“Goals need to be congruent, specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and time-bound (C-SMART),” says personal and professional development coach Sandras Phiri. Phiri recommends the following steps to setting goals:
1. Establish your life mission
Find out your life mission, purpose or chief aim and set goals towards that. Often we set goals that don’t build onto something big and complete. They leave an “and then what?” question. For instance, “I want a better job this year” …and then what?
I like to work from the output. What Stephen Covey refers to as “end in mind”. What do I want ultimately? Jim Rohn says: “You don’t start building a house until you’ve finished it”.
To help determine what your life mission is, one of the questions you can ask yourself is: “If I had all the money in the world and everything I wanted, what would I do with my life?” Then start planning to live that mission. In that way, every goal you set builds towards that.
2. Have balanced goals
Fulfilling goals are goals that encompass the seven areas of life: spiritual, mental, vocational, financial, social, familial and physical. Setting goals to grow in all these areas leads to a more fulfilled life.
There is a lot of evidence of people that set goals in a few of these areas and years later try to fix the neglected areas. For instance, those that only concentrate on vocational (career) and financial (money) would later start chasing physical (health) and family. Many people believe that you can’t have it all, but you can by balancing your goals. You might not move as fast as the person that is concentrating on a few areas, but you will have a balanced, fulfilled life.
3. Set positive goals
Set inspiring goals for each of the seven areas of life. Negative goals are difficult to sustain. Unfortunately most goals are negative. For example, “I want to lose weight” is not inspiring. It evokes negative emotions and it won’t be long before you lose steam. Instead “I would like to be fit and feel and look great,” is more inspiring. This is something you would want to be all the time. You don’t want to lose weight all the time. You will lose weight to a certain point and stop …and then what?
4. Keep it real
Goals that are based on other people’s lives (illusions and fantasies) are difficult to keep up. “I should cook more”, “I should get a Benz because I’m CEO”, for instance, might be hard to keep if there is no real personal reason for that. The question is: “What would you want if nobody was looking?”
When “other people’s goals” are attained, they are usually not fulfilling. Dr John Demartini says: “Whenever you’re saying ‘I must’ or ‘I should’ you’re subordinating to someone else’s values. Love what you do and do what you love.” Set goals that evoke statements like “I’d love to”. If, however, you feel doing something you don’t like will move you forward, love it by finding 50 or more ways in which doing that particular thing helps you get more of the things you currently love.
5. Be Accountable
Break down your goals into actual milestones and give them a time-frame and find somebody to hold you accountable. For instance, if you want to get fitter, set the number of kilos you want to weigh and tell somebody to hold you accountable to it. Then reward yourself on your achievements.
To read the full version of this story, go to page 104 of the November-December 2011 issue.