Goal Setting: How to be successful
Setting goals for success
By Linda, Master NLP Practitionner & certified hypnotherapist (NGH)
There are three parts to successfully setting goals: First, knowing
1) why it’s important to write down your goals, and then,
2) knowing how to set goals you can reach, by defining them properly, and
3) how to actually reach the goals that you’ve defined
Some people pay a lot of money for this method, to learn about setting goals… and I’ve found sites that sell it for outrageous amounts. And it’s worth it, because it works and changes lives. Of course, someone who’s paid 500$ to learn this will actually use it, because they’ve invested so much into it. I’m giving it to you for free, because I think everyone should have this tool, and reach their dreams. If you actually use it after reading it, you’ll have saved hundreds of dollars. Five minutes of work, a chance at your dreams, and you’ve saved hundreds of dollars! Hey, sounds good to me… you could even use this as a lesson plan, and make money doing seminars!
If it’s good for you, it’s good for me, so I’m writing out my goals as well, as I write this guide. I have a notebook for my thoughts and ideas which is ideal for this.
1) Why write down my goals?
Writing down goals really works. How do we know this? The people who’ve written down their goals are more successful than all the others combined.
Take Jim Carrey. In 1987 at the age of 25, this Canadian actor was struggling to survive as a comic in the show-biz jungle of Los Angeles. One night, he drove his old Toyota up to Mulholland Drive, overlooking the Hollywood Hills. Dreaming of the future, he wrote himself a check for $10 million and dated it for Thanksgiving 1995. He then added the note: “for acting services rendered.” So how well did he do with this very specific and concrete goal?
He actually did a WHOLE lot better than he had planned. In 1994, he starred in “Ace Ventura: Pet Detective,” “The Mask” and “Dumb & Dumber”. Those three movies yielded a total gross of $550 million in movie theaters, and he made up to 20 million per picture! Pretty good for a silly kid with a knack for making weird faces and silly voices.
Not convinced? Need a bigger sample of people? In 1953, Success magazine conducted a survey and asked Yale’s graduating class a number of questions. Of those, three interest us:
1. Have you set goals?
2. Have you written them down?
3. Do you have a plan to accomplish them?
3 % of them had written goals with a plan to achieve them.
13 % had goals, but had not written them down.
84 % had no specific goals, other than to make the most out of their lives and enjoy themselves.
So how well did they do?
The 13% who had goals, but did not wtite them down, were earning twice as much as the ones who didn’t have goals.
The 3% who had written their goals, along with a plan to achieve them, were earning on average 10 time more than the other 97% combined! Setting your career goals really pays off!
2) How to set goals so they’re achievable
Here are the characteristics of a well formed goal:
1) Positively stated
2) Concrete and observable
3) Realistically achievable
4) Involves only you
1) Positively stated
If your career goal setting plan is to be rich, don’t phrase it as “I don’t want to be poor”. When you set a goal, it becomes a command for the unconscious mind, and it will find every way it can to help you. However, the unconscious doesn’t really understand negation.
In order to imagine “not poor”, you have to imagine poor. So your unconscious gets this image of “being poor”, which it fixates on, and the command to get away from it. This is fine if you’re into creating more fears for yourself… but the problem is, it doesn’t tell your unconscious what you want. It only says what you don’t want. Imagine asking a taxi driver to not take you to the airport. Where will you end up? Probably not anywhere you want to go!
So get used to choosing what you do want, rather than what you don’t want. That way, you are moving TOWARDS something, rather than aimlessly AWAY from something.
State your goals as what you want, instead of what you don’t want.
2) Concrete and observable
This is probably the most important one to respect, and ignoring it causes much unhappiness.
To Be Rich
People wish to be rich. But what does that specifically mean? If you don’t specify how rich you want to be, you won’t be able to plan out appropriate actions.
One example is working in a video store. “Rich” can mean making more money. If you work more hours, you’ll make more money, yes. But it will never make you rich. If you choose to make “$100,000 per year” as your concrete and observable measure of “being rich”, you will know that working in a video store won’t do it. So you’ll look into options that would allow you to make approximately that amount of money. And then, you can plan out the steps to get there.
On the other end, someone could start out washing dishes and end up making two million dollars a year, and still feel like they havn’t made it to success. They stay late at work, ignore their spouse and kids, thinking they’ll have time to enjoy their wealth later. But when later comes, they are a stranger to their kids, their spouse has left them, and their health is failing. How sucky is that?
If they had set their goal to “making a million dollars a year”, then when they reached it, they could have started relaxing, and enjoying their life. I know of one man who accumulated quite a bit of money, thinking he’d enjoy it when he retired. He then had a brain clot, and is now entirely paralyzed for life. What a waste!
Maybe you want to aim high. That’s fine, shoot for 100 millions if you want, and if you believe that this is realistically achievable (see point 3), and then start planning the steps to reach that.
Now, your personal goal could be more uplifted. Maybe you want inner peace. That’s good, but how will you know when you’ve reached it? This is too fuzzy a goal to be achievable. What kind of steps can you take to achieve goals as vague as that?
Here’s a concrete description that people could observe: “I want to remain calm, focussed and rational when people get angry with me.” Now, THAT’s something clearly observable. You can take steps to reach that, measure how much success you’re achieving as you avoid anger more and more, and eventually, you will know you’ve reached your goal. Concrete goals also have one HUGE advantage: You can measure how close you are to success, and this is very encouraging, as you notice your continual progression towards it.
