Goal-setting might seem easy and straightforward. However, there are many things you can do wrong when setting your goals. That’s why, in this article, I’ll share 3 must-follow rules that significantly increase your odds of success. Unfortunately, many people don’t follow these rules and therefore set themselves up for failure.
Rule 1: Make Your Goals Highly Specific
One of the most common reasons why people fail to achieve their goals is that they don’t make their goals specific enough. In fact, their goals are too vague and ambiguous. Therefore, it’s almost impossible to achieve them.
The problem with setting goals that are too vague is that you can’t effectively measure your progress or define precisely when it has been achieved. This lack of clarity quickly leads to frustration and inaction.
Examples of goals that are too vague are:
- I want to become rich / I want to earn a lot of money
- I want to start a successful business
- I want to become better at playing the guitar
- I want to get a lot of followers on Instagram
- I want to become more muscular
Instead, always set goals that are highly specific so that you can measure your progress and define when it’s been achieved. Here are examples of how that looks like, using the earlier mentioned goals:
- I will earn $150,000 in profit this year
- I will sell 250 products within 6 months
- I will learn to play 10 new songs on the guitar within 3 months
- I will have 2,000 followers on Instagram by the end of this month.
- I will have gained 5KG of lean muscle mass by the end of this year
With highly specific goals like this, you’re able to accurately measure your progress, identify your best next actions, and define goal-success.
This makes the process of achievement much more precise, which increases motivation, productivity, and consistency.
Rule 2: Add A Deadline To Your Goal
A goal without a deadline is merely a wish. If you’ve got no clarity on when a goal needs to be achieved, it’s likely that you’ll procrastinate as there’s hardly any time-pressure to work with determination and consistency.
Furthermore, you can’t make an effective plan for achievement if you don’t include a deadline.
Therefore, always define specifically when your goal should be achieved. Is it by the end of the year? Six months from now? By the end of this month?
Defining exactly when a goal should be achieved prompts you to take action and prevents you from falling into ‘I’ll do it later’ mindset.
Rule 3: Be Clear On Your ‘Why’
One of the most common reasons why people fail to achieve their goals is because they lack a strong commitment to their goal.
They might feel motivated for a few days but quickly fall back into old habits as soon as the initial motivation has worn off. This is because they’ve never clearly identified the reasons ‘why’ they wanted to achieve their goals in the first place.
“He who has a why to live for can bear almost any how.” — Friedrich Nietzsche
However, being clear on your ‘why’ is incredibly important. It’s your anchor for when you encounter obstacles on the path towards achievement.
It’s your go-to source of motivation for when times get rough or for when you simply ‘don’t feel like it.’
It’s what keeps you going when you think about giving up.
Oftentimes, you don’t want to achieve a goal because of the surface-level results it brings — even though most people assume they do.
Instead, you primarily want to achieve a goal because of the deeper-level results that it will produce. This is your strongest ‘why.’
Take the goal of ‘I will earn $150,000 before the end of this year’, for example. You don’t set this type of goal because you want the $150,000 (a surface-level result), but you set the goal because you want what this amount of money will do to your life.
Achieving this goal might give you security, freedom, or remove financial-related stress.
It might mean that your children are able to go to a good university or that you can provide for your family.
It might mean that you can finally travel the world, live more comfortably, or give more money to charity.
Taking the time to think about these deeper-level results is essential as it will determine your ‘why.’ Again, your why forms your go-to source of motivation to be productive on a daily basis and pull through when times get rough.
Another example would be the goal of ‘gaining 5kg of lean muscle mass before the end of the year’. In order to stay motivated and push through the hard days, you need to identify the deeper-level results that come from achieving this goal.
In most cases, it’s not about the 5kg of lean muscle mass (surface-level result), but it’s about deeper-level results from this goal — improved self-confidence, more long-lasting energy, and improved health.
These deeper-level results are much more inspiring and help you push through challenges and obstacles. Furthermore, it strengthens your commitment to your goals — making you more likely to succeed.
Therefore, always identify your why when setting a goal. Review your why on a daily basis — preferably as part of your morning routine.
Now Do It
Change only comes from taking action. Therefore, as an action point, set a goal based on these three rules. If you’ve already set your goals, review them while keeping these rules in mind.
To Your Personal Growth,
Founder Personal Growth Lab
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