Here’s a tip to boost your productivity: Waste no time. The best way to not waste time is to be clear about your priorities. Focused priorities help ensure we will arrive at the right place. If well-designed, a goals program can act like jet fuel for your life.
Some business consultants argue that all success is based on goals. I tend to not be goal-driven. However, written goals clearly did boost my productivity when I used them. To help me develop a better set of workable written goals I turned to one of the best I know: Zig Ziglar. Hearing him speak in person was one of the great pleasures of my self-improvement program. This post is inspired by his work, especially from his book, Over the Top. A goals program can be instrumental in taking an individual, a family, a company, or a nation “Over the Top.”
“Our goals can only be reached through a vehicle of a plan, in which we must fervently believe, and upon which we must vigorously act. There is no other route to success.” —Pablo Picasso
Risk of Goal Setting
We must set our goals thoughtfully in the context of our life. Otherwise, there is a danger. Individual goals focus on a specific objective and can be at the expense of other areas of our lives. Although we might reach the one, we overlook more important areas. The risk is obtaining achievement (at least in one area) but at the expense of personal fulfillment.
Only 3 % of all Americans have goals programs designed to reap the most benefits from life itself. Why do so few have a goals program? The most important reasons are fear, poor self-image, lack of understanding of the benefits, and ignorance of how to develop a program. A successful program can only be achieved when steps are taken to develop a balanced, confident, hopeful picture of the future, despite any fear that may creep in.
One should always have HOPE (Honesty, Optimism, Personal responsibility, and Effort).
Six Steps to Pick Your Goals
1) On a “wild idea sheet” let your imagination run wild, and print everything you want to be, do or have.
2) Wait 24-48 hours and then answer “why?” for each item. If you can’t articulate in one sentence why you want to be, do, or have it, eliminate it as a current goal.
3) Answer these five questions, all of which must have a yes answer:
- Is it my goal?
- Is it morally right and fair to everyone concerned?
- Will reaching this goal take me closer to or farther from my major objective in life?
- Can I emotionally commit myself to start and finish this goal?
- Can I see myself reaching this goal?
4) After each remaining goal, ask yourself these questions:
- Will reaching this goal make me happier – healthier – more prosperous – win friends – give me peace of mind – make me more secure – improve family relationships – give me hope?
- Most important – will obtaining this goal contribute to a more balanced success?
5) Divide the remaining goals into three categories:
- Short-range (one month or less)
- Intermediate (one month to one year)
- Long-range (one year or more)
6) Take the remaining goals you have listed on your “wild idea sheet” and work each goal through the process.
“Even if you’re on the right track, you’ll get run over if you just sit there.” -Will Rogers
Seven Steps to Set Goals
1) Identify your goals. You will never realize more than a small fraction of your potential as a wandering generality. You must become a meaningful specific.
2) Ask yourself, “How will I benefit from reaching this goal?”
3) Identify and anticipate the obstacles and barriers to reach this goal.
4) Know what skills or knowledge will be required to reach this goal.
5) What individuals, groups, companies, and organizations can help me reach this goal?
6) What is my specific plan of action to reach this goal?
7) What is the completion date? Without a timeline, it is just a dream.
Zig’s Wisdom on Reaching Your Goals
Make the commitment that you are going to reach the goal. Committed lives have meaning, accomplishment, purpose, and excitement.
Commit yourself to daily detailed accountability. If it can’t be measured, it can’t be managed.
At the end of your day, list the six most important things you must do the next day and the order of their importance. You should also plan to invest about thirty minutes once each week to keep your goals current and to plan for the next week.
Break your goal into small pieces. You build a successful career, regardless of your field of endeavor, by the dozens of little things you do on and off the job. You reach those significant goals by breaking them into small segments.
Get into shape physically, mentally, and spiritually. Everybody recognizes the importance of sound mental health and good physical condition. Your spiritual health is even more important.
Make your liabilities your assets. History records that many people with handicaps overcame them and made them their greatest assets.
Learn to respond to disappointment. It’s not what happens to you but what you make of what happens to you that will ultimately determine your success in all areas of life.
Discipline yourself. We all have experienced times when we don’t want to do something that we have to do. Because we had made a commitment to do the job, we dragged ourselves out of bed and went to the assignment. After we took those steps, we felt like doing the job. That is the very definition of discipline: Doing what we have to do when we must do it, whether we feel like it or not. The point is that motivation follows the action and not vice versa. It was our character that got us out of bed, our commitment that moved us into action, and our discipline that enabled us to follow through.
Change direction, not decisions. When setbacks and disappointments do occur, you do not change your decision to go for that goal – you simply change your direction in order to get there. We have no control over many things, but we can keep our own commitments both to ourselves and to our loved ones to pursue our objectives.
Get all the help you can: share “give-up” goals freely and “go-up” goals carefully. If you are going to give up something, you can and should share these goals with just about everybody. Most people will encourage you when you share these goals with them. If your goal is a go-up goal, you need to be very careful with whom you share it. You need to share that goal only with those who will be inclined to be encouragers.
Become a team player. A team effort is very helpful in reaching your goals. In life when anyone accomplishes major objectives, you can know that a “team” helped him.
Paint a positive picture. Negative pictures are very destructive. The most successful people win because they play to win, plan to win, prepare to win, and therefore can legitimately expect to win.
Paint that picture in your mind of what you want to be, do, or have. If you want to reach your goals, you must see yourself as already being there. You must paint that picture in your mind of what you want to be, do, or have.
Your dreams can come true. But be careful about your dreams. If you dream it boldly and vividly and follow the steps suggested, your dream will become a reality.
What about you? Are you in the top 3% who have and follow a goals program? How has that worked out? If not, do you plan to create one? What struggles have you experienced with goal-setting in the past?