It has actually taken me a long period of time to discover ways to efficiently set practical goals. As I made errors and figured out what worked for me, I thought I was uncommon-- I thought everyone easily set goals except for me. Over the years as I've dealt with and mentored people, however, I've discovered my situation was not that unusual-- in fact, it's much more usual than we think.
We've all been told that we need to set goals, and we presume that we can-- however most of us have never ever been shown ways to set goals effectively so they are down-to-earth and attainable.
Among the most sobering goal setting data I discovered in my research on setting New Year's resolutions was that 25 % of resolutions were broken in the first week. And the probabilities didn't get much better for the first couple months-- among fitness center goers, 80 % drop out within eight weeks.
I think a huge part of this is due to not having realistic objectives-- without something to shoot to, it's simple to get dissuaded and quit. It's hard enough to make changes in our life and achieve exactly what we prefer-- if your objective is unrealistic, or not well defined, then you're starting out with an immediate handicap.
So, what can you do to keep your objectives on track? Here are 5 tricks for setting realistic goals.
1. Bite Off What You Can Chew
If the steps along the way to your huge objective are big themselves, when are you going to find the time, energy or gumption to do them? If you realistically have only 2 hours a week right now to dedicate to building your dream career, then set a practical objective of dedicating 2 hours a week to certain tasks towards that end.
2. Set Short Term Milestones
Objectives that are far out of reach are easy to procrastinate on and put off. It's great to have long term dreams-- however in the short run, you should have regular mile stones too.
For instance, if your goal is to write a story, as opposed to simply stating you'll write a book this year and leave it at that, instead dedicate to a particular amount of pages or words a month-- these short-term milestones will help you remain on track, and will make your long term objective a lot more manageable.
3. Be Accountable
A bunch of people like to have an accountability friend with whom they share there successes and demonstrate their 'on-task, on-time' commitment to, on a weekly or monthly basis. This isn't really a benefit or chastisement scheme (although benefits are fine:)). This is a method to eventually hold yourself liable to completing your steps on the roadway to success.
Some of the most seemingly miraculous goal accomplishments have actually come when individuals start with the end result in mind and compose their steps in reverse. Yep, they 'back-engineer' their own success. It's kind of like doing a maze backwards-- a lot much easier than figuring it out from start to complete.
5. Start With Just One End goal
A classic error that I see over and over, and that I've made often times myself, is to be overzealous and try to alter too many things at one time. You may decide you want to turn your life around and set out to complete a laundry list of goals at once.
Sadly, attempting to complete too many things simultaneously is regularly a formula for failure. For the majority of people, altering too many elements of their lives needs a frustrating quantity of self-control, and ends up being unlikely.
I choose the technique advocated in Zen To Done-- set one objective at a time, then as you get that objective under control, slowly include even more objectives into the mix.
If you wish to develop a life that's satisfying, then it's a good concept to set some really clear objectives. Huge dreams and huge goals are fantastic, and everyone who aspires to anything needs to have an objective or two (or 3 or 4) that are so big they're scary. However here's the thing: the secret to attaining the intermediary objectives that'll get you there is practical setting goal.
Below's a handy video on how you can set realistic goals: