Few goal-driven, achievement-oriented women will dispute the importance of setting goals. After all, it only makes sense that having a written objective increases the likelihood of success.
But how can you be certain that the goals you set are going to be met with success and not left languishing in a pile on your desk with all the other well-meaning ideas you want to get to when you have time? Here are a couple of things to think about when you’re in the beginning stages of setting a goal:
- Effective goals have several characteristics that help to assure a positive outcome.
- Effective goals are worded in a way that ensures your success. Are you setting a goal that is arbitrary or too abstract, and that by its very structure is not meant to succeed?
- Effective goals are adequately prioritized.
By incorporating a few strategic ideas into your next goal setting session, you can greatly increase your odds of success.
Try these five strategies to help make your goal a reality:
1. Choose the best goal for you.
- Consider all possibilities before you select the topic of your goal. If you’re like most high-achieving women, you rarely have just one area of your life you’re looking to improve. Multi-tasking is not the way to go here, though – start with one goal and expand from there.
- A simple, but effective exercise is to list 5-10 possible goals that you believe will improve your life. Then ask yourself, “Which of these goals will benefit my life the most right now?”
- A more meaningful goal has a better chance of being achieved.
2. A goal statement must have a deadline.
- Without a deadline, your goal will lack any sense of time urgency.
- A recommended way of formatting your goal is: “On or before 06/01/xx, I will have completed specific actions #1 and #2 towards completing my book.” This statement provides a clear endpoint, but still allows for the goal to be accomplished sooner.
- It’s generally more effective to limit the timeframe to 12 weeks or less. If a goal will require a greater period of time, break the goal down into smaller, bite-size goals
3. Leave the results open ended when appropriate.
- Just as you allowed the goal to be accomplished sooner than the specified date in the above example, where appropriate, also allow your results to surpass your goal.
- Notice the portion of the goal above: “towards completing my book.” Wording the goal statement in this way allows for greater results, assuming that’s appropriate for you. Avoid limiting your results if it’s unnecessary to do so.
- Here are two examples of goals that can usually be left open ended:
i) Money-based goals: Would anyone ever want to limit themselves here?
ii) Weight-loss goals: Depending on the amount of weight that needs to be lost, losing a few more pounds would usually be received as good news.
4. Include your responsibilities.
- Always include specific actions in your goal statement.
- Engineers frequently state that something is “necessary, but not sufficient.” For example, an egg is necessary to bake a cake but it’s not sufficient; other ingredients are also required. By including specific actions in your statement, you’re claiming responsibility for doing everything that needs to be done to accomplish the goal.
5. Prioritize your goal.
- As a busy woman with tremendous responsibilities, your brain is inundated with countless things every day. It needs to know that this goal is more important than all the other tasks it faces each day.
- One way to accomplish this is by utilizing repetition. After first setting your goal, write it down 25 times. Now notice how you feel about the goal. If you feel anything less than motivated and excited, there is some question in your mind about it; try to figure out what’s blocking you or holding back your enthusiasm so you can move forward with confidence.
- Strong, positive emotions can also be used as a prioritization tool. Imagine what it would feel like to achieve your goal. Imagine the ideal scene. What would you see, smell, think, and feel? The better the vision, the better the odds of success. Don’t underestimate the importance of visualization in achieving your goals.
- Every day, write your goal one time and perform the visualization process several times in order to reinforce the priority of your goal.
What are some of the ways you ensure your goals will succeed? Do you use any of the tips above? Please add a comment here on my blog and let me know if you’ve got goal setting down cold, or if learning more about the ins and outs of effectively achieving your goals is something you’re interested in.