Effective Goal Setting (+ a FREE Goal Setting Guide Download)
Goal setting seems to be getting a lot harder these days. Between our overly busy schedules and the pressure we feel to achieve goals that are often unrealistic, it’s no wonder that so many are suffering the effects of chronic stress, anxiety and depression.
What’s more, the word ‘goal’ is beginning to be thrown around rather loosely, especially on social media. Think about it, the word “goals” has become such a common feature in Instagram comments sections that it’s hard to separate the simple “desire” of achieving what a particular post shows from the actual ability and effort involved in doing so. Luckily, there are a few things you can do to avoid feeling overwhelmed by your goals and get excited about them instead.
1. Have a vision
Ultimately, goal setting is all about having a vision for where you want to end up in the future. This is the exciting part about goal setting because you get to explore all areas of your life. What do you value most? What problems in the world do you wish to see solved? What do you want to accomplish in 6 months to even five years from now? Envision the wonderful things you have planned for your life and have fun getting lost in these dreams. Write them down using our ‘Future Life’ page in our goal setting guide and don’t look back.
2. Write down long-term goals
Long-term goals are all about the big picture and are not going to be accomplished overnight. In fact, many of these long-term goals will be the dreams you’ve written down on your ‘Future Life’ page. Just because something might take a long time to achieve doesn’t mean you shouldn’t start. Think as big and as bold as you possibly can and believe in yourself enough to try. Long-term goals are totally achievable, especially when divided into smaller chunks.
3. Break long-term goals up into short-term goals
Once you have your long-term goals in place, it’s important to divide them up into smaller, more manageable steps. This is where our ‘Set Your Goals’ page comes in handy. Start by writing your big goal in the box to the left and then jot down the steps you plan to take to achieve that goal. The SMART method is a popular way of setting these short-term goals. If you are unfamiliar with SMART goals, they are goals that are:
So, instead of saying: “I want to read more about business and leadership development this year”, rather say: “I will read 1 chapter of a leadership book every night before bed”. See how the second step is more specific? A second step to help you achieve your goal of reading and learning more this year might be reading a book by a new author by a specific date. These goals are a lot less daunting and easier to commit to.
4. Have a plan of action
Finally, you’re ready to make your goals a reality. That’s where our ‘Goal Action Plan’ page comes in. By now you’ve written down your long and short-term goals, but it is your action (or lack thereof) that will determine whether or not these goals are realised. This step is all about figuring out how you plan to achieve your goals in the amount of time you’ve assigned to them. Start by writing your goal in the top left block of the page and allot an estimated time in which to achieve it underneath. To the right, write the reason why you have set this goal for yourself. The action steps you choose to follow should continuously be leading you towards your goals while your milestones are the little “wins” along the way for which you should reward yourself or the teams you are empowering.
To avoid becoming overwhelmed by this goal setting process, choose no more than three goals you’d like to work on achieving this year. These goals don’t necessarily need to be accomplished by the end of the year, but you must start working on them right away. Our free goal setting guide makes the process so much easier and we can’t wait to start using it to set goals of our own.