In the world of coaching and personal development the practice of goal setting is very much an accepted success driver and to be honest most achievers in the world didn’t just happen to hit something by total accident but rather by decision, intent and most importantly action.
The technique of goal setting and how you do it for it to stick, is really in my view totally up to you as an individual. We all make decisions that drive actions, so reflect on how this has happened before for you and follow this approach consistently from here forward. It sounds very simple and that is exactly how it should be, I personally believe personal development experts have been making it complex for no particular reason other than their own profitability.
I have been setting goals since I read a book on the topic around 1987 and because it made sense to me, I decided every year at New Years I would make a little list of things I want to achieve in the coming year and then I would leave it aside. Amazingly even without looking at that list on a regular basis, it was enough to set the intention and follow through with action as the years went by. Based on what people keep telling me is that I have probably achieved more than most, why? Well simply in my honest opinion because I set intentions and then went off to make them happen.
One thing is that sometimes I need to reset the goal for another year because it took longer to achieve than anticipated. Time optimism takes a hold of me form time to time ;-). Then again having been in the habit of long term studies for a degree and subsequently an MBA, the long range goals also worked once I could break them down into bite-size action steps.
How do you know whether you are really committed to a goal, my answer is always it is in the action you have taken towards achieving it. For me unless I have taken action towards something, I know for sure it isn’t a full commitment. What I do at that point then is to look what is stopping me from doing anything about it and addressing that or the other side question whether what I am after is maybe not that goal, but something else. So I give myself some time to reflect and ponder all possibilities and ultimately a new action will come out.
Personally I don’t get too hung up on how detailed your goal description is, to me it helps if it is visual and actually writing it out on paper for me is already a visual, my mind is creative enough to then put pictures to it, but some people work best with vision boards with pictures attached. The more alive the goal is the better, then again if you take action that is live in my opinion.
You need to allow yourself a bit of time to reflect on what is important to you and pick what resonates most and what you are willing to step out and go for right now. The more I engaged in self development, the more goal muddled I became and the practice that I had and was working needed to be changed because of theory and goal setting all of a sudden became a very frustrating model of having to fit in a certain way. What i have realised however is that how you set your goal ideas, intentions etc is irrelevant, it is the action of goal achievement that proves your commitment to any of them.
So these days I am actually back to enjoying creating the list in my little goal book and I review them around now and again sometime in June or if there are massive changes on the cards when it seems appropriate. What I mean there is that life sometimes happens and you need to adapt, and what was a well constructed goal or intention may no longer be relevant. Sometimes you need to admit that your time frames may have been optimistic and that is perfectly normal, it’s the ebb and flow of life as we live it.
So have fun with your goals and more importantly enjoy the action packed journey of achieving them.
Happy goal achieving 2013!