The 11 Basics of Goal Setting
Millions of words have been written about goal setting.
Millions of people set goals. Yet, most goals set by most
people remain unfulfilled. I have distilled (from experience
and education) the eleven essentials of successful goal setting
here for you. Follow these, and you will accomplish your goals.
Fail to follow these and you probably will not. No hype. No
rah-rah encouragement. No fluff. Just the simple explanation
of how and why to set and ACCOMPLISH goals.
1. Goals must be original
That does not mean that they cannot be the same or similar
to the goals that others may have; it means that they must
be yours, not second-hand. Many people set goals according
to the hopes and expectations that they have been programmed
to have by parents, teachers, society and cultural norms.
As a consequence, you do not own these goals. You cannot generally
have or hold what is not yours, or, even if you do manage
to keep it, it will not have any value or meaning to you.
What's the point then of having it? The real reason you set
and hope to achieve goals is not just to have the thing, it
is to be happy and fulfilled in the accomplishment.
Set goals that are yours; not inherited or assumed. If they
are not your own original goals, even if you manage to accomplish
them, it will mean very little to you. Why waste your life
pursuing something that will end up as meaningless?
2. Goals must be inspirational
They must arouse your passion. This must be a consuming passion,
not some whim or "someday I'd like to" feeling. You must desire
passionately to achieve what you set as a goal. It must drive
you to action and you must feel fulfilled in that action because
you know that it is leading to the fulfillment of your goal.
It is passion that drives you to move continuously toward
your goal. It is passion that keeps you from getting distracted.
It is passion that keeps you from getting discouraged. It
is passion that fuels your motivation. It is passion that
draws others to you to assist in your goals. It is passion
that inspires you and others. It is passion that lights your
way through the darkness that you will find along the way.
Get passionate about your goals or get passionate about someone
else's. Life without passion is not a life; it is merely an
3. Goals must be harmonious
Obviously, you cannot have conflicting goals in life or you
will be conflicted. That's the easy part. Your goals, however,
must also be in harmony with your core beliefs and your self-assigned
purpose in life.
It is easy to understand that to have conflicting goals will
raise your stress levels and frustrate you. Yet, people do
that to themselves all the time.
It is not so easy to understand that you may have some deep-set
unconscious game plan for your life (whether from some basic
spiritual urge or from some sense of undefined purpose) and
the goals you set may actually be in conflict with that real
?- but hidden - game plan.
First, decide who you are and what you are here to do and
then set your goals in alignment with that; or you, yourself,
on a subconscious or super conscious level, will continually
be sabotaging your goals.
4. Goals must be realistic
There is not much point in setting a goal to personally live
on Mars, if you are today (in 2003) over 95. The goals you
set for yourself must be achievable within the framework of
what is humanly possible.
But (and this is important) realistic does not mean what the
majority commonly accepts as realistic. Most people did not
think that it was realistic to attempt to fly a bicycle with
wings and a motor attached, but two brothers named Wright
did. Most people did not think it was realistic to build a
personal computer for people to use in their home, but two
guys named Steve did.
These 4 guys changed reality for all of us. Their goals were
obviously, in retrospect, quite realistic. Don't let your
imagination be hemmed in by the crowd.
5. Goals must be idealistic
They must be idealistic in two ways: they must involve your
personal ideals in the five below-mentioned areas of your
life and they must be progressively higher or further ahead
than you are at now.
Most people are, in some way, in conflict with the different
aspects of self:
Material and Financial ($$$ and Things)
Physical and Environmental (Health of Body, Home and World)
Emotional and Relationship (Happiness, Love, Social Contact)
Mental and Educational (Learning, Awareness, Self-Knowledge)
Spiritual and Ethical (Unity, Life Purpose, Values, Sacredness)
If your goals are not in tune with your ideals, you will be
conflicted. This is why they are unhappy and why they do not
achieve their highest potential. Set your goals in harmony
with your ideals.
If your goals are not idealistic (in the sense that they are
progressive), you will get bored and unsatisfied. People (those
who don't understand) often wonder why those who are already
extremely wealthy continue to pursue more wealth. It is because
the ideal is always being extended or raised. Great achievers
don't rest on their laurels. Each goal achieved is merely
a stepping-stone to more and greater achievement. It is not
the end in itself.
