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Setting achievable goals is one of the first steps toward a successful career and meaningful personal development. In this business skills course for lynda.com, author Dave Crenshaw shows smart ways to create a vision, develop a quantifiable goal, turn that goal into actions, and share that commitment publicly to establish accountability.
Along the way, discover the importance of celebrating successes and reviewing your progress in order to stay motivated and establish a pattern of successful goal setting.
The first step toward achieving your goals is to create a vision that's as vibrant and clear in your mind as possible. There are many studies confirming that athletes who continually visualize their goals achieve a great deal of success. When you establish a very clear vision in your mind and make it as real for yourself as possible, your goal will become more meaningful and more motivational to you. However, many people either don't know where to begin or don't have a clear understanding of what they really want in life.
I've provided a worksheet to help you in this process. At the top of this worksheet, you'll see the statement "These are the things I must accomplish in order to feel successful on," with a blank space for a date one year from now. To be fully motivated, set goals for things you feel you must accomplish. If you list things that you would merely like to accomplish, you'll find it much harder to stay motivated. The stronger the desire, the more likely you'll achieve your goals.
Notice in the instructions, the terms "become," "do," and "have." Each part of your vision will fall into one of those three categories: either who you want to become as a person, what you want to do, or something that you want to have in your life. Let's follow one example. Imagine I feel I must complete a marathon one year from now. First, I want to describe that thoroughly. One way to think about that is to imagine that I've taken a time machine one year into the future. I step out.
I take a picture of myself. What is that vision like? How will I feel? In this example, I might say, "I will have run a marathon successfully and I will feel better about myself and be healthier than I have ever been in my life." I could provide more detail than that, but that's enough for our example. Next, you'll see an important question to answer about this vision: why you know you will be successful in becoming, doing, or having this.
There's an important reason for this question. Many brain-science experts and psychologists have found that the moment you introduce a new idea in your brain, its tendency is to give you many reasons why you should not or cannot accomplish this idea. To get past this, we want to consider why this goal is attainable. By framing the question as a why, and then the answer as because, the brain will come up with reasons why it can and will become true.
In my example, I'll be successful in my first marathon because I'm using this goal-setting system, because I'm committed to the process, and because it's something I've dreamed of my whole life. I would list as many reasons why I know I will succeed as I can think of. The more supporting reasons you can list, the stronger your commitment to this vision will be. You'll repeat this process for up to five things that you want to accomplish in the next year.
I recommend that you do not list more than five and ideally have less than five things that you will accomplish within one year. Why? Well, simply put, by focusing on a few concrete objectives, the more likely you are to succeed. Once you've created this vision, put it some place were you can see it regularly. You may even want to frame and put it in a prominent place in your home, or office. This vision is the foundation for your success in achieving your goals, so you want to keep it in view always.
Once you've written out your vision, we're ready to move on toward actually achieving it.
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