Home » Self Improvement » Goal Setting

Goal Setting Is As Simple As Reading A Map

Aug 17, 2007
Three days ago, my colleague and I paid a visit to our friend's house, and we saw a most horrifying scene. Who will ever believe a lady's home can be worst off than the 07/07/07 Live Earth Concert aftermath! (I'm referring to the piles of rubbish left behind) After some treading around and a talk with her, it was apparent that our friend needed help.

We suggested that she learn about goal setting, but she rejected it.

My friend confessed that she had tried goal setting before. But repeated failures in accomplishing goals and the accompanying sense of guilt had discouraged her. So she prefers to have no goals at all and lives day by day instead.

I have no idea where she had modelled her goal setting process from, but the truth is, there are actually many people out there like her ; people who are doing goal setting wrongly and giving up halfway before reaching their targets.

But do they know that marvellous inventions such as the mobile phones and computers do not come by accident? They were the products of excellent goal setting and the actions that followed it. So there is actually no reason for anyone to give up on goal setting. Doing so will be tantamount to giving up on yourself and what you are capable of achieving.

So what is goal setting actually?

Goal setting is basically planning for what you want in your future and what will you do to achieve it. It is one of the key secrets behind any successes.

As a matter of fact, goal setting follows the same principles you use to create a route plan on a map. Both require an end destination and show you how to get there. In other words, everything that effective goal setting should have can be found in a good route plan:

1) Specific destination. You must know exactly where you are going. If you fixed the destination as 'maybe, perhaps, somewhere around that point', then the end result will probably be just as ridiculous and less than satisfactory. Without a concise image of where you're travelling to, you'll never reach an end.

In goal setting context, you must know exactly what you want, right down to the last letter. The more conspicuous and well-defined your target is, the easier it is for you to hit it.

2) Specific direction. You must be able to identify exactly where and when should you turn into other roads or stop for refilling the tank gas and what landmarks to lookout for.

In goal setting context, you must know clearly: what is the best course of actions, in other words, what has to be done and when to do it; and what are the important milestones. (Achievements that help to indicate that you are moving in the right direction)

3) Specific durations. A route plan must include the distance and the duration of the trip. It helps in the planning of when to start the journey and when it should end.

In goal setting context, you have to know when to begin and when your goals should be accomplished. By setting dates, you are more likely to adhere to goals and accomplishing them. Without a deadline, procrastination is highly possible due to a lack of urgency.

In short, goal setting should show you clearly where you want to go, what actions you have to take, what important indicators you should work towards to and by when should you complete it.

Of course, if it is really so easy, anyone can do it and be successful. You may wonder where's the catch to goal setting? Using the route plan analogy again, I will explain why goal setting can be a huge pain in the neck for some people.

The biggest difference lies in the map that you use.

If you think about it, you need a map to locate your destination, you need a map to see where to make those turns and which are the best landmarks to serve as milestones. You need a map to calculate the distance to be travelled and hence the time needed.

People who have failed to succeed in goal setting have two problems, either they have no map to begin with or they have used a map with poorly drawn details. The map that they used is the key to effective goal setting. Without a detailed map that can show you every roads and landmarks, it will be very hard to create a good route plan! So what is this map supposed to be?

It is the art of visualisation. Successful people who are proficient in goal setting can apply visualisation techniques very well. They have seen their destinations, obstacles and necessary actions to be taken, long before they can encounter them.
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