Archives For Goal Setting

The greatest achievement of the human spirit is to live up to one’s opportunities and make the most of one’s resources.

 ~ Marquis de Vauvenargues 

Wherever your most desired destination may be, one thing is for sure – if you don’t get on the road, you will never arrive.  Once you decide to embark on the less traveled path of pursuing your personal goals, it it important that you set achievable milestones in order to successfully enter the narrow gate of your desired destination. It may feel like a long journey, but with perseverance and dedication to fulfilling your potential, you will arrive…

When you have achieved that goal you have steadily been working toward, ensure you take the time to congratulate yourself and enjoy the satisfaction of having achieved what you set out to do. Absorb the implications of the achievement, and observe the progress that you’ve made towards other goals. At the very least, achieving your milestones will fuel your motivation to propel you toward your next goal – ultimately guiding you to where you want to be.  Achieving even small goals (milestones) along the way will give you the self-confidence to pursue new and exciting destinations.

Whether the goal was small or large, STOP and take a little time to enjoy the moment and reward yourself appropriately. Recognize your success for what it is…SUCCESS!

Now, with the positive experience of having achieved a goal, and taking the time to properly acknowledge your accomplishment, review the journey to date and determine:

  • Was the goal too easily attained? If so,  make sure your remaining goals (or your next goals) stretch your capacity so that you continue to grow and arrive at new and exciting destinations.
  • Did the goal take a daunting length of time to achieve? Ensure your next goals are a little more  time-bound, and check the distance between your milestones.
  • Did you learn something from your journey? If so, leverage your learning and use it to facilitate the journey toward future destinations.
  • Did you perceive a deficit in your skills, despite achieving the goal? Think about incorporating some of the more challenging aspects of the journey onto future roadmaps in order to allow you to hone that particular skill for future journeys.
  • Have you derived as much pleasure from the journey as you have in arriving at the destination? I hope so – life is all about the journey after all…

Now that you have arrived at your desired destination, it is time for you to reset your navigation system and set that next big, audacious goal that will take you on yet another exciting journey toward the fulfillment of all of your most “desired destinations”…

Where will you go next?

I hope this series has provided some useful guidelines toward helping you to manage your journey toward your ultimate destination. Please engage the discussion and let us know how you will travel toward your next personal goal. Always feel free to contact me or by visiting our website at Check back next week for the next installment of Leadership Across Boundaries and Borders.

Some men give up their designs when they have almost reached the goal; While others, on the contrary,obtain a victory by exerting, at the last moment, more vigorous efforts than ever before.

Goal setting sounds simple right? Well it is, but it can go downhill very quickly. You have committed to your personal goal-setting journey, but there are some roadblocks to watch out for. The first rule of the road is, “keep on moving!” Despite honoring this mantra, you may still fail to reach your desired destination because you (consciously or unconsciously) take some critical wrong turns that keep you off course:

1.    You just won’t follow the process through because:

  • You can’t think of a good reason to set goals: This is your future we are talking about here – goal setting defines your destination and how you will get there, so that one day your dreams becomes reality. Keep this in mind when you are deciding how to proceed…
  • You are in control of your own destiny: You are where you are now because of the action [or inaction] you have taken in the past. Where you’ll be in the future is determined by the actions you take today. Is there any better reason to start setting goals and having some control over your future?
  • You don’t see how goal setting will help you: Maps help you get where you want to go, right? That’s all goal setting and action planning really are – the roadmap to your future.  Of course it will help.
  • You haven’t got time: Goal setting is about working smarter, not harder. Yes, it will take some of your time and energy, you may even have to make some sacrifices. However, the end results are truly worth the effort. Surely you can set aside a small amount of time each day to move toward your life’s purpose and take the actions necessary to get there?  The sad reality is that many people procrastinate all their life and never achieve what they really want to achieve. Don’t be one of those people. Visualize what life will be like when you arrive at your desired destination and use this vision to give you the motivation and “drive” to get there.
  • You believe it is too hard: Goal setting is simple, but not easy. It takes some time and you need to do some soul searching to determine what it is that you really want out of life – but it is not hard. It may seem overwhelming, however by managing the process with relevant mile-markers, you can continually move in the right direction and ultimately achieve everything you want.  The other thing to remember is that goal setting is a skill. Like all skills, goal setting takes exposure and time to develop.
  • You are afraid of failure: What is fear? False Expectations Appearing Real.  You determine what you are capable of, and more than likely you are your biggest constraint. What is the worst case scenario of not achieving your goals? You may achieve some of your goals or, perhaps, a portion of a goal. You will know that you gave it your best effort and as a result achieved somethingNow, what is the most likely outcome of not setting any personal goals? Not going anywhere – far worse, by my estimation.  Fear of failure is real. It is critically important to come to terms with this, as fear of failure can result in a complete lack of action… resulting in failure to achieve anything meaningful. Learn to grow from failure, rather than fear it.
  • You don’t take your goals seriously enough to fully commit: You need to take goal setting seriously if it is going to work for you. You have probably tried New Years resolutions in the past – did you take them seriously? Did you succeed?

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Our goals can only be reached through the vehicle of a plan, in which we must fervently believe, and upon which we must vigorously act. There is no other route to success.

 ~ Stephen A. Brennan

So, now you have committed to your goals, but how will you ensure continued forward motion toward your desired destination? The sad fact is that in spite of so much information being readily available on personal goal setting, in spite of this skill even being taught in some schools… most people do not – will not – decide exactly what they want out of life… ever! Personal goal setting is one of the most useful and satisfying activities a person can engage in, yet it something most people  just will not typically do.

