Goal setting is not a new topic. For decades, CEOs, psychologists, and educators have sung the praises and benefits of setting both short-term and long-term goals from communication courses online. Goals are the first stepping stone to self-improvement and can provide you with a clear focus on what you want to achieve and the individual steps needed to get there.
While there is significant research surrounding goal setting within business practices, goals are not just for employees and organisations. Goal setting can easily be integrated into your personal life; however, without proper planning and focus on the goals you set may be hard to reach.
Setting effective goals
A famous quote from Walt Disney exclaims, “If you can dream it, you can do it.” However, setting unrealistic goals that are hard to achieve is a sure-fire way to becoming quickly demotivated and disappointed. It is generally best practice to set goals following the SMART method:
- Specific: make sure your goal has a clear objective, using real, quantifiable outcomes. Instead of saying “I want to be able to run further”, say “I want to be able to run 6 miles within 6 months.”
- Measurable: ensure that you are able to track improvements in your goal so that you can see clear results.
- Achievable: work towards a goal that is a challenge but not impossible.
- Realistic: understand your target, but also understand what you are capable of. Avoid setting goals that are well out of reach.
- Time-bound: have a set time frame that you will work within towards your goal, and give yourself a deadline to have it completed.
Staying motivated in achieving your goals
Procrastination is the killer of success, and staying motivated is easier said than done. However, the following key strategies can help you stay focused and on track to reaching your goals.
Produce a plan with deadlines
A large, long-term goal may seem daunting and unreachable. By breaking it up into smaller milestones and setting a specific timeframe in which to reach them, you can give yourself an actionable plan.
Reward yourself when you hit deadlines
Dopamine is a neurotransmitter released when we experience achievement and creates a sense of pleasure that helps motivate a person to keep achieving. When you hit a deadline or major milestone, compound on this dopamine release by celebrating the little wins and rewarding yourself! This will make you more motivated to follow through with the remaining milestones to achieve your overall goal.
Visual learner? Plot your progress
Not everyone can keep their progress and milestones in their brain bank. If you work best with visual materials such as pictures, graphs, or tables, try plotting your progress! Creating a bar chart showing how far you’ve gotten and how much left you need to achieve is a great way to visualise your goal and stay focused on achieving the remaining steps.
When it comes to staying focused on accomplishing your goals, it might seem like there is always something standing in the way. Everyone has fallen victim to procrastination. However, the most important step to reach your goals is to simply get started.