Sunday, 28th September 2008

Setting smart goals

Written by George Traganidas Topics: Goals, Habits

Smart Goal Setting

Have you ever set a goal that you wanted to achieve, but it seems to take ages to achieve it? Have you set a goal and after a while you are questioning yourself if it is still a valid goal and if you should put more effort to achieve it? I had this happen to me often in the past and I think that I have found the answer.

Before I give you the answer let me ask you a different question. What is your purpose? What is the big goal? Now, if you do not have clear answers to these questions, this will cause you problems in the medium run. Let me explain.

All of us need a big goal, something that we are moving towards to. For example, I want by the age of 40 to sail around the Greek islands for 3 months. Using this goal for example, we can start to build towards it. You can even say that this goal is not big enough and it is merely a step to a bigger goal. That is good, work to find the even bigger one. For now we will use this example.

Once you have defined an end, you can now work backwards and define smaller goals on the way there. You will see now that if the end goal is very appealing to yourself you will start performing the tasks to reach it with great energy, because you always know what these smaller tasks lead to. They lead to something you want a lot. So, coming back to the above example maybe you decide to take a sailing diploma and you have to work hard in the evenings for it. Every time you feel your enthusiasm diminishing, you can focus on your bigger goal and get back on track.

If on the other hand you decide to give up smoking, you might not be very successful with it because it does not fit with the above goal. You can do the sailing around the islands even if you are a smoker. For this case you will need a different end goal that will have a smaller goal to give up smoking. This will motivate you.

Therefore, what I found very useful is to work backwards when I set my goals. I try to write as clearly as possible what my big goal is. This sets my destination. Then I start to work backwards to define the steps that will get me there. These steps are all interconnected and take me towards the end goal that is so appealing to achieve that I will be focused on the way.

I have found this way very helpful and it keeps me focused. I set a few big goals that are all interconnected with each other and then I plot the way to achieve them. If certain smaller steps seem to contradict each other, I prioritise which of the big goals is more important to me at the moment and this helps me to remove the conflicts.

Have fun setting big and challenging goals and creating the path to get you there.

Follow the practical way,
George

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