The first lesson in setting goals is writing your goals down. The simple exercise of writing them down makes your goals visible and tangible and turns them into more than just a thought. Now it’s a commitment. To emphasize and strengthen the success rate of your goals you need to describe your goals in detail. It would seem by now there is a consensus that the best way of setting goals is to set SMART goals. SMART is simply the acronym of the following words:

Specific

Measurable

Attainable

Realistic

Timely

To elaborate a little on this, it means for you to set goals that are specific and measurable. So in other words, don’t just say: “I want to lose weight”, but say e.g. “I want to lose 10 kilos”. “Don’t say I want to earn a lot of money”, instead say e.g. I want to earn 1 million dollars”.

When you identify goals that are most important to you, you begin to figure out ways you can make them come true. You develop the attitudes, abilities, skills, and financial capacity to reach them. You begin seeing previously overlooked opportunities to bring yourself closer to the achievement of your goals.

You can attain most any goal you set when you plan your steps wisely and establish a time frame that allows you to carry out those steps. Goals that may have seemed far away and out of reach eventually move closer and become attainable, not because your goals shrink, but because you grow and expand to match them. When you list your goals you build your self-image. You see yourself as worthy of these goals, and develop the traits and personality that allow you to possess them. Make your goals attainable.

Make your goals realistic. To be realistic, a goal must represent an objective toward which you are both willing and able to work. A goal can be both high and realistic; you are the only one who can decide just how high your goal should be. But be sure that every goal represents substantial progress.

A high goal is frequently easier to reach than a low one because a low goal exerts low motivational force. Some of the hardest jobs you ever accomplished actually seem easy simply because they were a labor of love.

A goal should be grounded within a time frame. With no time frame tied to it there’s no sense of urgency. If you want to lose 10 kilos, when do you want to lose it by? “Someday” won’t work. But if you anchor it within a timeframe, “by May 1st”, then you’ve set your unconscious mind into motion to begin working on the goal.
Your goal is probably realistic if you truly believe that it can be accomplished. Additional ways to know if your goal is realistic is to determine if you have accomplished anything similar in the past or ask yourself what conditions would have to exist to accomplish this goal.

T can also stand for Tangible – A goal is tangible when you can experience it with one of the senses, that is, taste, touch, smell, sight or hearing.

When your goal is tangible you have a better chance of making it specific and measurable and thus attainable.

Remember also that “Whatever the mind of man can conceive and believe, it can achieve”, (Napoleon Hill). There are no unrealistic goals (almost), but there are unrealistic deadlines. When you reach the deadline of your goal, but did not meet your goal, just readjust your deadline and set a new deadline.

It is also a great idea to keep your goals visible, so keep your written goals visible, bring them with you wherever you go and revisit and review them often. Hang a copy of them by your desk or in your briefcase. This will act as reminders and help you keep focused on where you wish to go and what you wish to attain.

Motivational speaker Anthony Robbins always reminds us that we need to look at our “WHY”. What is your WHY? Why do you want to attain your specific goals? Why are these important to you? Why do you want these goals to come to fruition? If your why is big enough, it means your desire is big enough and the likelihood of you obtaining the goals increase, since you will also likely be doing more active actions towards the goals on a continuous basis. If your why is unimportant to you, you are likely to loose focus on moving towards your goals or likely to give up once your hit obstacles or challenges. But if your desire is big enough, your are likely to push on through even when the going gets tough. Your WHY is very important as this will be an instrumental driver of your energy and focus towards your goals. So important in fact that Anthony Robbins places probably most focus this way he even calls himself “The Why Guy”.

Mikkel Pitzner Talking With Brian Tracy

Another mentor of mine, Mr. Brian Tracy, has 12 ingredients to successful goal setting. They are as follows:

1. Have a Desire. You must have an intense, burning desire for your particular goal.

2. Believe That Your Goal Is Achievable. You must believe it to be possible in your heart that you can attain your goal.

3. Write Your Goal Down. Studies have shown that those who write it down consistently do better than those who don’t and more often achieve their goals. Mr. Tracy actually suggests that you rewrite your top goals once every day.

4. Determine Your Starting Point. When you assess your situation by analyzing your starting point, you are forced to be honest with yourself. This enables you to set goals that are believable and achievable rather than setting goals that may be unattainable and self-defeating.

5. Determine Why You Want It. List all the reasons why you want to achieve these goals. The reasons and especially the benefits become your fuel for going forward. The more reasons you can think of, the more intense will be your desire and the deeper will be your belief and your conviction that your goal is attainable.

6. Set A Deadline. As has been described above you need to set your goals time bound. If your goal is really big you can set subdeadlines.

7. Identify The Obstacles In Your Way. Why aren’t you at your goal already? What is blocking you? What is holding you back? Sometimes asking these questions will reveal some important truths that you need to face – often truths about yourself. And oftentimes you will then come to a point where you need to ask yourself the question: How much do I want to achieve this goal?

8. Determine The Additional Knowledge And Skills You Need. Ask yourself: What one skill, if I developed and did it in an excellent fashion, would help me the most to achieve this goal?

9. Determine The People Whose Help You Will Need. Relationships are important so make sure you develop good relationships. You are probably not going to achieve your goals without some help.

10. Make A Plan: Put It All Together. This is an organized list of what you need to do in order to move forth towards achieving your goals and it starts with your assessment of where you are now; your starting point.

11. Visualize Your Goal Continually. Visualize it as if you already had achieved your goal. Repeat this exercise often.

12. Never Give Up. You must be persistent and have determination. Make the decision that you will push on through long before you face the obstacles that make come your way.

You can read more about goal setting in Mr. Brian Tracy’s book “Goals! – How to Get Everything You Want – Faster Tan You Ever Thought Possible”, which is a great read and which I highly recommend.

You become what you think about most of the time. Your outer world ultimately becomes a reflection of your inner world. Your outer world of experience mirrors back to you what you think about most of the time. Whatever you think about continuously emerges in your reality. 

Brian Tracy