In 2010, the world descended upon South Africa and, a midst the melodic sounds of vuvuselas we all wanted to hear just one victorious chant, “It’s a goal!” As the ball sails into the back of the net we rose in unison to salute the victorious sides and reminded the opposition that their days were numbered.
Whether it is Bafana Bafana, Brazil or your son’s Under 10 team, we all know the great feeling of a goal being scored. So let’s spare a thought for the humble goal. Its name is used every day in every context from sport to business to our personal lives. But alas, its name is often used in vain as we set our sights on a desired future state – losing those 10 kgs, running that marathon, making the financial target. Apart from sport, goals are, in fact, very hard to achieve especially if we have no plan in mind. Let’s look at how to work with our brains to make goals really work:
5 Little Steps to Achieving Goals
1. Detail and Date
The brain loves and requires 2 key elements when setting a goal:
Specific action, written down
Specific completion date
When the conscious mind sets a goal this way it sends an ‘e-mail’ to the amazingly and powerful subconscious part of the brain with the instruction, ‘Do this!’. In fact, if you only do this and never look at the goal again, you will have a 30% chance of achieving it. Write down as many goals as you need, to achieve your long term dream
2. Commit to Review Regularly (It’s not that hard)
Diarise to review your goals every 60 to 90 days. Why? If you review your written goals during these periods you with increase your chance of achievement from 30% to between 60 and 80 percent! In other words, you can more than triple your chances of success by reviewing. I do this every year. I set 30 life goals, encompassing all areas of my life. I revisit them regularly throughout the year and write down what I will accomplish each quarter. At Christmas I do an overall evaluation and I am constantly impressed with the high percentage of results I attain. My brain is a loyal friend indeed. One example is the goal I set to increase our business turnover by 250% within 2 years. In anyone’s books that’s big ask! I set the goal, revisited it and worked on the specific areas that I needed to focus on each day. Within 15 months I was at 122% and 18 months at 200%. I planned to reach the outstanding 50% in the remaining six months and did! The best part is that it was so fulfilling to challenge myself to get to the eventual goal. Someone once defined happiness as the gradual realization of a worthy goal.
3. Diarise and Do!
Setting a goal with a date is imperative but there is a next step…put the next action to be taken in your diary, then do it.There are four ‘Ds’ when dealing with any piece of info. Do one of the following:
Dump it (File 13)
In my case, I diarised it, then did it on the day you scheduled for the goal. If you fail to do the action on the diarised day, carry it over until it is well and truly done
4. Reward Yourself
Few people reach their goals so when you do, find a way to reward yourself. Buy yourself that fountain pen, go to that movie or take that extra hour for lunch to walk along the beach barefoot. So often we forget to give ourselves some praise but we are more than willing to focus on our failures. Give yourself a pat on the back, not a smack on the head.
5. Keep on Keeping on
When you get into the mindset of setting and achieving awesome goals you will want to keep on setting new and more challenging ones to take you to the next level of success. If you have attained one goal, replace it with another. Build your goal ‘ladder’ one step at a time. Never stop, make this a lifelong habit. If you apply these 5 steps you will join an illustrious group of people: the top 3% of the most successful people in the world all have written goals.You are becoming the best you could ever be. Goals are the driving force to get you there.
I have been doing this since 1986 and am constantly amazed by the power of the humble goal.
This all starts with your dream list. Think about where you want to be in each area of your life 3-5 years from now. Consider the following areas of your life:
- Health & fitness
- Personal development
Once the list is complete, just think of what you will do in the next quarter to start getting to the overall goal.