Make your goal concrete and observable, so that anyone reading your goal description can determine whether you’ve reached it or not.
3) Realistically achievable
“I want to become a superman and fly.” Not terribly realistic.
“I want to rule the world.” Perhaps defining a small part of the world to rule would be more achievable. Like maybe a chess club, or a business.
“I want to make a million dollars a year”. This is achievable. Lots of people have done it. But the main question is, do you think it’s possible for you?
Everything is possible, but if you don’t believe there’s any real chance of your goal happening, then you will sabotage yourself. Likewise, if you don’t think you deserve to have that, I suggest you work on your self-worth first, perhaps with a therapist, or you’ll sabotage your successes. You see that happening with people who start succesful businesses, then fail, and repeat the cycle. The same see-saw effect happens with people whose motivation is to be “not poor”, because they lose all their motivation to work once they are “not poor”… and down they go!
Make your goal something you believe you can achieve
4) Involves only you
“I want a gorgeous lover who’ll do everything I want”. Nice goal, but the question is, what can you do to get it? The problem with this is that it’s a want, not a well-formed goal. Goals are things you can work towards, but there’s no way to directly make people do things. What you have to find is a way to make people want to do what you want.
“I want to become the kind of person that sexy women find very attractive, and want to do things for, to gain my favor.” This is MUCH better goal, because it involves only you. You can’t control other people, but you CAN control yourself! You can investigate what traits others have, that get the kind of women you like to behave this way. Maybe it’s having lots of money, well defined muscles, and lots of confidence. I don’t know. But at least now, you have something you can actually DO to get closer to your goal. And let’s face it, even if the women don’t fawn over you after you reach your goal, being rich, toned, and cool isn’t a bad way to be.
Your goal can’t depend on other people doing what you want, it has to depend only on you.
3) Reaching my goals step by step
Here we are at the point of starting how we’ll reach the goal. But before we start, we’ll need two things: one, make sure it’s really what you want, and two, start figuring out the steps to get there
1) Ecology: Is this what I really want?
A popular sci-fi author coined the acronym TANSTAAFL: “There ain’t no such thing as a free lunch”. This is very true. Nothing comes without a cost. Even if you were suddenly to have superpowers, it would cost you. You wouldn’t be able to live as you did before, and while some parts of it would be great, you’d miss other parts, the normal life everyone takes for granted.
To become something means not becoming something else. There’s only so much time in a day, and if you want to be a great musician, you have to practice. That means skipping on other activities. If you get a lover, you have to spend time with them, and can’t just be a hermit every night.
So, here’s what you do, you take a page, draw a line down the middle, and fill out as many advantages and disadvantages as you can:
What I gain by getting what I want :
What I lose by getting what I want :
So, are the gains worth the losses?
2) The Steps
You may have heard the old joke: “How do you eat an elephant?”
One. bite. at. a. time.
Or as Cesar would say. “Divide and conquer”
If your goal in life is to become the most seductive person in the world, you have to break it down into manageable steps. Baby steps. If it was easy, you would have done it already and you wouldn’t have needed this text to help you. I know it’s hard. So make the steps easy. Here’s a list of potential steps to becoming seductive, assuming we’re starting with a total slob. Take each step one at a time, until it’s part of you (which can take weeks), and don’t rush it. If you do too much, you’ll only discourage yourself. Changing can be hard. Or, it can be really easy, if you make the steps small enough.
Steps to becoming seductive (example)
1) Start reading books on seduction
2) Wash every day
3) Only wear clean clothes
4) Get a new haircut
5) Wash hair every second day and style it
6) Pay full attention when someone is speaking to me
7) Avoid trying to impress people with my stories
3) Putting it all together
Get a page, or notebook, or something. Start writing your goal.
Revise it until it’s positively stated, realistic, involves only you, and has concrete, clearly observable results you can take as proof of success, and as indications that you’re making progress.
Turn the page over, divide in half, and write in one part “what I will gain from reaching my goal,” and in the other “What I will lose by reaching my goal”
Then, if you decide the losses are worth the gains, start writing out your plan, with detailed steps. It’s ok if you don’t know all the steps right now. You can revise and add to them as you work towards your goal, but outline as many steps as you can now.
Read over what you’ve written. Are you feeling excitement and hope? Dread and fear? A calm certainty that you can do it? Is the goal too easy for you, and you think you should aim higher? Or maybe it’s too hard, and you need to start with a smaller more manageable goal. Setting yourself up for failure is not doing anyone any favors, but achieving smaller goals is a great way to boost your confidence.
Now, I’m not going to tell you to grab some paper and do it now…
Because it’s really up to you to decide whether achieving your dreams
it’s worth spending 5 minutes writing them out now.
But I can tell you this. People who are achieving their dreams are usually a whole lot more alive and happy than the rest, and that happiness has a real influence on those around them. It helps others reach for their dreams too. So if your own happiness is not enough of a motivation… think of those other lives you touch, and the effect you’ll have on them. Denying yourself for others never works out in the long run, for you, or for those you love. Fill that emptiness in your life.
Dream… and bring that dream into this world.