5 Steps to Personal Goal Setting Success

Personal goal setting can mean the difference between achieving what you want in life rather than just dreaming about it. The right goals keep you focused on what matters most and avoids you spending years accomplishing what you could have done in a few months.

Did you know that 80% of goal setting studies in sport and business show improvement in less than 6 weeks?

I've use personal goal setting as:

  • a sport psychologist with elite athletes, 
  • a performance coach with business professionals,and 
  • as a university lecturer with students.

I use them because they work!

My personal mission is to you to achieve your goals faster than you could without my help.

Here I give you 5 steps to achieve personal goal setting success. These include:

  1. Making sure you set the right goals
  2. Setting sticky goals that keep you motivated
  3. Setting SMART goals
  4. Building a goal setting plan, and
  5. Avoiding the deadly sins of goal setting

1. Personal goal setting requires clarity of vision and purpose

Dr Banfield of Harvard University stated that the most important determinant of personal and financial success is having a "long-term perspective." A long-term perspective means creating a personal vision of the type of person you want to be.

You will become as small as your controlling desire; as great as your dominant aspiration

James Allen

A personal vision is the foundation upon which to develop your long-term goals. But having a vision of what you want to achieve in your life can be difficult. 

Vision exercise

Create a life that is aligned with your personal values with these vision activities.

2. Set long-term goals

I spend some time earlier this month with a high powered business executive who was in tears.

On the outside he had the trapping of success - a big office overlooking the harbor, kids in private schools, and a bright shiny Mercedes in the driveway.

However he had missed seeing his two children grow up, felt like he had been a failure in his marriage, and had not kept up with his passion for health and fitness.

For him, up to this point, everything had taken a backseat to work and career!

Don't be mistaken, your job or career is important...how else can you put food on the table?

But to live an effective life, one of meaning and purpose, goals that reflect a balanced life are likely to provide your greatest rewards!

personal goal setting

BUT how can you achieve balance in your personal goal setting?

The easiest and most foolproof way is to set and achieve goals in different areas of your life by following proven goal setting strategies. Some examples of how to set goals in different life areas include the following.

Family goal setting

Do you want to spend more quality time with your family?

What sort of parent or partner do you want to be?

Setting family goals is an important part of overall goal setting.

Fitness goal setting

Do you want to lose weight or become fitter?

Perhaps you want to improve your game or remain motivated to keep training.

Do you want to remain healthy as you get older?

What steps do you need to take to set fitness goals. 

Setting personal goals

Do you want to maintain a positive mindset?

Are there behaviors that you want to improve upon?

Do you want to have more pleasure and happiness in your life?

Setting personal goals for these things is important to your happiness.

Setting financial goals

What sort of money do you want to earn?

Do you want to achieve financial freedom? If so, how?

Financial goals can be the difference between being financially secure and struggling from day-to-day.

Career goal setting

Where do you want to be in your career? What type of job do you want to work in?

Career goals help you to set smart goals that focus you on your career objectives.

3. SMART personal goal setting

Over the years I have worked with many sport professionals, business professionals, and college students in setting and achieving goals.

They are often great at setting short-term term goals - win the match, close the deal, or ace an exam - but the steps to achieving their long-term goal are often lacking.

Often people come unstuck in their goal setting plan. Do you know what you are aiming for? Do you know how you are going to get there?

Often the second question is hard to answer! This is where setting SMART goals is important. This action plan can help you to set SMART goals

SMART goals allow you to develop your OWN road map to success in any part of your life. SMART is an acronym for setting Specific, Measurable, Action-based, Realistic, and Time-bound goals.

4. Write short-term specific goals

Research suggests that to maximize goal setting success, you need a combination of short and long-term SMART goals.

Imagine a ladder with the top step being the achievement of your long-term goal. Each step on the ladder can be thought of as one of your short-term goals. As you progress up the ladder you complete each short-term goal moving you closer to your ultimate success.

It is easy to lose sight of your long-term goal, so it is really important to set short-term goals that keep you focused on your lifetime plan. These free goal setting templates give you the skills to develop short-term goals from your bigger picture.

5. Avoid the deadly sins of goal setting

Every year many people set goals, only to set the same goals again the following year. This is because they make some common goal setting mistakes. 

Do you have too many goals in the different areas of your life?

Are you spread too thin?

Do you set and forget goals?

Is the goal what you really desire?

It is great to be eager and motivated and these goal setting tips keep you focused on ensuring you don't make some common mistakes.

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