Set Both Long Term and Short Term Goals
Set both long and short-term goals. You should always have a list of your long term and short term goals. Long term goals are more like big picture goals, while short term goals are more of the day to day variety. You need to achieve the short term goals to reach the long term ones.Set yourself challenging goals.
- Set Challenging Goals. Research shows that goals must be challenging to be effective. The biggest problem with goal setting and why people fail to achieve anything significant is because they only set easy to achieve goals. These are the goals you can basically achieve in your sleep. We are goal setting machines, every day we get up and achieve one goal after another, getting ready to go out, dropping kids to school before the bell rings, getting to work before 9 a.m or buying the ingredients for the evening meal. These are common goals which are easy to achieve, so they do not stretch us at all. For goals to really work for you, they need to be challenging and push you to new heights. You might need to learn new skills, develop your mind and body, push yourself beyond what you have ever done before and break out of your comfort zone.
- Identify goal attainment strategies . To achieve your goals you will need to investigate new strategies and methods to achieve them. This requires learning, trial and error and even courage to step out into the unknown.
- Set priorities. Which goals will you focus on first? Some goals are clearly more important than others. In fact some goals are so all encompassing that their achievement may wipe out the need to achieve other goals. Some goals may even appear contradictory; you may hold one goal which appears to contradict the existence of another. Here is a really good example. You might have one goal which is to become more efficient with your training time (if you’re a marathon runner), but another goal to be at the top of your field. However, according to Swedish psychologist K. Anders Ericsson, it takes approximately 10,000 hours on average to become a world renowned performer, which means you need to put in large amounts of time to be great. At this juncture you will have to prioritise which goal is more important to you, to be efficient and train less, or to be excellent and train more. But you could also try to reconcile the two goals, by seeking to get as much as possible out of your training time as is humanly possible. You could develop training techniques which would help you develop as twice the rate of other athletes who use standard training methods.
- Understand the difference between outcome, performance and process goals. The most common types of goals are outcome goals, which depend on elements you have no control over. An example of outcome goals would be to win the Boston Marathon – you have no control over the event or the other contestants –as a result these goals are more anxiety provoking. Performance goals, however, relate to a particular aspect of your performance, like how fast you can run 1 km, or your best time over a 21 km flat run. The objective here is more clear and specific and does not depend on outside factors beyond your control. Process goals focus on the actual techniques you use when running, like your running style, body position, breathing technique and other aspects specific to running long distance. You will need to establish all three goal types to achieve big dreams.
- State Goals Positively. Goals stated in the positive are far better than Goals stated in the negative. Which goal do you think is better?“I don’t want to fail my chemistry exam next Monday at 9 am”, OR, “I will pass my chemistry exam next Monday at 9 am and achieve at least 90% by studying a chapter every day from today onwards.” The first goal is counterproductive as it actually highlights failure and the difficulty of passing Chemistry. This is contrary to what you want, which is to pass with 90% or more. Furthermore it does not tell you what to do. The alternative version is stated in a positive tone, and emphasizes what you actually want to achieve rather than what you don’t want. It also tells you how you will do it. This is a far better way of formulating your goals.
Productivity Tip: Pay careful attention to how you formulate your goals because well formulated goals are more likely to be achieved.
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