Monday, September 20, 2010

Meet Your Goals - Ten Strategies to Ensure Success

By Kathy Whymark

We all have dreams that we would love to see become a reality. Whether they concern our work or our personal life one thing is certain they will remain dreams unless we take appropriate actions to move towards to our desired outcomes. So the key to success is to have a set of well crafted goals which detail what you want and how you will know when you have got them. The ten key strategies to ensure success are:

1. Know clearly what you want to achieve and put your goals in writing. You will have a much better success rate if they have been committed to paper and are not languishing in a dusty corner of your brain.

2. Have compelling and inspiring goals that you can feel passionate about. This will give you an important uplift in spirits and will motivate you to achieve greatness.

3. Goals should be stated in the positive. Consider someone whose goal is to lose weight. If it is stated in the negative; 'I will lose weight by Christmas' this is steeped in depressing overtures of weight gains in the past. Instead it should be stated as an outcome that can be looked forward to in the future. A more compelling goal will be to feel fitter, lighter and healthier by Christmas.

4. If you think about what is stopping you from achieving your goal now it may be that the outcome is too big and that you feel overwhelmed. If your goal is to get a new job you may need to identify the obstacles and problems to doing this and chop the goal down into smaller, more manageable chunks with outcomes of their own.

The reverse is also true. A goal that is too small and insignificant may not give you the incentive needed to take appropriate actions. Be bolder, look for challenge but remain realistic.

5. Think of outcomes and visualise success. Act as if the goal has already been achieved. Use all your senses here. Visualise how you will feel, what it would look like and even how success will taste! The saying 'think like a rock star, become a rock star' is so very true. Whether you believe you can, or you believe you cannot, you are probably right. I knew someone who failed her driving test before she even left the examiners office. She could never see herself as a driver and she very effectively 'hard wired' failure into her behaviour. Unfortunately it took a further two tests to get the important piece of paper saying she was proficient to drive alone.

6. Be alert to the responses you are getting from the people around you. Is their feedback telling you are on track to achieving your goals or not? This follows onto the next strategy:

7. If you decide you are not getting what you want you may need to change what you are doing. Flexibility of behaviour is the key to having more choice. The more choices you have practice the more chance you have of getting what you want. Someone who applied for 55 jobs used the same CV and covering letter for each of them and then wondered why the 56 application was unsuccessful.

8. Know how to manage your state. This may involve changing the pictures you are making inside your head. A state is either limiting or empowering. You can choose. Going back to the novice driver she chose to take a limiting pathway by concentrating on what she could not do. Instead she should have focused on the fact that she was already a good, safe driver who could confidently navigate traffic in a busy corner of south east of England.

9. By understanding your strengths you know where your true power lies and this will help you keep focused. Conversely by understanding the areas where you are not so strong will indicate where you could seek help if necessary. Someone whose goal is to increase traffic to their website may need the specialist skills of a copy writer or web designer.

And finally

10. Goals must be SMART.

Specific. A specific goal has a much greater chance of being accomplished than a general goal.

Measurable. Establish concrete criteria for measuring progress toward the attainment of each goal you set. Measuring progress ensures you stay on track, reach your target dates, and experience the joy of achievement. This spurs you on to continued effort required to reach your goal.

Attainable. When you identify goals that are important to you, you begin to work out ways you can make them come true. You develop the mindset, abilities, skills, and financial capacity to reach them. Importantly, you begin to see previously overlooked opportunities that we help you move closer to the achievement of your goals.

Realistic. Your goal must represent an outcome that you are both willing and able to achieve. To be compelling and inspiring every goal should represent substantial progress and you truly believe that it can be accomplished.

Timely. A goal should be grounded within a time frame. With no time frame tied to it there is no sense of urgency and a much greater chance of failure.