Step 2: Prioritize Your Goals
Step 3: Writing Goals Down
Step 4: Positive Motivation
Step 5: Negative Motivation
Step 6: Identifying and Overcoming Limiting Beliefs
Step 7: Changing Habits and Behaviors
How to Set Goals: Brainstorm and write down all your goals!
When it comes down to how to set goals, you don’t need to worry about various categories. When you are in the “idea” phase and brainstorming out all the possibilities for what you might want to pursue in your future, you need not get caught up in categories or the “types” of different goals. Simply write down as many things as possible for what you’d like to do, be or have.
Remember, the sky is the limit! Also, let me give you a very cool tip for this first step on how to set goals. Spend as much time as needed, or as much time as possible on this exercise until you feel as though you have really captured many of the goals that are important to you. Don’t feel as though you have or need any goals? Hmm…Think again, and Read all about what goal setting really means!
Why wouldn’t you want to take your time on this brainstorming exercise? Hey, if you are feeling as though you want to skip this step, let me use my power of comparisons talk on you again… First of all, how many hours a week do you spend watching television? I’m guessing you spend at least 1-2 hours on average. So, why couldn’t you also invest a minimum of an hour on this particular exercise? Do you go to the movie theatre each week, every other week, or even once a month? I guarantee you that, the few hours you invest in this exercise will return much more than the few hours you’ve spent watching shows and movies. And, let me also say, that you’ll have just as much if not more fun!
Here are some awesome motivational goal setting questions that will help you identify all the things that you want to do, become or achieve (you don’t have to answer these, but they will stimulate a lot more ideas for you)! Go nuts, and make a nice big long list! As you learn how to set goals be sure to keep the process fun! After you complete this brainstorming process, you will move on to step 2, which is prioritizing your goals.
Goal Setting Questions to Help You Brainstorm!
1. What things do I want to do with my life?
2. What kind of person do I want to become?
3. What do I want to become known for?
4. What is my life purpose or mission?
5. What material possessions would I like to have?
6. What do I want to move toward?
7. What would I like to have in life?
8. How do I want to focus my time and energy?
9. What does my ideal lifestyle look like?
10. What do I want to experience?
11. What sorts of activities am I so passionate about that I would gladly get up at 5:30am to start them?
12. What do I find myself daydreaming and fantasizing about all the time?
13. If a genie could grant me one wish, what would I wish for?
Congratulations for finishing step 1 on how to set goals! If you now have a nice, long list of your goals, you are further ahead than most people! Most people figure – “what’s the point” and don’t even bother. You are now ready to move on to step 2, which is prioritizing your goals.
Using my motivational questions, you’ll have no problem buckling down and deciding what it is that you want to focus on! Are you still wondering how to set goals? You are well on your way!
Step 2: Prioritize Your Goals
Step 3: Writing Goals Down
Step 4: Positive Motivation
Step 5: Negative Motivation
Step 6: Identifying and Overcoming Limiting Beliefs
Step 7: Changing Habits and Behaviors
Throughout my journey of personal development, I’ve realized that great achievements are comprised of a series of small steps, efforts and actions that have evolved over time into what are often perceived as big, notable achievements.
As a woman who is very passionate and ‘obsessed’ with her personal development, I would describe myself as overly ambitious, and often times frustrated by anything that resembles status-quo living. Just like you, I’ve had the tendency to want ‘more’, or ‘different’ in my life now, as opposed to later.
Interestingly, we live in a culture in which we are continually bombarded by success stories in the media that misrepresent how people actually achieve their goals.
We typically hear about the “rags to riches” stories of a people making millions of dollars in the marketplace, turning a home-based business into a multi-million dollar company, suddenly becoming a famous actress, and so forth.
The media always focuses on the end-result of the journey, – the destination. No one ever hears about the complex journey that often times comes before.
This is not to say that huge achievements cannot happen within a short period of time, because they can, and they do. For most people however, achievement is something that evolves and grows with time.
The journey is not about a race, it’s about setting and sticking to your own pace. My personal motto has always been, “one step a day is the only way!”
As you approach your goals remember to exercise patience. If you’re obsessed and passionate about your personal development, you’re probably quite busy working toward your goals, and, probably feeling quite inpatient.
One of the side effects to being a savvy, ambitious woman who is overly passionate about her achievement, is something called cognitive dissonance. While creating cognitive dissonance is necessary to make your goals a reality, it can also make your life a living hell if you aren’t careful.
Once you create a clear, detailed picture of your dreams, things can get pretty hectic. You constantly think, talk and act on your goals consistently. As a result, even though you haven’t achieved your goal, in some small way it feels like it has already happened, and that it is already a reality.
