb Mt. Everest by January 2014, and to do all that is within my power to reach the top.” The first goal is only attainable if everything works in your favor. The second goal is completely attainable, as it depends solely on you.

    “In the long run, men hit only what they aim at. Therefore, they had better aim at something high.” – Henry David Thoreau

    So what are you aiming for? If your answer is nothing, then you probably won’t like what you get out of this life. Instead of simply drifting along reacting to what life brings you, take proactive steps to go out and create the future you want. While we can’t control everything that happens to us, we can control ourselves by following goals that bring out our passion for life.

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    Sarah Hansen

    A corporate-sales professional turned entrepreneur

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    Last Updated on December 7, 2018

    10 Steps For Success: Applying The Power Of Your Subconscious Mind

    10 Steps For Success: Applying The Power Of Your Subconscious Mind

    How big is the gap between you and your success?

    What is the difference between successful people and unsuccessful people?

    It is as simple as this: successful people think and talk about what they are creating, and unsuccessful people focus on and talk about what they’re lacking.

    So how do you bridge that gap between wanting success and having your success? Let’s make an important distinction. You see, there is a big difference between “Wanting” and “Having” something.

    Wanting: means lacking or absent. Deficient in some part, thing or aspect.

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    Having: means to possess, to hold, to get, to receive, to experience.

    You can have one OR the other, but not both at the same time with any particular object of your desire. You either have it or you don’t.

    When it comes to your subconscious, if you’re focusing on the “wanting”, i.e. the not having, guess what, you will build stronger neural networks in your brain around the “wanting.” However, through the power of your subconscious mind, you can focus on the “having” as if it has already happened. Research has shown that your brain doesn’t know the difference between what you’re visualizing inside your mind versus what is happening out there in your reality.

    This is a regular practice of elite athletes. They spend as much timing creating the internal mental imagery of their success playing out as they do actually physically practicing. This helps create both the neural pathways in their brain and the muscle memory to consistently deliver on that success.

    Here are 10 “brain hack” steps for success that you can take to create your version of a happy life. Make these steps a regular habit, and you will be astonished at the results.

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    Step 1: Decide exactly what you want to create and have

    This is usually the biggest problem that people have. They don’t know what they want and then they’re surprised when they don’t get it.

    Step 2: Write down your goal clearly in every technicolor detail

    A goal that is not written down is merely a wish. When you write it down in full detail, you signal to your subconscious mind that you really want to accomplish this particular goal.

    Step 3: Write your goal in simple, present tense words

    …that a three year old can understand on a three-by-five index card and carry it with you. Read it each morning after you awake and just before you go to sleep.

    Step 4: Backwards planning

    See your goal achieved and identify all the steps required that it took to bring it to life. Making a list of all these steps intensifies your desire and deepens your belief that the attainment of the goal is already happening.

    Step 5: Resolve to take at least one step every day from one of the items on your list

    Do something every day, even if it is just one baby step, that moves you toward your goal so you can maintain your momentum.

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    Step 6: Visualize your goal repeatedly

    See it in your mind’s eye as though it were already a reality. The more clear and vivid your mental picture of your goal, the faster it will come into your life.

    Step 7: Feel the feeling of success as if your goal were realized at this very moment

    Feel the emotion of happiness, satisfaction, and pleasure that you would have once you have achieved your goal. Visualize and feel this success for at least 20 seconds at a time.

    Step 8: “Fake it till you make it!”

    Confidently behave as if your subconscious mind was already bringing your goal into reality. Accept that you are moving toward your goal and it is moving toward you.

    Step 9: Relax your mind

    Take time to breathe, pray or mediate each day. Disengage the stress response and engage the relaxation response. A quiet state of mind allows your brain to access newly formed neural pathways.

    Step 10: Release your goal to your subconscious mind

    When you turn your goal over to the power of the universe and just get out of the way, you will always know the right actions to take at the right time.

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    Starting today, try tapping into the incredible power of your subconscious mind.Start with just one goal or idea, and practice it continually until you succeed in achieving that goal. Make it a game and have fun with it! The more lightly you hold it, the easier it will be to achieve. By doing so, you will move from the “positive thinking” of the hopeful person to the “positive knowing” of the totally successful person.

    Hit reply and let me know what you’re creating!

    To your success!

    Featured photo credit: use-your-brain-markgraf via mrg.bz

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