Personal Goal Setting

Personal goal setting is an important basic life skill. Without knowing how to set goals, developing other skills – as well as achieving overall success in life – can become more difficult. In fact, some levels of success may become impossible to attain. We have to know what we want (the goal) and have a plan for how we will get it (the steps needed to achieve the goal.) Personal goal setting helps create a workable plan for achieving success. It is important to remember that without a plan, goals may be no more than daydreams; and every plan must be clear and specific. In addition, the term personal goal setting means that we must do the goal setting for it to have real meaning for us.

We should definitely have a grand plan for success: Our vision of a perfect future. But in reality, setting and achieving goals is a large part of everyday life. And the more personal we make the goals, the more committed we will be to seeing them successfully achieved. For instance, planning an event we have no interest in will probably not be an outstanding success. Likewise, working at a job we have no interest in can result in doing a bad job or being fired.

Incorporating what we do into an overall plan, however, gives them a purpose. If we can see a benefit in doing something – even if it is a long-term benefit – we will have the motivation to start it and the determination to see it through. (We can learn something from every project or job. At the very least, we can always improve our organization and / or relationship skills.) ***************************************************************

Creating a Grand Plan for Success Through Personal Goal Setting:

To find the benefit in all that we do, it is a good idea to start by developing our grand plan for success. We can then make choices that move us closer to achieving that plan. Personal goal setting, as it pertains to establishing a personal plan for future success, involves three similar steps:

1) Create a realistic long-term goal, with a realistic deadline. (This could be a career goal, an education goal, a relationship goal or a financial goal, for example.) List all of the steps needed to achieve the long-term goal and prioritize the steps (What has to be done first, second, third,...?)

2) Create intermediate goals. Each step needed to accomplish the long-term goal, is an intermediate goal. Determine a realistic deadline for each, and list the steps (if necessary) for completing it. Then decide in what order they will be accomplished.

3) Create short-term goals. Each step needed to accomplish the intermediate goals is a short-term goal. Again, determine a realistic deadline for each, list the steps required and prioritize.

4) Develop a Goals Overview.

Clearly outline your goals in an easy-to-read format, organizing the goals from the biggest to the smallest. (It might also be helpful to create your first "To do" list based on the steps you will accomplish in the near future.)

You now have a goals overview - your personal vision of success. And with this vision in mind, decisions made now - what skills to develop, what job to take, where to live - will all move toward the achievemnt of your long-term goals (career, education, relationships, financial security.)

Although this format was used to illustrate how individuals can create a life plan. It is also a format that can be used to outline more immediate goals. Use personal goal setting to make everyday situations easier. Completing a project at work or planning a personal event could easily become a long-term, intermediate or short-term goal.


Essential Guidelines in Personal Goal Setting

When developing a long-term goal, think BIG.

Dream! Some of the best goals come from dreams. Just be sure they are realistic - something that can actually be accomplished. (Flying to the moon by flapping your arms probably isn't going to happen.) But don't abandon goals because they sound unrealistic. Many people have achieved spectacular goals that others said couldn't be done. In many cases, what was considered science fiction in the past is reality today.

Set realistic deadlines.

Without enough time to achieve the goal, we immediately set ourselves up for disappointment. Always allow for delays that could easily happen. (For instance, the realistic goal is to be fully prepared when arriving at a meeting with a very important client. An unrealistic deadline would be to only allow 20 minutes – during rush hour – to get to the meeting. All your preparation could mean nothing if you arrive an hour late.)

On the other hand, don’t allow three weeks for a goal that should only take one. If we allow too much time, we could start to lose interest in the goal and begin to see it as less important. (Besides, other goals could be accomplished with the extra time.)

Review goals overview regularly.

Situations change over time. What we thought we wanted five years ago may not be what we want now. Review your goals overview regularly to be sure it still reflects your needs. (It might help to view personal goal setting as an ongoing process, rather than a one-time exercise.)

Be flexible.

No one can predict the future. As time goes on, you may have to change your steps and/or deadlines. You may even have to change the goal itself. That's okay. As long as you are happy with the progress you are making, that is all that matters. Creating a plan and altering it will bring greater overall success than not having a plan at all.

Stay focused.

Always keep your long-term goals in the back of your mind. This will help you make better decisions now. And when setting any goal, focus on how you will achieve that goal. Consider potential obstacles, but don’t become obsessed with them. Most obstacles can be overcome or minimized.

Check off steps as they are accomplished.

Whenever we check off something that has been accomplished, we build self-confidence. The more we achieve, the more we believe we can achieve. Motivation is also increased because we can see ourselves getting closer to the goal. Be happy with every goal you accomplish.

Accept mistakes and setbacks - they are going to happen.

No one is perfect. Look at mistakes and setbacks as temporary. Learn from them and move on. Be resilient. You will not fail in life unless you give up completely.