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Setting Life Goals: The Groundwork for Success

May 31, 2008
When George Harrison wrote these words: "If you don't know where you're going, any road will take you there", he was making a valid point. If you don't have a clear idea of what you're aiming for, you could end up anywhere. Setting life goals with clarity will make sure you end up where you want to be.

It's much better to have a clear idea of your destination. As Ralph Waldo Emerson said, "The world makes way for the man who knows where he is going."

So, if you want to achieve something in life, you have far more chance of doing that if you set clear goals
So, how do you create a clear goal? Here is my step-by-step procedure for powerful goal-setting:

1. Make sure you have a clear idea of what you want (not what you don't want; this just creates negative focus). A vague idea of having a nice life or great success won't be enough. Forget about all the obstacles and do some clear thinking of what you want. Have fun day-dreaming for a while. Is it a new car you want? Then do some research and decide on the make, model, colour, engine size, features etc.

2. Once you have a clear idea, you then need a clear vision. See it, feel it, hear it, taste it (where appropriate!) Imagine sitting behind the wheel of your new car, smelling the leather and hearing the engine revs. Feel the wind in your hair as you drive with the top down. Take time to visualise this and really enjoy it. If it's a lifestyle you are aiming for, think of all the things you will be doing, feeling, wearing, etc.

3. Make your goal measurable. How will you know you have achieved it? In this case, owning a new car is easy, you'll know you've achieved it when you're driving it! However, if your goal is to make your business successful, you need to know exactly what YOU mean by successful. How many clients will you have? How much money will you be making? Get really specific with this. The reason this is important is because you need to know exactly what you are aiming for. This is also more motivating because you have something definite to work towards and subconsciously you will start looking for opportunities.

4. Is your goal is achievable and realistic? If you have not achieved goals in the past this may be because they were too big to achieve within a given time, or perhaps were outside of your capabilities. Work out how much time your goal will realistically take. Will you need training? You need to take factors like this into consideration. There's nothing wrong with setting big goals (I'm all for it!) but sometimes it is better to start with smaller goals that you know you can achieve within a short amount of time. Once you have achieved a few short-term goals, the bigger ones will feel so much easier.

5. Next, decide the date by which you want to have achieved your goal. If you don't do this you will not be motivated to take the necessary action. Goals starting with "Some day I'll..." have no power because "some day" never comes; actual dates do. Some people feel worried about committing to a certain date. However, the point is to get you working at your goal. If you don't hit the date quite on time this does not matter as long as you are getting there, and you'll be getting there a lot quicker than if you don't set a date.

6. How will you reward yourself when you achieve your goal? Pausing to acknowledge our achievements is an important step that is very often left out. When you take time to reward yourself for successfully reaching a goal will give you a confidence boost and acts as a life milestone before you set off on the next goal.

7. Write down all the steps you must take to reach your goal. Do this by working backwards from the main goal, writing down all the things that need to happen in order for the goal and each step to be reached. Work out when each step needs to be in place and put these in a to-do list, and then keep to them!

8. Make a written statement for your goal with all the details from the work you have done so far. Write this in the present tense. For example: "By 1st October 2008, I am earning $1000,000 per year with my business and am able to buy my dream house in the country. My reward is to take a Mediterranean cruise." You can get in more details than this, but basically it should give you a very clear picture and make you smile!

Once you have set your goal, written it down and put your statement in a place where you will see it every day, you need to take action! Now you have a clear vision, you should feel more motivated to take all the necessary steps towards your dream.

Remember that setting life goals is always flexible; you can change them as you go along if you need to. Life changes, priorities change, so don't worry if you get a little off track. Don't allow unexpected obstacles or life events deter you from your ultimate goal. Just re-adjust, re-set your sights and keep moving in the right direction every day.
About the Author
Ros Bott is writer, life coach and home business entrepreneur.

If you would like more information about setting goals, you will find great training courses at Success University.

Ros's coaching site is at Career & Confidence Coaching
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