The only problem, is that it hasn’t happened yet, and there is a gap between your current reality and your expectations. This is called cognitive dissonance. While experiencing this gap ensures you stay motivated and in action, if you’re not careful you can become quite impatient and frustrated with yourself.
In my own experience, I’ve described this feeling as exploiting my intellectual and spiritual resources, and feeling empty inside. There have been times where I’ve felt quite productive and proud of my efforts, yet it came at the expense of living unconsciously.
Remember the story of the tortoise and hare? Slow and steady will win the ‘race’. It’s about being consistent, and developing the habits that will make your dreams a reality! As much as your passion might be your strength, it can also be your Achilles heal. There is wisdom in knowing when it is time to make leaps and strides versus when it is time to stick to your ‘baby steps’.
Think about some of your character qualities that you are proud of. You probably didn’t become a different person overnight, but rather you honed and developed your character over time. Think about some of the most meaningful things you’ve accomplished in your lifetime. How did they unfold? Was it suddenly, within a few days, months or even years?
Regardless of whether you are at a point in your life where you are taking baby steps, leaps or great strides, and regardless of how quickly you take those steps, – remember this:
Your journey to achieving your dreams is a process as opposed to a single event that happens ‘overnight’.
No doubt that as a busy, savvy woman, there will be times when you will need to take comfort in knowing that you are moving forward, period. Sometimes, baby steps are good enough.
Each step you take toward your dreams, is a step forward. Move toward your dreams with confidence, power and pride. Step forward consciously, and enjoy the journey!
In working with many women over the years, I’ve learned that women’s ways of knowing, and their approach to achieving their life dreams, differs from what is taught in the SMART acronym. When setting goals, we are taught that they are supposed to be very Specific, Measurable, Action-oriented with a detailed plan, Realistic and Time-bound (must have a deadline).
The problem with the Smart formula is that its assumptions and philosophies are heavily rooted in pure ‘scientific’, left-brain thinking, pure logic, and reason. It’s the whole “I’ll believe it when I see it” perspective, as opposed to “I’ll see it when I believe it.” The problem with these instructions is that they alone, are limiting in nature.
Smart goal setting has many valuable benefits that should not be ignored, and I wouldn’t advocate that you through the baby out with the bath water. However, Smart goal setting seems to only speak to only one of two important sides of the “success” equation.
I believe that the Smart formula has turned many women off from the idea of “goal-setting”. It has become such a mechanistic, boring chore to set goals using only the Smart formula. When I think about the Smart formula on its own, there are certain negative connotations and overlooked concerns that immediately come to mind.
Let’s start with the first guideline of setting a Specific goal. Being specific with your goals is very important, however “specific” on it’s own, leaves out an important former step, which is the need for exploration, brainstorming, curiosity, and something else called, “thinking big”! This is how the process of goal setting should begin, but this part is rarely ever suggested, it is only assumed.
The first time you actually get serious and start thinking about what you want in your life, you will come up with many different ideas, and this is exactly what you want. The term “Specific” on its own, is limiting in nature. How does one have absolute clarity and detail on a goal that is in its infancy?
The truth is, the clarity of your goals evolve and develop over time. So, don’t worry that the goals and the visions behind them in the different areas of your life are a bit fuzzy. This is completely normal when you are first setting a goal.
What about being told to make sure that your goals are measurable? This only takes into consideration measuring the final outcome. What if the ‘outcome’ is a result that will take many months or years to attain? How will you measure your progress in-between? I believe that we need to measure and reward ourselves for the many steps, actions and efforts along the way.
There also seems to be some goals that just aren’t measurable by quantifiable standards. For instance, what if a person’s goal is to maintain a positive outlook on life? What if a person’s goal is to experience more gratitude on a daily basis? Not everyone wants to ‘translate’ or break those goals into something quantifiable. Not everyone wants to take a ‘logical’ approach to every single goal.
On the flip side, of course there are many short-term, straightforward goals that are easy to measure such as the size of your waist, your bank account, or perhaps the number of unique visitors that arrive to your website each month. These types of goals are easy and fun to measure, because they are quite concrete. Not all goals are so straightforward though.
Third, we are taught to make sure our goals are Action-oriented. Of course this is important, – it’s a no brainer. Interestingly, taking action is not most people’s weakness. It’s relatively easy to take action. Consider the common New Year’s resolution to lose weight. People get into action right away, but they often have problems staying in action.
The downside to promoting the ‘massive action’ side of the equation is that it leaves out an equally important task – which is that of planning. Many people in life know what to do to achieve their goals. The problem they often have is sticking to their goals and following through with their goals.
