THE ART OF SETTING GOALS

  • Post category:Personal Growth
  • Reading time:12 mins read

Every achievement starts with setting goals. Without goals, you are not ready to go. Goals are destinations that you want to get to by following a certain path. Goals will tell you how far you are from success and notify you once you get to your destination. There can be no success without goals.

In football, imagine playing in a field that has no goalposts. It is not even imaginable. Every player will be running just anyhow, hitting the ball anywhere and doing whatever they want. There would be no celebration because there would be no scores. There would be no determination because there is no destination. The goalposts make the game of football enjoyable and controllable.

Without a destination, there can be no determination

This is what happens in the life of a person who has no goals. They will be very uncontrollable, they will be doing just anything because they do not have anything they want to achieve. Their lives will not be fun because they are not struggling to achieve anything. They will have no reason for celebration because they will not know when they score. In such a case, life will be very BORING, very UNINTERESTING and extremely UNFULFILLING.

Laziness is a product of poor goals setting or lack of it. You cannot have proper goals and be lazy. People will spend hours upon hours watching television and on social media just because they do not have anything they are striving to achieve. People who have goals have no time to waste, they need more time. They would be willing to buy the time lazy people waste in unproductive activities if it were possible. People who are striving to achieve something will be so occupied working on their goals that they get NO TIME TO WASTE in activities that do not add value to their lives and push them closer to their dreams.

Apart from laziness, indulgence in all sorts of evil activities is a product of a lack of goals in life. The human mind is fashioned to work always. If you are not thinking about valuable things, the mind will be busy considering invaluable things. The mind can never be idle when a person is alert. Even when we are asleep, the mind will sometimes be working. This is what we call dreams. The mind is very hyperactive.

Therefore, when a person lacks goals to think about, they will be thinking of all sorts of vices. When you see a good man indulging in evil, remind him of his goals. Do you remember the last time you became indulgent? Were you conscious of your goals? NO! Goals and indulgence cannot dwell under the same roof. When you forget your goals, you become indulgent. When you remember your goals, indulgence goes out through the window.

We are going to discuss some general ways to set proper goals and make the best out of them.

1.  Set SMT goals

Some people call them SMART goals but for me, it is SMT goals. SMART stands for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Time-bound. For me, SMT stands for Specific, Measurable and Time-bound. To me, all goals are attainable and realistic. ALL GOALS CAN BE ACHIEVED. These two qualities have been used by many people to shatter the dreams of other people. You will be dreaming big and they will tell you to be realistic. They will tell you that your goal is not attainable. All goals are attainable. We started by saying that everything is possible. Why would we say that everything is possible and then tell you to set realistic and attainable goals? It does not make sense. I know you would tell ask me, “If I want to become a woman as a man, is it realistic and attainable?” My answer would be yes.

Everything is possible. The fact that it has not been tried does not mean that it cannot be done. If you want it long and bad enough, it will happen. The problem with many people is that they reason their dreams out a lot. Dreams and goals do not make sense. (Dreams are just lifetime goals). If something makes sense to you, then it is not a dream or a goal. This may sound crazy to those who are just logical. But these are the same people who will meet a person who has dared to dream big and they will tell them to become realistic.

If you want it long and bad enough, it will happen

Look at the big ideas that successful people are working on. To the average person, these goals are not attainable or realistic. Successful people do not think like the rest of the people. They identify a goal and no one can talk them out of it until they achieve it. They will achieve them or die trying. Look at the idea of self-driving cars by Google. Before this idea was conceived, who would have thought that it would have been possible? You might say, “But we know the science behind it.” You only know the science behind it because someone believed in the ideas and went ahead to discover the science to make it work. Everything that is known today, was sometimes unknown. What is unknown today will someday be known. Everything is realistic and attainable.

Everything that is known today, was sometimes unknown. What is unknown today will someday be known.

Another example is Elon Musk’s crazy ideas and projects. Through the company he founded, SpaceX, he is working on an idea where some people will relocate and live in space. He has proposed the idea of increasing the temperatures on Mars so that people may relocate and inhabit the planet. This would reduce the competition and population of the earth leaving more resources with the people.

Naveen Jain is working on a project of doing some mining on the moon. He says that there are numerous valuable stones and other natural commodities that human beings can mine on the moon and trade them on earth. To the average person, these are crazy ideas that are not attainable and realistic. These people have invested billions of dollars into these projects because they believe in them. If you only dare to dream big… Having said that, the SMT model should be used instead of the SMART model.

For your goal to be valid, make sure it is SPECIFIC. Specific implies that it is not general. For example, you cannot say that your goal is to get a job. What kind of job do you want? You cannot say that your goal is to become successful. How successful do you want to become? Make your goal as specific as possible so that you will know when you hit it.

For your goal to be valid, make sure it is MEASURABLE. Measurable goals make it easier for you to track and analyze results. This will help you make adjustments where possible. You should ask yourself, do I have any metric that I can use to measure my goal? There is a famous quote that says, “What gets measured, gets done”. Measurable goals will help you know the right course of action throughout the period of pursuit of your goal.

