From Goal Setting to Achievement: The Five Golden Rules
Written by Mariateresa Romeo
The beginning of a new year is the moment to sit down and think of what we want to accomplish in the next twelve months.
People with goal-oriented personalities usually enjoy this time of the year and methodically work on their list of short-term and long-term goals. But even those not passionate about goal setting assess the year just passed and think of what they want to achieve in the upcoming months.
Regardless of the number and type of goals, I find it extremely helpful to follow some golden rules to clarify what we want and work in the right direction to achieve it.
1) Be specific
The more, the better in goal setting. Define what you want, writing it down in detail: what will make you say you achieved your goals? Add data, facts, and any possible measurable and demonstratable aspects. Be also very specific about the timing: when do you want this to happen? Set up a particular date, don’t settle for a generic “by the end of the year.”
2) Pay attention to your emotions
How does this goal make you feel? If you imagine you have already achieved it: what are some of your feelings? If you notice fear, anxiety, or discomfort, it might be a red flag for potential emotional roadblocks. Similarly, the lack of enjoyment, excitement, or gratification might have something to do with your level of self-motivation.
3) Share your goals and gain commitment
None is truly self-sufficient, so whatever you plan to achieve, it is imperative to identify the people who can help you. Evaluate if it is enough to make them aware of your goals or if you need them to take concrete actions to help you move forward. Do not limit yourself to communicating your intentions. Proactively ask for their commitment to supporting you in the necessary capacities and ways. Keep the connection along the process; their participation can also be essential for your motivation.
4) Aim to progress, not just movement
Celebrating even the smallest achievements is a great practice as long as they are tangible steps to your destination. The fact you are working hard and completing several tasks in a given time doesn’t necessarily mean you are getting closer to your goal. You must constantly ask yourself if you are on the right path and review your action plan accordingly. At some point, you might also be surprised to realize that you need fewer but more focused actions to proceed.
5) Watch out on the road!
As much as we can engage ourselves, obstacles and unexpected events can always be around the corner. Be flexible and patient. Refrain from decoding delays and changes in your course of action as failures. Under challenging circumstances, keep focusing on your goal and be open to learning from possible mistakes and identifying new solutions. Do not waste your energy comparing yourself to others, but keep proceeding at your own pace.
This article is not intended as the “ultimate guide for goal achievement.” There is much more to say, and it would require writing more than one article on this topic.
However, these five rules result from years of experience coaching and training clients to achieve personal and professional goals. They encompass the key elements of an effective goal-setting and achievement approach. They are valuable guidelines for everyone, whether they are working on their purposes or helping others in this process.
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