Goal setting is as psychologically important in business as it is in personal life. By setting goals, individuals are more in control of outcomes and the processes used to achieve those outcomes. Because goal setting involves planning for the future, people with clear goals become motivationally oriented towards the long term success.
One of my mentors, Greg Atkins, said,
“what gets measured gets managed, and what gets managed Improves.”
This is so true. By writing out exactly what you want and then measuring your progress is the fastest and most effective way to reach a goal. Dreams are just dreams until you do something about it.
Start by making your goals very specific. Sloppy written goals often get sloppy results. By numbering each goal from most important to least important and then breaking each of those down into step by step guides.
So for example, instead of writing, “exercise everyday” write, “10 push ups, 10 squats, and 1 mile around the park.” Set a start date and an end date. It becomes a plan. You know exactly what you need to do step by step to reach a specific goal.
When you accomplish that goal, you actually are changing your mind to the “I will” mindset instead of “it never works” mindset. That way next time you set a goal you are able to remind yourself that you did it last time and you can do it again. When you accomplish a set of goals, then you can write up another. This way you don’t overwhelm yourself by setting too many or impossible goals.
Another example would be, instead of saying “Get out of debt” write down, “Pay $100 a week towards (a specific) debt.” And then do the math. Decide exactly how much money you can spare from living and exactly how long it will take you to get out of debt using that specific amount of money. Then again, give yourself a starting date and a end date.
When you accomplish a goal, go ahead and reward yourself. Do something extra to celebrate your successes and make hitting your target fun. This is super important in the long run. If life is constantly a battle you will eventually give up on chasing the things you know will be good for you because you don’t really enjoy it. That is why it is important to set goals, short term and long term in both your personal life as well as business, and then celebrate success.
Setting goals can be a constructive practice. Whether you are setting career goals, relationship and family goals or daily goals, it is pertinent to understand what your objectives are in order to establish goals that you can ultimately attain.
There has been a lot of research in positive psychology on the benefits of goal setting to help maintain a happier and healthier life. Being happy takes a lot of practice and a lot of work, and goal setting is one part of the equation.
Your dopamine system, which is a chemical that is released every time you experience a reward, is reliant upon goal setting and achievement. So as dopamine is released into the part of your brain responsible for positive rewards, you are essentially motivated to repeat this occurrence. When you set goals and accomplish them, you and your brain are rewarded.
By including improving the lives of other people in your goal setting along with your personal health, and wealth, is proven to have greater benefit to overall happiness.
Ken Sheldon did comparative research on extrinsic and intrinsic goals. He and his colleagues discovered that goals which increase feelings of autonomy, competence, or connection to others lead to greater happiness. Intrinsic goals aim to build deep and lasting relationships with others and yourself.
Write down in detail your very specific desires and exactly what you will need to do to acquire them, and then put it where you can view it and go over it everyday. Keeping it constantly in the back of your mind will help you make everyday decisions to get you to the desired outcome.