Personal and professional goal setting will help you focus your time and energy. The key is to focus on small attainable challenges, visualizing the progress, and then continuing forward.
Dreaming and goal setting are related, but different. Before you set goals, you usually dream about what you want. You visualize yourself with a new job, a new car, crossing the finish line. Goals are dreams with deadlines. You turn your dreams into reality by taking action. Goals have a finish line, dreams can go on forever.
Research has shown that employees have a stronger intrinsic motivation to do a good job than their managers tend to give them credit for. Maurice Schweitzer of Wharton, points to research by Stanford University organizational behavior expert Chip Heath, who “found that people tend to think that other people need extrinsic rewards more often than they really do. … To us, our work is interesting and meaningful, but we tend to think that other people come to work because of money.”
In the 2009 paper titled “Goals Gone Wild: The Systematic Side Effects of Over-Prescribing Goal Setting,” the authors suggest that goal setting should be undertaken modestly and carefully, with a focus more on personal rather than financial gain. Incorporating what the financial gain will impact in your personal life is more effective that stating, I want to make $250,000 next year.
Make sure to incorporate your core values when you begin the process of goal setting. With your core values in mind, you will be better equipped to say yes or no to activities that may get in your way and possibly side track your performance.
John Assaraf, one of the leading behavioral and mindset experts in the world, suggests writing down 3 goals and anticipating the top obstacles that may get in your way. Include a plan to overcome these obstacles. He says to write down your daily rituals that will help you to stay on track with your highest-priority, highest impact activities that need to be accomplished in your day.
Stay focused and believe that you can. Have confidence and find your passions. People tend to fail because they don’t want to put in the work. As John Assaraf often says, “are you interested or committed?” You are the only one that knows the answer to that.
Along the way, celebrate the small wins that will help you to stay motivated. Remember, it is a process. People often make the mistake of solely focusing on the outcome and not the process. You need to ask yourself, “do I have the skill set needed to achieve the goals I have set for myself?” If you don’t then you now know what you need to do. Find a way to acquire them.
Amy Cuddy says, "A lot of research is showing us that we do much better when we focus on incremental change, on little bits of improvement." Cuddy is an expert on human behavior and the author of "Presence: Bringing Your Boldest Self to Your Biggest Challenges." You can also watch one of her numerous videos on YouTube. Cuddy's research suggests that when people feel personally powerful, they become more present: better connected with their own thoughts and feelings, which helps them to better connect with the thoughts and feelings of others.
Most of all, remember goals can change, and so can your values. Once you accomplish a goal, you must stay on a maintenance plan to make sure that you do not lose sight of what it took to make it there. With your new skill set or new habits, you will be able to repeat the goal again and again.
Here are a few questions to ask yourself to help with your goal setting:
Take the time you need to reflect and enjoy building your future life. It’s a process and remember, life is a journey, not a destination.
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