3 Tips for Effective Goal Setting

Goal setting is the art of defining what it is you actually want, and then taking proactive steps to obtain your goal.

In life, we are always working towards certain goals, whether we realise it or not. When you tidy up your home, you are pursuing the goal of having a neat living space. When you go grocery shopping, you’re pursuing the goal of having something for dinner. And when you go to work, you are pursuing the goal of earning money, among other things.

Since goals are inevitable in life, you may as well set yourself some large and ambitious goals that you can get excited about.

Here are a few tips for effective goal setting.

Define exactly what it is you want, but then break down the larger goal into subsections

The first step to effective goal setting is to define exactly what it is you want. It may be, for example, that you have a specific dream home vision that you want to turn into a reality.

Good, but how exactly do you go about that?

That’s where the second step of effective goal setting comes in. Once you’ve defined exactly what it is you want, you then need to break down the larger goal into subsections. Fortunately, it’s not necessary for you to have a complete action plan laid out from day one that encompasses every step along the way. Just figure out the next couple of actions down the line at any one point.

With regards to your dream home, for example, a useful sub-goal would be to contact interior architects and get their feedback.

Consider setting goals that are focused around “moments” rather than “data”

A lot of people set goals in a very mechanical sort of way, that focuses on data points rather than the actual human sensation of achieving a goal.

The book, “The Power of Moments,” however, suggests that we are way more motivated by the thought of how we will feel in specific moments, than we are by empirical concepts.

So, try this next time you’re setting a goal: instead of setting yourself a goal like “I will be 21lbs lighter by the end of the year,” formulate a goal along the lines of “on the first day of the New Year, I will fit into my old pair of jeans and I will feel great as I wear them into town.”

See the difference? The first goal is detached. The second goal connects directly with the human emotional element.

Support each goal with appropriate systems

Dilbert creator Scott Adams has argued against goal setting, in favour of establishing “systems,” by which he means daily routines and habits.

In fact, it’s probably a good idea to set goals and to then support each goal with appropriate systems, instead.

A goal to lose a certain amount of weight by a certain date, for example, doesn’t necessarily present you with a clear path forward. That’s where systems come in.

A system for weight loss would be something like “I will stop eating each day by 8 PM, and I’ll go to the gym on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays.”

Systems aren’t necessarily glamorous, but they are necessary for getting you to your goals.

*This is a collaborative post*

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