How to Goal Plan may seem simple enough but do we understand how to?
We have all been told that Goal Planning is the path to success, right?
Just choose a goal, set a plan then follow through and put that plan into action.
If it’s so easy then why is it so many people struggle with it?
And on top of that, how do you know what goal to pick?
How do you know what you really want? The last thing we want to do is be working on the wrong goal.
That would be like going on a 5-day vacation and by the third day, you realize you have been driving in the wrong direction.
And once we do know our goal, do we know how to make it happen?
I will be covering all these questions and more in this article.
There has to be a solution and I will be sharing the solution with you.
What Is Goal Setting?
Ever find yourself aimlessly heading out the door and driving to work without even thinking about it?
Your just kind of in a fog with no clear direction and once you get to work you just kind of go through the motions but you aren’t putting any real effort or ambition into the tasks?
After work, you just head home and go through the motions to get there.
So where’s the passion?
Where’s the excitement?
To me this isn’t living, this is merely existing.
I believe life was meant to be fully lived. That means feeling the full range of human emotions. Experiencing everything life has to offer.
Learning new things and challenging ourselves to get better at it.
But to do that we need goals.
Wikipedia defines goals as an objective that a person or a system plans or intends to achieve.
Goals give us something to reach for, a way to challenge ourselves to be better than we were yesterday. It creates that purpose in life.
Simply put, goals are tools to focus our energy in a positive direction and can be changed as our priorities change, with new goals added or others dropped, constantly evolving as we evolve through life.
So just to be clear here, a goal is not necessarily something you will spend the rest of your life doing. As soon as you outgrow that goal then you simply point towards your next goal.
As an example, you are crossing a brook and you look for a rock to step on that is sticking out of the water. As soon as you step on it you are already looking to set your next goal, the next rock to step on to.
A goal could be anything
- learn a new language
- cook better
- run faster
- start a business
- lift a little more weight
- make the moves smoother or faster
We are only limited by our imagination. Our imagination is our life, without it we would do nothing.
Do you want to know how to take someone’s life away from them?
It’s quite simple actually, just do everything for them and stick a TV in front of them.
If we can think it, we can find a way to do it.
Why Is Goal Setting Important
Aimlessly wandering through life may sound like a relaxing afternoon off, but not a great life.
Don’t we usually feel more comfortable and satisfied when we have a destination in mind? I know I do.
My husband and I love sailing and to effectively sail we first need a destination. Somewhere that we want to go.
From the destination, we then can figure out how long, how much food and water. How many stops are there in between and what do they have to offer for top-ups.
For example, this summer we had planned to meet our grandkids up at Douglas Harbor, NB. To do that we needed to sail down the St. John River to the Jemseg River, Then motor up that to Grand Lake before we could dock at Douglas Harbour.
Travelling on a river with a sailboat is no easy task and to be honest with you without our uniquely designed sailboat, I think we would have run aground many times during that trip.
My point is it couldn’t just happen. We had to first determine our goal, then make a plan. We then had to act that plan to arrive at our desired destination.
The same is true in life in general.
Having that goal, or something you want to achieve gives us a sense of purpose, a direction to head and once we arrive at that destination or achieve that goal we feel a well-deserved sense of satisfaction.
By having a plan to execute that goal it also gives us something to focus on. I know I am happier when I have something to focus on and work towards. The more important the more focused we become.
Focusing on my goal helps me to stay on task and not get sidetracked with other things that won’t bring me to my desired result even though they may be fun at the time.
Having goals also gives me the motivation to get moving, get working towards that goal. Without goals there really isn’t any reason to do anything is there?
Why even get up in the morning? If you have no goal in mind!
I love how energetic and motivated I feel when I have a goal that I am striving to achieve. It is such a stark contrast to the lazy, unmotivated feeling of having no clear direction.
Don’t get me wrong, we all need those days of relaxing but when those days do come you appreciate them even more.
ABC’s of Effective Goal Setting
So now that we understand setting goals is important it’s also important to learn how to effectively set goals.
We don’t just pick some dream far out into the future and hope that someday our life will look like that. That is not likely to happen for a couple of reasons.
- The goal was not clearly defined.
- There was no set plan of action.
These are the 2 biggest reasons why people fail to succeed in what they want.
Remember, a goal not clearly defined and with no action plan will only ever be just a dream.
To be effective a goal must be:
- A – Achievable – we must be able to achieve it
- B – Believable – we must believe we can achieve it
- C – Committed – we must be committed to making it happen
I came across an article that used the word SMART in reference to goal setting. It said to be effective, goals need to be:
- S – Specifically – we need to clearly define what we want. For example, what colour, make and model is that shiny new car you want?