You will always hear the government giving reports that a certain project is, say, 80% done. With this, they will know what they need to do to complete the project on time. Any goal you set should be the same, it should be measurable. If you want to improve your relationship, how will you make it measurable? You have to figure out a way of tracking results. Maybe you can measure the reaction of your partner or the change in the number of disputes per day or week. You have to find a way of knowing whether your input is bringing the right results.

Lastly, you have to make your goals TIME BOUND. We do not live in eternity, at least not yet. We live in time. It is important to know that you are racing against time. YOU DO NOT HAVE FOREVER TO ACCOMPLISH WHAT YOU ARE TRYING TO ACCOMPLISH. When the bell rings, your time on this world will be cut short. Therefore, make your goals time-bound. By this time, I want to have accomplished this and that. If you do not give yourself time, you will most probably be procrastinating every day and wasting time because you think what you could have done today, you can do it tomorrow. If you want to achieve anything, have a time horizon by which you are supposed to have accomplished.

With SMT goals, you can achieve anything. Any goals are attainable as long as it is an SMT goal. If you are yet to make goals, consider this concept and use it the next time you make them. Those who already have goals can review them and check whether they have all the three qualities of validity. If not, fine-tune them to accommodate the SMT model. If a goal is not specific, measurable and time-bound, it is not valid.

2.  Write your goals down

 Assuming that you have decided what you want to achieve, it is now time to write it down. Writing goals down helps you to remember them better and refer to them often. This is proven, your mind tends to remember what you have written down more than what you have not. This is one secret of learning; write down as much as you can.

I suggest that you write your goals and pin them in a place where you see them often. If you have a book that you use often, write your goals there. You can also write your goals on paper and pin it on the wall or write them directly on the wall of your house. The best wall to pin or write on is the wall that you see first when you wake up and the wall that you see most as you work. This may be in your office or your house depending on the nature of the goal. Put your goals as the wallpaper of your phone, IPad, laptop or any other such device. The idea here is to have them where you see them most.

3.  Read your goals often

This is one of the reasons why we write our goals, to read them. Goals are supposed to keep you motivated. If you forget your goals, they cannot be your motivation anymore. No person who aspires to succeed is allowed to forget their goals. Every such person is to be conscious of their goals every day and even night. This is why we have to write them down.

You may not forget your goals but you may lose their consciousness. Someone may ask you, “What do you want to achieve this year?” You may have the answer to the question because you had New Year’s resolutions. However, you have lost their consciousness. Once you know something and it is no longer in use, you store the information in your subconscious mind. Information stored in the subconscious mind will never motivate you because you are not conscious of it. This is why so many people develop New Year’s resolutions in January and forget them by March. By forgetting, we mean that you lose their consciousness yet you may still know them.

Whatever information you do not use is dumped in the subconscious mind to create more space in the conscious mind for what is important and useful to you as perceived by the mind. When you keep going back to something, you are communicating to your mind that that piece of information is USEFUL. Thus, the mind will not transfer the information from the conscious mind to the sub-conscious. Also, the mind will always remind you whatever it thinks is important to you. Therefore, when you read your goals often, your mind PERCEIVES them as important and will keep their consciousness.

I advocate that you read your goals every morning when you wake up and every night before you sleep. Reading them in the morning will help you remain FOCUSED and MOTIVATED throughout your day while reading them before you sleep will give your mind FOOD FOR THOUGHT as you sleep. This is how you wake up with amazing ideas. You may also read your goals more than twice. In fact, read them as often as possible. You will not go wrong if you do so. The consciousness of your goals will keep you determined and will help you avoid all manner of indulgence and laziness.

The first goal you should have is your life vision or destiny. This is the goal to become that which you were created to become. This is determined by your purpose or mission in life. Also, make sure you have long term goals, intermediate goals short term goals. LONG TERM GOALS have a time horizon of more than five years, INTERMEDIATE GOALS between one and five years and SHORT TERM GOALS for less than one year. All these goals should be in line with your purpose in life. All goals set outside your purpose will not be attainable.

Setting goals is the foundational step of all achievement. Whatever you want to achieve, first set goals. Determine whatever you want to achieve, write it down and then read it at least twice every day. This will keep you conscious of your end result. Make your goals big enough that they challenge you. Every time you think of them, you feel the big burden on your shoulders that cannot allow you to live like everyone else. This will motivate you to work hard. With this in mind, go ahead and set goals. This knowledge is not theoretical but practical.  Practice every idea discussed and you will make the rest of your life the best of your life.

Mark M. Gachunga is the CEO of Giimark Education and Publishers Limited, a professional speaker and author of 6 best-selling books including The Curse of Formal Education and Achieving The Impossible. He is passionate about entrepreneurship, youth matters, and leadership. Commune with him on Gachunga@giimark.com

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