People feel as if they're lost in the world and with the end of the year just around the corner, most are very confused about 2013. People work hard, but most feel that they are not getting anywhere worthwhile. A key reason could be that people don’t spend enough time thinking about what they want from life, and haven't set themselves formal goals. “Goal setting is a powerful process for thinking about your ideal future, and for motivating yourself to turn your vision of this future into reality,” says Monique Harrisberg CEO from the Voice Clinic.
The process of setting goals helps you choose where you want to go in life. “By knowing precisely what you want to achieve, you know where you have to concentrate your efforts,” says Harrisberg.
Goal setting is used by top-level athletes, successful business-people and achievers in all fields. Setting goals gives you motivation. It focuses your acquisition of knowledge, and helps you to organise your time and your resources so that you can make the very most of your life. “By setting sharp, clearly defined goals, you can measure and take pride in the achievement of those goals, and you'll see forward progress in what might previously have seemed a long pointless grind. You will also raise your self-confidence, as you recognize your own ability and competence in achieving the goals that you've set,”explains Harrisberg.
So how do I get started?
1. First you create your "big picture" of what you want to do with your life (or over, say, the next 10 years), and identify the large-scale goals that you want to achieve.
2. Then, you break these down into the smaller and smaller targets that you must hit to reach your lifetime goals.
3. Finally, once you have your plan, you start working on it to achieve these goals. This is why we start the process of goal setting by looking at your lifetime goals. Then, we work down to the things that you can do in, say, the next five years, then next year, next month, next week, and today, to start moving towards them.
The first step in setting personal goals is to consider what you want to achieve in your lifetime (or at least, by a significant and distant age in the future). Setting lifetime goals gives you the overall perspective that shapes all other aspects of your decision making. Set goals in the following areas:
1. Career - What level do you want to reach in your career, or what do you want to achieve?
2. Financial - How much do you want to earn, by what stage? How is this related to your career goals?
3. Education - Is there any knowledge you want to acquire in particular? What information and skills will you need to have in order to achieve other goals?
4. Family - Do you want to be a parent? If so, how are you going to be a good parent? How do you want to be seen by a partner or by members of your extended family?
5. Artistic - Do you want to achieve any artistic goals?
6. Attitude - Is any part of your mindset holding you back? Is there any part of the way that you behave that upsets you? (If so, set a goal to improve your behaviour or find a solution to the problem.)
7. Physical - Are there any athletic goals that you want to achieve, or do you want good health deep into old age? What steps are you going to take to achieve this?
8. Pleasure - How do you want to enjoy yourself? (You should ensure that some of your life is for you!)
9. Public Service - Do you want to make the world a better place? If so, how ?
“Spend some time brainstorming these things, and then select one or more goals in each category that best reflect what you want to do. Then consider trimming again so that you have a small number of really significant goals that you can focus on,” Harrisberg explains. “As you do this, make sure that the goals that you have set are ones that you genuinely want to achieve, not ones that your parents, family, or employers might want. Once you have set your lifetime goals, set a five-year plan of smaller goals that you need to complete if you are to reach your lifetime plan.”
Create a one-year plan, six-month plan, and a one-month plan of progressively smaller goals that you should reach to achieve your lifetime goals. Each of these should be based on the previous plan. Then create a daily list of things that you should do today to work towards your lifetime goals. At an early stage, your smaller goals might be to read books and gather information on the achievement of your higher level goals. This will help you to improve the quality and realism of your goal setting. Finally review your plans, and make sure that they fit the way in which you want to live your life.
“Once you've decided on your first set of goals, keep the process going by reviewing and updating your To-Do List on a daily basis, says Harrisberg.
Some useful tips when setting your goals:
2. Be precise: Set precise goals, putting in dates, times and amounts so that you can measure achievement. If you do this, you'll know exactly when you have achieved the goal, and can take complete satisfaction from having achieved it.
3. Set priorities - When you have several goals, give each a priority. This helps you to avoid feeling overwhelmed by having too many goals, and helps to direct your attention to the most important ones.
4. Write goals down - This gives them more force.
5. Keep operational goals small - Keep the low-level goals that you're working towards small and achievable.
6. Set performance goals, not outcome goals - You should take care to set goals over which you have as much control as possible. It can be quite dispiriting to fail to achieve a personal goal for reasons beyond your control
In business, these reasons could be bad business environments or unexpected effects of government policy. In sport, they could include poor judging, bad weather, injury, or just plain bad luck.
If you base your goals on personal performance, then you can keep control over the achievement of your goals, and draw satisfaction from them.
7. Set realistic goals - It's important to set goals that you can achieve. All sorts of people (for example, employers, parents, media, or society) can set unrealistic goals for you. They will often do this in ignorance of your own desires and ambitions.
It's also possible to set goals that are too difficult because you might not appreciate either the obstacles in the way, or understand quite how much skill you need to develop to achieve a particular level of performance.
“When you've achieved a goal, take the time to enjoy the satisfaction of having done so, explains Harrisberg. “Absorb the implications of the goal achievement, and observe the progress that you've made towards other goals. If the goal was a significant one, reward yourself appropriately. All of this helps you build the self-confidence you deserve. With the experience of having achieved this goal, review the rest of your goal plans. If you achieved the goal too easily, make your next goal harder. If the goal took a dispiriting length of time to achieve, make the next goal a little easier. If you learned something that would lead you to change other goals, do so. If you noticed a deficit in your skills despite achieving the goal, decide whether to set goals to fix this,” Harrisberg concluded.
Contact The Voice Clinic in Johannesburg 011 880 2334, Cape Town 021 423 2488, Pretoria 012 342 5020, and Durban 031 303 1314 or visit our website www.thevoiceclinic.co.za for more information on our discounts.