- M – measurable – merely saying “I want to be rich” isn’t going to cut it. How rich? How much money do you want in the bank? How much in investments? You need a way to measure your progress.
- A – Achievable/Attainable – it needs to be something you can physically achieve
- R – Realistic – it needs to take into account your abilities and your ability to learn new things. It needs to be realistic because you need to believe you can achieve it.
- T – Time-bound – you need to set a time-frame in which to achieve it. We need this for motivation to get it done. We need that sense of urgency to make us do what we need to do to achieve that goal.
We can turn those SMART goals into SMARTER goals simply by adding ER:
- E – Ethical – we need our goals to be in line with our core ethical values. This means remaining true to your core values throughout the process of attaining that goal
- R – Rewarding – the end result of achieving that goal result in a feeling of pride and accomplishment.
Use these tools and ABC‘s to help in setting SMARTER goals. Then work out an action plan that will help you get there. Then you just get to it and do something every day to work towards your goal.
Try This Exercise to Help Determine Your Goal
I have found this exercise to be an effective goal-setting tool.
- Set aside an amount of time to reflect in silence. Arrange for the kids to be out of the house for a few hours and use this time to completely disconnect, take the time to just breathe, think and reflect.
- Then ask yourself, “What do I feel like I was put on this planet to do?” Sit with a pen and paper and just freestyle write your answers to this question. Don’t worry about it make sense or even being realistic. Just write whatever comes to mind. What things have you been always drawn to? what are your favourite activities? If you could do anything at all with no limitations what would that be? What are your talents? What are your gifts? What do you do better than anyone you know? Just keep writing it all down, every little thing that pops into your mind.
- Then take a moment and pretend this is your last year. Now ask yourself, “What is the single biggest thing you want to accomplish? If you could only do one thing, what would it be? What is the one thing that in your mind would make that last year worth living?
On some other day, you will read those answers and you will discover what it is you really want to do in life. You can then set your goals and action plans accordingly.
When I did this exercise I determined that I wanted to help others achieve their goals in life.
That discovery leads me to start my own blog based business.
Once I knew what I wanted to do, I set about finding a training program to help me get started and within a few days I was on my way.
Why Goal Setting Works
Goals actually play a significant role in determining how we see ourselves and others. When someone is goal-oriented they have a more positive outlook on life and see failures as merely temporary setbacks. They persevere and don’t let challenges stop them.
Tony Robbins, a world-famous motivational speaker, and coach had said that “Setting goals is the first step from turning the invisible to visible.”
When we take the time to find what we truly want in life, we have an emotional connection to that goal.
As we focus on that goal our emotional connection to it deepens which in turn makes us more focused.
The more focused we become the more our subconscious can begin to make the necessary changes within us to aid in the achievement of those goals.
Her friend also acts and was involved in a local theatre company that would be doing a musical production of Disney’s Frozen.
Our granddaughter went with her friend one practice with the understanding that she might be able to be cast as an extra.
In the days before the practice, she kept saying “I know they said I might be cast as an ‘extra’ but I want a part with lines and singing.
She kept saying this to everyone and when the day finally came she poured her heart and soul into her audition.
Several days later we found out she got a part with lines.
Skip forward a few months and now it is time to attend the show. We bought our tickets along with her other grandparents and we all got the biggest surprise ever.
Not only did Kaileigh have several lines but she even had a short singing solo as well. By the way, she did amazing and I had no idea she could sing that well.
Now that is goal-setting at it’s finest.
That young lady had a laser-sharp focus on what she wanted and in the end, she got exactly what she said she wanted.
She set her goal and worked her butt off to make it happen and she did it.
Yes, it took determination.
Yes, it took hard work.
But if you were to ask her, it was all worth it and she loves it so much it didn’t seem like work to her.
I hope you have a much clearer picture of how to goal plan.
Did you know that setting goals activate the brain waves and the more they are activated the healthier the brain becomes? This will help combat brain diseases and live a long prosperous life.
I gave you a handy little exercise to help you determine what exactly is your biggest goal in life.
Once you determine what it is that you truly want you can develop that picture clearly in your mind’s eye.
Picture yourself having achieved that goal.
What do you feel like?
Keep that feeling and that picture at the forefront of your mind as you begin to develop a plan.
Do your research so you know exactly what it will take to accomplish.
Once you have your plan maintain that focus while you begin to work on that plan.
Don’t ever stop until you achieve your heart’s desire.
Have you had success with goal planning?
What goals have you achieved?
Share your experiences in the comment section below and if owning an online business is something you are interested in check out the great training program that worked for me. It is even free to get started.