Three Steps for Positive Goal Setting
As I conduct my Time Management Seminars all over, my audiences consistently
tell me they want more out of life. Almost everyone I speak with has a
yearning for improving several aspects of their lives. They have dreams and
goals about their future as yet unrealized.
Many come to the end in life with those visions unrealized, pictures in
their minds only.
Achieving goals helps us to get the "want to's in our lives. Life ought to
be more than just achieving the "have to's".
I offer three important tips to help increase the probability of achieving
your dreams, getting more of what you want in your life.
1. Put your goals into writing. There is something powerful about writing
out what you want, getting your dream out of your head and on to a piece of
paper. It then seems more realizable. It's a stonger affirmation of what you
are working towards rather than having a vague, wispy notion floating around
in your head.
An even stronger tool is to prepare a goal scrapbook. Nothing fancy. Get a
three-ring binder and fill it with notebook paper. Then get a picture of
each your goals and paste them into your new goal scrapbook. You ca go to
the car dealer and get a brochure of the new car you want. Visit a travel
agent and pick up brochures of your ideal vacation's destination and add
that. Clip a picture of your dream house out of the newspaper's real estate
section and add this as well.
Then, each night, review your goal scrapbook and see a picture of what will
surely be coming to you. It's like viewing a crystal ball and seeing your
2. Quantify your goals. Many do not get what they truly want in their lives
because they are too vague about what they want. It is not enough to say, "I
want more money" or "I want to be rich". Instead, if you write, "I want
$10,000", you now have a clear target to shoot for.
3. Set a deadline. Did you ever set a New Year's resolution and never
achieve it? Most people have. And most people fail to achieve their dreams
because they did not include a deadline with their goal. Deadlines move us
When we fail to include a deadline for our goal, when we commit to achieving
it "as soon as possible", the goal winds up in our "as soon as possible"
pile of things I will do another day, which is probably never. Why? Because
we all too much to do and not enough time to get it all done. The items that
have deadlines for completion tend to bubble up in priority and importance
so that we take action and achieve them.
Having written out the goal, placed a picture in our goal scrapbook,
quantified it, and set a deadline, we can now break that goal down into its
little component pieces so that achievement becomes realistic and
The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. No goal
achievement is a leap across some huge canyon. Many are intimidated and
driven away from going after what they really want in their lives for fear
they will have to take a giant leap across that canyon and, hey, what if I
don't leap far enough? Disaster.
Let's say you have a goal to get an additional $10,000 in savings two years
from today. Make up a picture of your new bank statement two years from now
showing the additional $10,000 in your account. The goal is in writing. It
is quantified and a deadline has been set. Now you can break that goal into
its little steps for achievement.
To get $10,000 over the next two years requires getting an additional $5,000
per year. A year is made up of twelve months, so that means you need to get
approximately $400 per month. A month is made up of four weeks, so that's
$100 per week. And a week is made of, let's say, five business days. That's
$20 per day. (I have not added in interest to these calculations just for
I don't know about you, but the notion of going out in the world tomorrow
and getting an extra $20 is a whole lot more realistic and certainly a whole
more doable than getting $10,000. Getting the entire $10,000 is the leap
across the canyon. It scares me. $20 is the single step. That's something I
can handle. Now the goal seems realistic and is realizable.
But until you write out your goal, quantify it, and set a deadline so that
you break it down to its small steps, it will forever appear to be too big a
stretch and therefore unattainable. But every time you follow these three
steps and break the goal down, you will always find that you have within
your control what it takes to accomplish that next step. And once you begin,
you are on your way!
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About the Author
Dr. Donald E. Wetmore
Time Management Seminars
60 Huntington St., P.O. Box 2126
Shelton, CT 06484
(800) 969-3773 (203) 929-9902 Fax: (203) 929-8151
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