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Effective Goal Setting Words

The words you use in goal setting are very important. There are different opinions amongst experts about which words work best when you set goals 'but there are also points on which most experts agree.

Let's assume that you want to set a goal in relation to getting fitter. Maybe you're a bit overweight or you just feel sluggish.

First, there is general agreement that the first word in your goal statement should be 'I'.

Next, the second word should be a verb in the present tense. So for example, rather than saying I will be fitter, it's better to say 'I am' fitter.

Third, you need to be specific. Saying I am fitter is too vague. Let's say that you want to be able to run a mile in 6 minutes. You could word your goal 'I run a mile in 6 minutes'. It may well be that currently it takes you 10 minutes to run a mile 'or maybe you can't even run a mile. Forget that. You need to state your goal as if you can already achieve it.

Now here are two points about goal setting wording on which experts disagree. My suggestion to you is that you test out for yourself to see what works.

First, some people say you should put a time deadline on your goal. Others disagree. If I was setting a new goal today, I would not set a time deadline unless the time deadline was significant. For example, maybe you want to lose weight by your wedding day.

When you set a goal, and also every time when you write down you goal or speak it to yourself, you are giving instructions to the goal seeking part of your brain called the reticular activating system. This part of your brain cannot tell the difference between 'truth' and 'fiction'. Your mind will help you achieve your goal regardless of time deadlines.

Second, most goals gurus say that you should set goals which, in your own mind, are realistically achievable. The other opinion is that you should set goals which are possible but extremely unlikely. I prefer to set goals which I consider to be realistically achievable. Your mind will only help you if your self image believes that the goal is possible. You can read more about this in my article on psycho-cybernetics

You might also find it useful to read my article on setting goals which gives advice on other elements of goal setting.

About the Author

Stuart Warner publishes, a personal goals resource center with articles and tips to help you achieve your personal goals


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