In order to make this a success, a person needs to work on identifying their limiting beliefs, thoughts and behaviours, and supplementing them. This requires work, and compared to taking action, it is relatively boring for most people as it is ‘behind the scenes’ work, and not something that you can easily measure and track.
One of the worst things about the Smart formula is the notion that our goals should be Realistic. When you are first setting your goals, that last thing I’d recommend is to be realistic. This assumption again is rooted in thinking out of practicality and logic. What about thinking big?
The first step is to decide on what you want in the different areas of your life, and only later does a person figure out the ‘how’. The ‘how’ is your plan, and that is the component that will be rooted practicality. Don’t ever let your current lack of awareness or knowledge ever prevent you from attempting to achieve a dream of your choice.
I once read that being realistic with setting your goals is actually being pessimistic. So, think big, and don’t consider realistic plans in the beginning. That part of your plan and strategy is what comes later.
Last but not least, watch out for the Time-bound notion of the DEADline! My goodness, what feelings and thoughts come to mind when you hear the term ‘deadline’? The term seems to imply, – achieve your goal by a certain date or else! Automatically, many people report feeling a lot of negative pressure and stress.
It almost feels like a competition to ‘beat the clock’ so to speak. There is a feeling of needing to rush and possibly sacrifice quality to meet the deadline. There is also the fear of failure. If you don’t achieve your goal by the deadline, you might feel like a failure. This can create feelings of low self-worth and unnecessary frustration and stress.
Deadlines of course are important, and they will have a necessary time and place with many of your goals. When the tasks are quite menial and straightforward, it might make sense to set a date for their completion. The pursuit of many other life goals however, aren’t so straightforward.
The achievement of big goals and dreams are rather complex. Rather than focusing on achieving an end-result or arriving at an exclusive destination, women find that their dreams unfold one step at a time. Our achievements evolve, and it is a journey-oriented process.
The key isn’t so much to focus on the quantity of time it takes to achieve our goals, but rather it’s about the commitment to our goals. It’s about staying focused and knowing the direction we are headed in. We can’t always control timelines due to the expected, yet unexpected variables that always come into play along during our journey.
Deadlines assume that one already has all their resources in place, and that one already knows the exact instructions on how to arrive at the goal. It also assumes a person will have no obstacles or barriers to overcome, which in turn, takes time to circumnavigate.
The problem is that achieving big dreams can’t be done by following a cookie-cutter approach. There is no precise instruction manual with a person’s name carved into it. A person’s unique circumstances and life context always comes into play, and there are never any detours.
Rather than thinking in terms of deadlines, it makes better sense to think about moving or ‘evolving’ targets. The achievement of our goals is a dynamic process that is constantly in flux. Changes in our environment, available resources, and the unique factor of ‘trail and error’ all ensure unexpected zig zags in our path, and hence our overall timeline.
As a person works toward achieving their goals, they are constantly customizing their plans and overall approach. As time goes on, we constantly evaluate our goals, their importance, relevance and meaning to us.
Another assumption inherent in deadlines is that a person will always be consistent in their motivation to plan, take action, and adjust their approach as needed. This is rarely the case because what gets a person from Point A to Point B is always different than what is required to move a person from Point B to Point C. New plans, and new perspectives for staying motivated are always required.
Furthermore, deadlines assume that a person knows how to stay motivated all the time. I’ve learned that learning personal motivation techniques is perhaps even more difficult than taking action, because motivation is what gets a person to take action, and to take consistently.
Achieving our goals is not a single event, but rather it is an evolving process.
Our achievements evolve, one step at a time, one day at a time, one insight at a time, and this occurs over and over again. The journey is forever evolving, which is another point left out in Smart goal setting. For example, a deadline implies that the journey ends once the destination is arrived at. However the journey continues as a person maintains, improves or builds upon that big dream.
Being “smart” about achieving your dreams isn’t only logical – it also requires being present to your own unique life context, and rather than relying exclusively on someone else’s cookie cutter formula, you might want to take a few of the main principle ingredients that you prefer, and then create your own personalized recipe for success.
Others’ expertise and advice combined with your own self-knowledge and inevitable trial and error might prove to be the most fruitful.
It is not just about staying fully committed to a set of predetermined and specific goals with date tags attached to them, – it also requires being open and receptive to the many new opportunities, perspectives, and learning lessons that develop as each day passes. We are in constant flux and change, and therefore our goals reflect this as well.
