Since we were kids, we always had an aspiration or goal of some sort. Some of us wanted to become doctors, lawyers, or astronauts. Others were more specific, wanting to own the complete collection of The Simpsons by 20, owning a two-bedroom house by 25 or a having a $5000 a month job by 30. Goal setting has been with us since forever. But, really, is thinking up and dreaming about the goals we have set all there is to it? Of course, not.
Goal setting is not simply about expressing what we want out of life, but also having the drive, the perseverance and the action to reach them and make them happen.
There are several methods to effective goal setting. Here are five of the most basic:
1. Write down the goals you have set.
While our brains have the capacity to save information and remember what they absorb, our goals could get lost and forgotten somewhere between our favorite soap opera and the bills we have to pay. Goal setting works best if we write down the things and events we want to happen, so that we can frequently keep track and check if we are still on the right path. Get creative with your goal setting list. Place them were you see them often so you’ll never forget.
2. Set a goal that satisfies what you truly want; not just something that would impress others.
Be true to yourself. Goal setting does not work if what you’re aspiring for is for the pleasure and awe of others. Your goal should be something that would make you happy and benefit YOU. After all, you’re the one who is going to be working for it.
3. Avoid setting contradicting goals. Be realistic.
For a simpler example, you cannot write down “set aside $500 from salary this month” if you’re earning only $800 a month and have a $250 rent. How would you survive on a $50 monthly?
While saving $500 seems like a very good idea and could lead to a fat savings account in no time, it is not realistic. Set your goals based on what you can truly work with.
4. Try to be more detailed when goal setting.
This will help you identify your next move more easily. For instance, “buy a $99 iPod shuffle in one month” is easier to work for than simply setting “buy an iPod”. Not only will the more specific goal be easier to achieve, it will also be more satisfying because there would be no confusion or what-ifs along the way.
5. Stick to your goals. Avoid straying.
If you’ve written down, “save $5 from daily expense allocation” then do so diligently. Don’t set aside $2 today and just keep a mental note to keep $8 the next day. Be consistent. Cheating on your goal setting list is like cheating on yourself. This is more effective for short-term goals, of course. If you had originally written “own a Honda Scooter by 30” yesterday, surely you can change that and aim higher for a Honda Civic if you find yourself earnings $8000 a month at 25.
The keys to effective goal setting are consistency and discipline. In short, know exactly what you want, to be able get exactly what you want and more. Keep these goal setting tips in mind always and, who knows, your dreams could become reality in no time!