In order for our goals to have a maximum level of effectiveness, there are certain criteria that they must meet. You must have an ultimate goal (aim very high); your goals must: be broken down into steps or phases, be measurable, be realistic (within reason), and must get you closer to your ultimate goal. These 5 criteria are excellent measures of your goals and can accurately predict your success. Learning to apply these principles to your goal setting will greatly increase your success and your goal setting results.
- All goals should start with an ultimate goal.
Our ultimate goal is the perfect life. The best way to imagine this is to close our eyes and really try to imagine what our perfect life would be. We should picture, with great detail, every aspect we can possibly think of in the life that we want. We should imagine: how much money we have, where we live, what our house looks like, what kind of person we are in a relationship with, what our children are like or if we have children, what we have accomplished in life, what we do for work, what kind of friendships we have, and the list goes on and on. We should envision everything with vivid detail and try to truly think about what things are important to us and what we want to have and be like in our perfect life. Once we have the end in sight then we can start planning and setting smaller goals. Our ultimate goal should seem dauntingly out of reach, but if we don’t have an ultimate goal, then we might succeed at smaller or short term goals only to realise later that these goals did not lead us closer to the person we really want to become. For example: we might neglect our family for our career, attempting to be a provider, only to realise later that our behavior actually took us further away from the person we wanted to become.
- Your goals should break down into smaller goals and into a daily action plan.
Part of the reasoning for the ultimate goal is to give us a target to aim for far into the future: having an endpoint lets us draw a straight line to success and plan our goals along the way. If you want to be successful and achieve your goals, then they should be built backward from your ultimate goal. Ultimate goal, long term goals, medium goals, short term goals, weekly plans, and daily schedules. Building your goals in this kind of detail will greatly contribute to your success.
- Goals must be measurable.
Goals should have a clear achievement for completion. For example: setting a goal to be smarter is not a measurable goal; however, setting a goal to read 3 new books per month will help you be smarter- and its measurable. If you have a goal that can’t be measured ask yourself this, “What do I need to do to accomplish this?” , once you have an answer, you will have at least one idea on how to accomplish that goal. A goal should have a deadline or a milestone to reach before its completed, this will also help you stay on track and encouraged.
- Goals must be realistic.
We should take this guideline with a grain of salt, too much “realism” can just be pessimism. Our long term and ultimate goals should seem unrealistic or grand, and they should require us to reach very far to accomplish them. Short term goals, however, should be more within reach. We don’t want to set a goal to run a sub 4 minute mile by the end of the month if we are currently only running an 8 minute mile, but having a sub 4 minute mile as a long term goal is great. Short term goals and daily actions need to be within reach, but still push us to grow, if we set our initial bars too high we are likely never to make it, and if we set short term goals too low we won’t be challenged enough to continue on.
- All goals must get us closer to our ultimate goal.
If our small goals and daily actions are not taking us closer to our ultimate goal then their is a serious problem: either we have lost track of our focus, or maybe its time to reevaluate where we really want to end up in our perfect life. Of course there will be times of passion and also times where doing the work we need to reach our goals will be drudgery; deviation is normal. When our goals are not leading us towards our end point; however, we need do some rethinking and replanning.
Making sure that our goals possess these traits will ensure that we are on a better path towards our ultimate goal. If you want to read more about goals and how they affect us read ( links). What are your goals, and how do you keep yourself accountable? Chime in below in the comments or on social media and let us know your thoughts!