6. Goals must be specific
Goals like, "I want to be rich", are not worth the paper they
are printed on. Rich must be defined. One million dollars
in the bank might mean rich to most people, but it means poor
to many others. It is the same for more ethereal goals. "I
want to be happy" means nothing. Happy must be defined just
as rich must be defined. "I want to be spiritually fulfilled"
is the same; meaningless, unless defined.
What does rich mean to you? Exactly. What does happy mean
to you? Don't know? Then how on earth will you ever even know
if you get there? I have met a lot of people who say they
are on a spiritual path. I like to ask where that path is
leading. Most can't say anything specific. It is all very
nebulous. If your destination is not defined, how in heaven's
name will you know if and when you get there?
7. Goals must be adaptable
One of my favorite jokes (which would offend some readers
so I will not quote it here) involves a guy who had set a
specific goal but when a gal came along to offer a much better
fulfillment, he asked her to help him to accomplish his original
one. Many people miss the better fulfillment of a goal because
their focus on the one they had originally visualized is too
intense and narrow to recognize the better one when it shows
Be sure that you are focused on the best possible fulfillment
of your goal, not just on the method that you foresaw that
goal fulfillment happening.
8. Goals must be visualized
If you cannot see it as real and as true and as part of the
way you life your life; it will not happen.
Many folks, when confronted with some seemingly outrageous
possibility or goal, will comment, "I'll believe it when I
see it made real, not just some imaginary ideal". The dreamers,
schemers and achievers of history all had a different approach:
"I see it. I believe it. It is real if it exists in my imagination."
Tiger Woods 'sees' his shots landing on the green a few feet
from the cup before he takes the shot. The average golfer
looks up (usually too soon) from his shot to see where it
went. Guess whose shots end up where most often. Visualize
the reality in your imagination and it will become real in
9. Goals must be affirmed
You must tell yourself all day, every day, in your constant
conscious and subconscious self-talk that your goal is real
and achievable. AND, you must tell others what your goal is
so that they can 'buy into it' and contribute to it. If you
don't believe in it enough to make it a part of your daily
conversation and are not passionate enough about it to be
compelled to talk about it to yourself and others, it is NOT
real for you and it will NOT become real.
You will be surrounded by naysayers. Someone must speak the
truth of the reality of your goal. That is YOUR 24/7 job.
Constantly affirm where you are headed and why. You'll end
up not only convincing yourself but the world as well.
10. Goals must be time related
Everything exists in space and time. If something is not defined
precisely in space and time, it does not exist. A goal of
"someday, I'd like to be financially secure", or "someday,
I'd like to climb that mountain", does not, and it is highly
likely that it WILL NOT, ever, exist as anything other than
nebulous, wishful thinking. You must set specific times for
your goals to be made manifest OR you will be forever going
towards your goals and never quite reaching them.
Almost everyone in developed countries sets the goal of retirement
in financial security, but the overwhelming majority do NOT
achieve that. Why? One of the reasons is that it is always
a 'someday' goal, not a 'by June 21st, 2014' goal. Of course,
it is also likely that these people are also not applying
the other 10 rules of effective goal setting.
11. Goals must be written down
If it exists only in your head, it is only wishful thinking.
This is the basic, proven by experience, truth of the matter:
95% of people who have specific written goals accomplish them;
and 95% of people who have unwritten goals (specific or not)
do not. If you can read that sentence and not begin immediately
to write down your goals, you might as well resign yourself
to the fact that you will not accomplish what you imagine
you want to be, do and have in life.
Yes there are those few high achievers who manage to set clear,
distinct goals without writing them down and also manage to
stay focused on them for their entire lives. Don't kid yourself:
you are not one of those people. I'll prove it to you. Tell
me (or anyone) right now exactly, specifically, and in full
detail what goals you held 1,000 days ago.
Write them down. Period. Now.
© Leslie Fieger. All rights reserved worldwide.
Leslie Fieger is the author of The DELFIN Knowledge
System Trilogy: The Initiation, The Journey and The Quest
plus many more success publications. Subscribe to his free
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