Goal setting is about living with passion, and staying focused on your multiple, evolving dreams. The Smart approach to setting goals is one of two important sides of the equation. Use your imagination, intuition and personal wisdom to adopt an approach that works for you. In the end, there is no one exact acronym, formula or secret that can get you there. What works for someone else might not work for you.
This will allow you to not only set your own goals, but it will provide you with personalized motivation – and that is what you need for the long haul.
These goal setting software programs have become popular because they are helping people to organize their personal goals. I myself, was contemplating on buying some goal-setting software until I encountered many great free goal setting software programs. However, I’ve realized there are pros and cons to using these tools as opposed to writing your goals down on paper.
Benefits and Drawbacks of Using Goal Setting Software
One benefit is being able to have all your files together, and this includes your personal goals. Just as you are in the habit of checking the online news, your email, Facebook and anything else online – now you can check your goals at the same time.
Also, many of these programs provide for a nice visual background, and a sense of true interactions since others can also read your goals. You feel supported and you feel a sense of community which can be motivating in and of itself.
There are a few disadvantages to using these online programs. First, are you going to take the time to login to check your goals? Or, will it become one more ‘to-do thing’ on your list?
For myself, I love to read my goals every night as I lay in bed. Somehow, this seems more real and personal for me. My journal is so easily accessible, whereas I don’t always feel that my software is if I’m not at my computer all the time.
Also, if I’m plugging my goals into the computer, I’m more likely to get distracted with all the other things occurring online, and so I might not focus as much on setting my goals.
In contrast, there are many benefits a person can reap from the power of hand writing their goals. It has been thought that it is a more active approach integrating many different sensory faculties. As you move your had across the page, often times your hand will cross the median of your body, and this is thought to activate different parts of the brain.
Handwriting might actually ingrain the goal more into your subconscious mind. This is important, because it normalizes and ingrains how badly you want your goals – your desire and expectation to achieve these goals simply becomes your true waking reality -and you won’t accept anything less.
Of course, if your goals are in notebook, they aren’t as confidential as someone could find your notebook. Also, if you’re the type of person who would lose your notebook, or paper on which you’ve written your goals, then maybe using a goal setting software program is best for you. Check out the following goal setting software programs!
Goal Setting Software Programs
Joe’s Goals – Free Goal Setting Software
Take the tour, and check out this amazing platform first! You can easily add new goals and new logbooks to track everything! This program is all about measuring your success. You just click on a calendar to log in information! It’s fun!
A Program that Creates Wallet Size Goal Setting Cards!
Try this totally advanced platform now!This along with the free goal setting program will keep you inspired and taking full action!
Receive Your Goals by Email!
goal setting software program because you can have your goal emailed to you each week! Advertise your goals to yourself through email so you don’t have to remember to go out of your way to read them! How great is this? Reminding ourselves of our goals is half the battle in my opinion!
The Fun Life Tango Goal Setting Program
This is a totally cool, easy to use goal setting program. The platform itself is very colourful and well put together.
It sort of reminds me of Facebook in that you can decide whether or not to share your goals, and your level of privacy. The flip side is that you can view your friend’s goals as well! You can choose an alias name if you’d like. They have a really unique set-up where you can view a whole bunch of people’s goals, and you can even adopt someone else’s goal and have it set up on your own profile!
There is also a task tracker, so you can remind yourself of the little steps required to meet your bigger goal. I promise that you won’t be disappointed with this site – you’ll love this one for it’s ‘looks’ alone!
Value Based Goal Setting!
This is yet another great site – no joke again! As soon as you get to the site, you can watch an inspiring video informing you on what the goal setting software includes. Watching this video alone is worth the trip to its site!
Join A Goal Setting Ring for Group Goal Setting
This good program has all the standard features as above. While it is not as visually appealing, it does include other perks such as a goal setting guide, the ability to set goals as part of a group, and finally, it also includes charts to track your progress. Have a peak at this program, and you can begin sharing your goals with others and receiving support right away!
8 Goals Online: Set Your Goals and Track Your Progress for Life!
Another user-friendly goal setting freeware program that allows you to track your progress in achieving your targets. This has a video demo for you to follow instructions on how to use it. It has current, future and lifetime goal categories. What is unique about this program is that it contains a section called “Reason to Achieve”, so that you write down why the goal is important to you. The program also contains some decent charts as well.
43 Things Goal Setting Freeware
What I like about this site, is that you can type in your goal without registering to see how many other people have that goal as well! This is a great site that is user friendly and free of course, – well up to 43 goals, and then you’d have to pay. You can take the 43 Things Goal Setting Tour to see what it is all about. While this site is not overly aesthetically appealing, it has a very nice basic look.