3 Key Principles of Effective Goal Setting

Welcome back! Hope you’re doing well and making steady progress on your journey of self improvement. If you’re having trouble getting started in the right direction, you may feel stuck and discouraged. Firstly, we all do at times and an effective way out of that stagnation, is to have an effective goal setting strategy. We need to set goals, but more specifically, the right goals. Without setting these targeted short, mid-range and long term goals, we’re lowering the chances that we will ever achieve them. I think there’s a Yogi-ism that illustrates this point. “You got to be careful if you don’t know where you’re going, because you might not get there.” Simple, yet very true…

Key Goal Setting Principle #1: Choosing the Right Goals

Diving right in, there are many types of goals we can aim to achieve, but which are the right ones? Depending on our current circumstances, we may feel that some goals are more important than others, however, a certain balance in setting goals is needed so we don’t neglect other significant areas of our lives. I have focused on setting goals in the following seven specific areas to achieve this balance.

  1. Health & Fitness
  2. Relationships (Spiritual, Family & Friends)
  3. Self Improvement
  4. Personal Organization
  5. Career
  6. Personal Finances
  7. Leisurely Activity

However, how do we know that we are setting the right goals to begin with in these areas? How do we know that it’s the right time to go for that goal or if we can achieve it at all? Firstly, when choosing our goals, it helps to think about or analyze the goal. Why have I chosen to make this a goal? Is it realistic? Who is the goal going to benefit? What needs to happen in order for the goal to be achieved? How will the pursuit and achievement of this goal change my life for both better and not so good? Is the achievement of this goal an absolute must? Is there anything I must do before I begin to pursue this goal? What are the smaller goals that can help me achieve this bigger goal?

These are just a few questions that can help you gain some clarity and help you decide if a goal is the right one to put your best efforts into. Also, goals should be aligned with our life’s purpose and congruent with our values and beliefs. Also, my previous post, What Do You Want in Life? 10 Steps to Help You Decide can also help you get clear on setting the right goals for you.

Key Goal Setting Principle #2: Setting a Due Date

When you decide on your goal, it’s time to set a due date for it. If no date is set, it’s simply NOT a goal. Goals must always have due dates. If it’s important enough to be a goal, it’s very important that you know when the goal needs to be achieved by. For example, if Mary has a long term goal to save up $50,000 by January 1, 2020 and Johnny over there wants to save up $50,000 by, I don’t know, maybe in a few years from now would be nice- who has the better chance of getting the $50,000? (it’s Mary) Also, in the end, is it hitting the due date that’s ultimately important or the achievement of the goal? Right it’s the goal. Don’t be discouraged if you don’t hit the target by the date. The date is a guide and helps you keep track. Thus, having smaller goals in between with their own due dates is how we keep ourselves moving toward the bigger goal in the horizon. As you will see when you get consistent at setting goals, the smaller goals are the ones that get us to finally realize the bigger goals. Once again, due dates are a must!

Key Goal Setting Principle #3: Identifying and Overcoming Obstacles

After we set and date our goal, we need to look ahead, analyze and determine all of the internal and external obstacles that must be resolved in order for us to move forward and achieve the goal. Once the obstacles are identified, we must decide what actions steps we will take to resolve them. These actions steps are the smaller goals noted in principle #2 and will be part of your living goal plan as you take one step at a time identifying and overcoming the challenges. These action steps also need to be dated and must be completed to move forward. As new challenges arise – identify the obstacle, set and date the action steps and go to work on them.

Final Thoughts on These Three Key Principles of Effective Goal Setting

These three key principles will help you in the achievement of your goals and are the exact principles I use in my coaching sessions to guide those I coach in setting their goals. Finally, click here to receive a free life coaching session.

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