A System For Goal Setting
Most people will agree that goal setting is an important strategy in obtaining what we desire. If you don't set goals you will not know what to look for to determine whether an achivement was truly a success or not. The sad thing is that only a very small part of those who understand the need for setting goals actually take the time to figure out what they really want to accomplish and outline a plan for reaching them. It goes without saying that with this approach or shall we say lack of approach, determining which accomplishments are successful or not will be a little arbitrary; 'more self reliant', 'a raise in salary', 'clear skin', 'a new home' or 'a new car'. It has been proven time after time that the more specific your goal is, the more you are likely to achieve it and the more likely you are to know when you have or have not achieved them.
Goals should move you ahead. When you make your goals absolute and precise you will know what to look for to find out if you have achieved them. If they are to general you can't really know if you have reached your goals or they can even mislead you into achieving something other than you planned for. Setting precise goals functions as an instrumental part or reference of any self improvement regimen.
Goals forms an hierarchical system: There are many levels of goals. They spring from your deepest values and are transformed via various levels to precise day-by-day action plans for accomplishing what you really want. So, what do you really want? Are you sure the first goal that appeared in your mind is what you really want deep inside?
To summarize so far:
A system for setting goals in a certain area must include:
- your main or ultimate goal in this area, which all other goals are just a tranformation of
- your end goal(s); which is a detailed and precise action plan for acheiving your main goal.
You must be sure what you really want to accomplish in a certain area according to your true values and you must know precisely what to do to acheive it.
Now, I'd like to tell you about a method of setting goals that I have used successfully myself.
The 'Why 'How method' for setting goals
Take the first goal that appears in your mind right now. Let's say you've found out that your big problem is that you just don't have enough money from month to month and this is the rock in the road for you whatever you try to accomplish. So your goal is 'to get rich'. Now you have two ways to go to elaborate and fullfill your work of setting goals and you should go both ways.
Ask yourself; Is 'getting rich' my real goal or is this just a means to reach another, deeper goal? Ask yourself; Why do I want to get rich? Think over it for a while and write down all reasons why you want to accomplish the goal that has appeared in your mind. It might be; Financial security, freedom to travel where you want, freedom to visit any concert or opera-house you want, freedom to have a home you really feel confortable with etc. Whichever answer you give, continue to ask "Why" until you are not able to find any more reasons. If you have been honest with yourself, you probably found your deepest value, which equals the main goal you try to accomplish by 'getting rich'.
Now, when you have revealed your ultimate goal or value by asking 'Why?', then start to figure out how to accomplish it. Let's say you have come to the goal in your goal hierarchy that says 'getting rich'. Your question now is: 'How do I get rich?' Your answer might be 'Getting more income.' Next 'how much higher an income do I want, which also means; how rich do I want to be?" Then your answer might be '$20,000'. Continue asking 'How?' until you have made a precise action plan of what you will do to get these increased income of $20,000.
Reach milestones on your way
A goal can also be devided into several parts or milestones which marks that it is on it's way to being fullfilled. Let's take the $20,000 goal example. Let's say one of your end goal is to:
- 'earn $20,000 within two years by promoting affiliate programs on 50 websites where each website is making you $16.67 per month on average.'
- you should divide this goal into several smaller goals or milestones, let's say one part of your goal is reached when you have earned $1000, one when you have reached $5,000, $10,000 etc. This way your goal achieving process becomes much more motivating and fun when you see the results fairly often.
Room for adjustments
A system for setting goals should also include a procedure for periodic adjustments; some actions are more likely to help you reach your goals faster than others. You'll only know which actions or end goals these are by having a goal system that enables you to try out different action plans or end goals. You simply execute the end goals or action plans than you planned initially. If they work carry on with them and if they don't or if you think of other ways that can fulfill your ultimate goal faster or better, than go for them. So, don't forget that your system for setting goals must include this option also.
About the Author: Terje Brooks Ellingsen is a writer and Sociologist who runs http://www.1st-self-improvement.net/. He writes about self help issues like goal setting for self improvement, see http://www.1st-self-improvement.net/index.htm and career issues, see http://www.1st-self-improvement.net/take_command_of_your_career.htm