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Setting Goals that Sizzle

Aug 17, 2007
Do you start the year off with phenomenal intentions and suddenly find yourself facing December 31st with little to show for it? Do you have a mental wish list of things to do, places to visit, or home improvements to make that's a mile long and getting longer? Are you feeling kind of ho hum about your career?

Your problem may not be a lack of self-discipline or an over-booked day planner, but simply an inability to set the right targets...goals that sizzle. Walk through the following eight steps and say good-bye to chaos, overwhelm, and unfulfilled wishes.

STEP 1: Connect to Your Desire
This is the first and most critical step in creating successful goals. If you can't answer the question, "Why is this goal important?" get ready for an uphill battle. If you are setting work-related goals that are not your choosing, ask, "How does this goal impact me? Does planning the company picnic for my boss earn me a fantastic performance review, the recognition of my peers, or the satisfaction of creating a memorable event?" Dig around and find a nugget of passion that you can relate to the goal at hand.

STEP 2: Plan Ahead
"Vision without action is a daydream. Action without a plan is a nightmare." -Japanese proverb. Once you've pin-pointed an undeniable desire for this goal, develop a written plan of action. One of the most widely used methods of goal planning is the SMART method: Specific, Measurable, Action-oriented, Realistic, Time-framed. Take the time to satisfy in detail each of the criteria in writing.

STEP 3: Become Either a Visionary or a Task Master
Are you are fantastic list maker who gets easily overwhelmed by a towering to do list? Take a step back from the nitty gritty and look farther ahead. Write a vision statement by looking at the big picture. Or are you a dreamer who has trouble getting focused? Break the big goal into the tiniest possible tasks. By listing the easy-to-manage smaller steps, you will see that even baby steps help you reach your goal.

STEP 4: Make Two Promises
Make yourself accountable for both the tasks and the ultimate goal. First, make a promise to others: your family, customer, or business associates. A study showed that salesmen hit their targets consistently if their projections were made public. So promise others you will deliver. Secondly, make a promise to yourself based on the desire you identified in step #1. Write your goal with a specific deadline and post it where you are bound to see it several times a day.

STEP 5: Make It Active vs. Passive
Don't fall prey to the "if/then" mentality: "If I win the lottery, then I'll get in shape. If I get a new job, then I'll be happy." You will only succeed if you make your participation mandatory. Don't rely on fate to save the day.

STEP 6: Cultivate Flexibility
Even though you have an outstanding goal with a task list carefully crafted down to the tiniest detail, remain open to change. Those who hold fast to a prescribed outcome are less likely to roll with the punches and often quit whenever things don't go as planned. Remain open to a myriad of possibilities.

STEP 7: Engineer a Supportive Environment
Don't believe that reaching any goal is necessarily born out of massive self-discipline and painful sacrifices. Consider creating the right environment to support you in your efforts. If you struggle with exercise, you might draw up a workout task calendar. However, a more supportive environment can include hiring a personal trainer or, better yet, volunteering to coach the local youth soccer team on a weekly basis.

STEP 8: Have Faith
Believe in your success. If you believe that you will fail, you will prove yourself right without even trying. Banish doubt and embrace every failure as a clue leading you one step closer to success.
About the Author
Want more tips like this? Pick-up your free subscription to The Success Hot Sheet and some nifty bonuses at http://www.readytoevolve.com. Kim Nishida is the author of the innovative programs, Stop Wasting Time! and Conception to Completion, helping you realize your company's full potential.
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