Your chances of success are largely influences by the level of your clarity on what you want; and you cannot be clear on what you want until you set your goals.
Douglas Lurtan once said “When you determined what you want, you have made the most important decision of your life. You have to know what you want in order to attain it.”
Goal setting help people to make a plan and focus on achieving the set goal. It also help you to focus your mind and imaginations. You will be surprise to know that many people set goals and budget for corporate firms but they have no clear written personal goal(s). This article explains about the key principles and formula of setting a personal goal.
Goals Setting Principles
Before setting your goal, it is important you remember some key principles of goal setting:
- Specific – You should set clear and specific goal. Do not make a vague goal like I am want to make money, I want to be happy. You need to be specific like – I want to be earning D20,000 monthly by Jan 2016 or I want my net worth to be N5 million by Dec 2015
- Time bound – Your goal should have a realistic deadline and schedules. If you didn’t achieve your goal by end of that time, you can set another deadline but it is important to set deadline for all your goals. Sub deadlines for your bigger and long-term goals can also be helpful.
- Achievable – Set a goal that is achievable within the time frame. I am not saying some goals are not achievable in life but within certain time, the chances are very low. Imagine someone who earns $1,000 per month set goal of becoming a dollar millionaire within 1 year.
- Measurable – Can you measure your goal? If the answer is no, then you need to revisit that goal.
- Balance – It is important you set goals that relates to yourself, God, Family and then the environment. No one can achieve anything without the influence, support or benefit of these parties.
- Congruent – Your goal must be compatible with your personal values and the other goals. The relationship between your values and goals can affect your success. You cannot set a goal to be the best butcher in town when your do not believe in slaughtering animal.
Goal Setting Formula
Now, we can set out the key step to follow in when setting your goal.
- Set the goal – What do you really want? e.g. Lamin want to do Masters of Science degree in Technology starting Sept 2016
- Write it – Do you observed that the most valuable commitments are usually in written form? This includes your certificates, agreements, employment letter, title-deed, bank statement, financial position, holy book etc. It is important you write your goals.
- When do you want it – You have to indicate the time you want to achieve the goal. Lamin want to finished the Msc. by June 2018
- What or whom do you need to achieve the goal? – You should make a list of every skill, connection, knowledge and people you need in other to achieve your goal. In finance, we called them the limiting factors. If your goal is to be a banker, you need to read a recognized banking and finance course and graduate with a good result. In our example, Lamin need money ($20,000), time, family support etc.
- What do you have? – You need to assess your current skill sets, network, knowledge, commitments etc. and compare them to the must have ones. It is important to close any major gap between the required skill and your current skill. This may imply learning new skills or seeking the co-operation of others. Lamin has $13,000 in his savings, 2 years study leave and family support. This means he need to do action plan for $7,000
- Action plan – After setting your goal, deadline and performed the self-assessment, you need to develop a good action plan. List the tasks with schedules and priorities them. Action on each task and work with a sense of urgency. He plan to save $7,000, apply for student loan or his Father’s support if his savings cannot close the gap.
3 Things to Remember
- Confidence – You have to believe in yourself before you can make any breakthrough. If you are going to be successful in achieving your life goals, you have to believed that you are capable of making it happen. Sometimes you may encounter what seem to be an overwhelming odds in your life. You have to understand that these are part of life and all you need is persistence. “To achieve something you have never achieved before, you will have to do something you have never done before “ – (Brian Tracy)
- Flexible– Just because you have set your goal doesn’t mean you must stick to it. Goal and action plan are meant to be reviewed and adjusted when necessary. For example deadlines may have to be rescheduled due to unforeseen circumstances. “The primary reason for failure is that people do not develop new plans to replace those plans that didn’t work.” (Napoleon Hill)
- Monitoring – When organizations set goals they will review and monitor the progress. Individuals are also supposed to monitor their goals and plans. For example, if you set a goal to buy house in 5 years’ time, you need to review your financial status at least on an annual basis.
So what happens if you don’t have a plan in life? Well, it reinforce that you are “not in control.” You will accept things as they come in life. One day you will read fashion course because your friends are reading it and next year you will read banking because new banks are opening.
So set your goal to increase your chances of success. If you are managing a business, read Graham Kenny’s article on HBR: A list of goals is not a strategy
Your comments are welcome.
The ideal way to achieve a long term goal is to split your goals into smaller chunks and keep a (written) track of it. many goal setters today are using apps like linkagoal to track short-term, intermediate & long-term goals
Thank you Beth. I agree with you that goal breakdown helps a lot.