Seven Steps To Achieving Your Goals
This is the time of year when many goal setting gurus
being to talk about reflecting on your goals for the past year and looking
ahead to the new goals you will create for the coming year. I recognize the
huge importance of having goals but I also think it is useless to talk about
goal setting without an even stronger focus on goal attainment.
Anyone whose ever celebrate the New Year has set a goal but what takes goal
setting to the next level? Iíd like to share with you my seven-step system
for actually reaching and attaining your goals. Are you ready?
Step 1: Begin at the End:
Many experts in goal setting will tell you that you must begin at the end.
Imagine yourself and all you want to accomplish in the future. That way you
can develop the roadmap of just how to get there.
After all, you wouldnít get on a plane without knowing its destination,
would you? Then why would you live your life that way? Decide right now, to
the best of your ability where you want to end up when itís all over.
Stephen Covey in The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People says his second habit
is: ďBegin with the End in Mind.Ē He suggests that you imagine your own
funeral and just what you want family, friends and community members to say
about you, your character and your accomplishments. That way you will be able
to plan step-by-step what exactly you will need to do to get there.
What is your purpose? What are your unique skills, talents and abilities that
help you to contribute to humankind? If you arenít sure, take some time to
daydream about it. Keep trying new things until you find something you love
and at which you excel.
Step 2: Balance is the Key:
Many times when you think of setting goals, you focus on the area of
professional objectives. While this is a very important part of your goal
setting strategy, it shouldnít be your only center of attention. You are so
much more than what you do at work, arenít you?
Think about it. At the end of your life, do you think you will be looking back
regretting that you didnít work harder? Probably not. So, when you have a
goal setting strategy session, you must look at all the important areas of
your life. When I do my goal sessions, I look at work, love, play and
There are many systems out there that divide our lives into different focal
areas. I donít favor one over any others. My advice is that you find one
that works for you and set goals in each of those areas.
Step 3: Take Stock: Where are you now? What are your strengths?
What would you have to give up?
As important as knowing where you are going is knowing where you are right
now. Itís impossible to get good directions anywhere unless the person
giving directions knows where you are starting from.
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Take the time to scrutinize the reality of your life. Where do you stand in
each of the areas you identified in Step 2? This is not a time to be overly
critical or overly optimistic. Just take an honest look at your current
Then make an assessment of your strengths. Enumerating your strengths can be
very helpful in setting future goals. Sometimes itís your strengths that
will make goal attainment possible.
Finally, I ask you to answer the question, ďWhat would you have to give up
to be successful with this particular goal?Ē When you have your answer, you
must then assess if it will be worth it. Many times we donít move forward
toward our goals because of fears that remain just out of our conscious
awareness. We must bring them to the forefront where they can be confronted
Step 4óWork Backwards/Time Management:
Once you know what you are striving for and where you are, then you plot out
the course to get you there. You can have 10-year, 5-year, 3-year, 1-year,
3-month, 1-month, 1-week and daily goals. I generally review my big picture
goals quarterly and set my shorter goals according.
While doing some positive goal setting, it is important to attend to time
management issues. These things will not happen unless you prioritize and
protect your time to do the things that you have identified as important.
Step 5: Affirmations/Visualizations/Meditations:
This is not just some new age hog wash. There has been extensive brain
research that backs up the use of affirmations, visualizations and meditation.
If you are serious about accomplishing your goals you must write them down.
Back in 1953, a Harvard University study showed that 3% of the students
graduating that year actually wrote down their specific career goals. Twenty
years later, a team of researchers interviewed the class of 1953, and found
that the 3% who had written down their goals were worth more financially than
the other 97% combined. (Make no mistake, writing down goals pays off, big
An affirmation is simply writing your goal as if it were already true in the
present moment. You then say these affirmations daily, at least once but more
if possible. Be very clear about what you are trying to accomplish.
A visualization is just like a mental rehearsal. In your mindís eye, you
imagine what life would be like if you had the goal accomplished. The more
vivid and sensory-based you can make your visualization, the more effective it
Meditation is a quiet time you take to get in touch with your inner self or
your higher power. It is a time of deep reflection where you may ask questions
and seek answers from a place or entity that has the answers.
Step 6: Positive Attitude:
There is a Universal Law of Attraction that says we attract into our lives
that which we focus on. If we are focused on what we donít have, then we
will bring more lack into our lives. If we are constantly complaining about
our bad luck, then that is what we can expect.
When working in harmony with our true selves, it is important to maintain an
attitude of gratitude. Even when things donít go as you planned, you can
always be grateful for the lessons learned along the way.
Step 7: Continuous Improvement/Staying Motivated:
This may be the difference between goal setting and goal attainment. The first
part is never being satisfied that you have arrived. There is always something
more that you can do, another improvement that you can make. Life is a
Staying motivated is a challenge. Sometimes meeting our goals will motivate
us; sometimes it has the opposite effect. I find having an accountability
partner, a coach or a mastermind group to whom I am accountable makes all the
difference. I can promise myself Iím going to do something all day long. If
I donít, who will be the wiser? However, when I say out loud to someone else
what my intentions are, then my integrity wonít let me fail.
Stop goal setting and start goal attaining. 2007 can be your year!
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Kim has consulted on training, leadership development,
diversity, treatment programs and management styles. She has a graduate degree
in counseling. For more information about achieving your goals go to www.coachingforexcellence.biz/goalsSL.htm
and sign up for our f.ree teleclass