Tips For Setting Effective Goals

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Effective goal setting and the kind of strategy needed to accomplish them is a critical component for success in business as well as in your life.

Yet it’s not often as easy as most people think. Indeed, a lot of people set lofty goals yet ultimately fail to meet them along the way. Some settle for simply making a little progress along the way, while there are other individuals and businesses who give up the goal, losing focus before they can succeed.

Michael Charles is an expert in organizational effectiveness, leadership, and team development. As a John Maxwell Certified trainer, he often works as a coach and speaker where he shares his insights and experiences on intentional living. He connects through his website leadingwithintent.com as well as a series of online videos on topics like time management.

One area of expertise that Charles also offers his insights on is setting effective goals. “A lot of people don’t know how to set goals and that is one of the biggest causes of why they fail,” he explained.

What Is The Difference Between A Vision And A Goal?

In Charles own personal philosophy there is a definitive difference between a vision and a goal. “A vision is something that is long-term. It’s usually five to ten years down the ling. It’s where you want to be at some point. It doesn’t become a goal until you put a date on it!”

Of course, the process of slapping a date on a goal isn’t arbitrary and there somewhat of a process involved in not only determining the date but also defining the underlying reasons for the setting the goal in the first place.

“With a goal, you set a specific date and time with certain techniques and strategies that you are working toward to make it happen,” Charles explained.

What Is The Best Strategy For Setting A Goal?

“When you are setting up your strategy for accomplishing a goal, the thing you have to do is not think of it through your past experiences or the resources you have. Because that tends to limit you! When people set goals that way, thinking in reverse limits you and it also limits your motivation to actually go after that goal!”

Charles notes that goal setting needs to extend beyond the present and what you have at hand, as well as going beyond your fears or what may have stopped you from accomplishing other similar goals in the recent or even distant past.

“When you are setting a goal, you should try to think of yourself in the future and doing things that might even seem like crazy stuff to you right now,” Charles elaborated.

“Once you know what it is that you want to do, you have to but a specific date on it, and develop a strategy of what you are going to do to work toward it every day!”

Understand The Underlying Reasons For Setting The Goal

This process starts with intentionality as well as a fair amount of insight. Before you set a certain goal, it helps to ask yourself why?

“Knowing exactly what it is that you want to do is important. If you don’t know what you want to do and how you are going to do it, you tend to spray. Losers spray and winners focus!” said Charles. “If you don’t focus then you end up all over the place.”

The next step in this process calls for a little bit of looking in the mirror and reflecting. Charles notes that it’s not just about how and why you set the goal, but also understanding what it is about yourself that lead you to be interested as well as willing to invest in accomplishing the goal.

“One of the things that a lot of people who don’t understand goal setting is asking themselves what is the goal that is behind the goal? A lot of people don’t think that way, but they should,” stressed Charles.

An example of how failing to look at the motivation underlying the goal can sometimes be seen with professional athletes and lottery winners, who suddenly come into a large, and often life-changing amount of money. “Let’s say I drop $2-Million in your lap right now. It might be exciting to have it, but most people will lose it in a little over a year,” illuminated Charles.

“The goal is to become the kind of person who can handle that kind of money. If you follow the stories of lottery winners and professional athletes who lost it all you often see inconsistencies in who they are and how they use the money. That’s usually at the root of how they lost all that money two or three years later.”

Understanding your underlying motivations for setting the goal in the first place and then putting a date on transferring that vision into a goal is important. However, there are other elements that are important in establishing a strategy for goal accomplishment.

Understand Your Motivation And Educate Yourself

“How bad do you want it? If you really want it, you are going to spend two, three, maybe even four hours a day on it.”

“This also means that you need to educate yourself.”

However, Charles also cautions that you shouldn’t let overthinking cloud the strategy-making process. “Another mistake that a lot of people make is requiring that they know every single thing about it before they set their goal. They ultimately get stuck in this box that limits them to only what they already know.”

For some people this notion is thought of as taking a leap of faith, or simply taking a leap of courage, to believe in their ability to accomplish the goal. For some, it can conjure up a lot of pressure, which may even manifest as actual or perceived fear. Charles recognizes this, yet still notes that you shouldn’t let it stop you from investigating your motivations, setting your goals, and digging deep into the kind of strategy you need to make them manifest.

“What I encourage people to accept that you don’t need to know every step in the process. The only things you need to know is how to get started and what is your next best step!”