How can you score points if you don’t know where the goal is? Chances are, if you don’t know where you’re going… you end up somewhere you never intended to be. How can you arrive at your desired destination without a reliable road map?  Action without planning, is just activity… busyness… an unproductive waste of energy and time. Personal goal setting is like fuel injection for your mind. When SMART goals are properly incorporated within the context of your personal journey, they will produce effective, self-perpetuating action.

In order to have the best chance at successfully achieving your goals, here are some tips that will help you to stay on track and moving in the right direction:

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Goals. There’s no telling what you can do when you get inspired by them. There’s no telling what you can do when you believe in them. There’s no telling what will happen when you act upon them.

~ Jim Rohn

Many people, often senior leaders, feel as if they’re adrift in the world – not sure what their ultimate purpose or legacy might be. They work hard, they get the promotions, and advance somewhat successfully through life from day to day, but they don’t seem to get anywhere worthwhile – anywhere that is self-fulfilling.  One critical reason this happens is because they typically haven’t spent enough time thinking about what they want from life  – and they haven’t set their coordinates for success!

Goal setting is much more than simply saying you want something to happen. Unless you clearly define exactly what you want and understand why you want it the first place, your odds of success are significantly diminished.

Here are some broad guidelines to help you not only to set effective, achievable goals, but also to keep the focus on the why:

  • Make each goal a positive statement – Express your goals positively – “Execute this initiative to my highest standards, while remaining on schedule and 10% under budget” is a much better goal than “Don’t fail to execute this initiative.”
  • Be precise: Set precise goals, putting in dates, times and amounts so that you can measure achievement. This provides a mechanism to know exactly when the goal is achieved, and you can take complete satisfaction from having achieved it.
  • Set clear priorities – When there is more than one goal, give each a priority. This will help you to avoid the feeling of being overwhelmed by having too much to focus on at any one time – while also directing your attention to the most important priorities.
  • Clear, purposeful steps that are taken along the way will guide you to where you want to be. Your big, scary  audacious goal may take a year (or significantly more), however shorter – daily, weekly or monthly – excursions will help you to stay on course and focused in the right direction.
  • Keep tactical goals small – Keep the low-level goals that you’re working towards small and achievable. If a goal is too big, it may seem that you are not making adequate progress. Keeping goals incremental, marked as milestones, provides the means to keep you motivated – not to mention more opportunity for reward.
  • Set performance goals, not outcome goals – Set goals within your control as often as possible. It can be discouraging to fail for reasons beyond your control. If you base your goals on personal performance, then you maintain control over the achievement of your goals, and draw personal satisfaction from your successes.

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The reason most people never reach their goals is that they don’t define them, or ever seriously consider them as believable or achievable…

~Denis Waitley

Have you ever stopped to think about what you want your life to mean? What it is you really want to accomplish? Have you thought about what you want to be doing in ten years… or even five years’ time? Are you clear about what your main objective is at the moment? How does it contribute to your vision for your life? Do you even know what you want to achieve by the end of today?

Many people lose sight of what is important to them and fail to keep a direct line of sight to the why of what they do. It’s easy to lose sight of. From experience, I would say that most people do a whole lot in a day (a month…a year) that adds very little value to their overall life, however they just get lost in the demands of the moment…

By setting aligned goals that are based upon managed timelines, you can add purpose and direction to your life, while at the same time understanding and focusing on the overall why of what you do from day to day… and year to year.

Here is a basic process:

Setting Lifetime Goals

The first step in setting personal goals is to consider what you want to achieve in your lifetime (or at least, by a significant and distant age in the future). Setting lifetime goals gives you an overall perspective that shapes all other aspects of your life, and hence, your decision-making process.

To provide a multi-lane highway for you to travel through life on, it is important to bring broad, balanced coverage to all-important areas in your life. Establish goals in some of the following categories that may be important to you:

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If you want to succeed, you need to set goals. Without goals, you lack focus and direction. Goal setting not only allows you to take control of your life’s direction; it also provides a benchmark to determine if you are actually succeeding. After all, having money in the bank is only proof of success if  your goal is to create wealth and all that comes with it. However, if your real goal is make a difference in this world, the money may only be a milestone on the way to your final destination – or may not play into your life goals at all.

As mentioned earlier in the week, goal setting is a process.  While it is both necessary and critical to set SMART goals, it is particularly useless if you cannot operationalize the process and incorporate it into something you will leverage for your own success. Having established the meaning and specifics behind SMART goals, let’s look at a way to operationalize the process:

1.  Take the most efficient route: State each goal in one sentence – make it SMART.

The single sentence guideline forces you to be focused – stating clearly and plainly what you intend to accomplish. This clarity, right at the beginning of the goal setting process, makes it incredibly powerful. It also makes it straight-forward to check that you are meeting ALL SMART criteria within the context of the guideline.

2.  Appreciate the journey: Understand WHY you have chosen specific goals

Goals, as important as they are, need to have a deeper why or they are not sustainable. There must be an engine that drives them – a commitment to something that matters. Failure to address this challenge will almost certainly result in lack of motivation and failure to attain the milestones necessary to achieve your goals.  Answer this question thoroughly in your own mind and you will be motivated to follow the route to your ultimate destination.

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