Coach for Success

Goal Setting

Goal setting, as the first part of this section commented, is so important, yet unfortunately our education system does not tell us how to do it. In recent years, management textbooks and seminars have told us to make our goals SMART - Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Time Orientated. This is all very fine and memorable, but words like achievable and realistic keep us trapped in our comfort zone. By the time we’ve made our goals smart, there’s a real danger that we’ve made them unexciting and by making them unexciting, we can more easily be blown off course when things get tough, as they often do.

Effective goal setting must start with the vision, something to get excited about. Rather than just growing your business to, say, a turnover of £2 million in 3 years, actually picture it in your mind’s eye. What will your offices look like, how many and what type of people will be working for you, what will your working life be like? Secondly, you must have a commitment to the vision. Here, looking at all the benefits (pleasure) the goal will bring, or the pain achieving it will avoid, works best – you need a compelling “why”. Thirdly, you need a plan, a clear “how”. Don’t just look at the obvious, but initially try and come up with as many options as possible. Finally, you need to begin and take some action. Obvious, maybe, but how many plans remain just that, plans. However small, take some action immediately you have finished writing your plan. For example, if your goal is to lose weight, buy the running shoes or the diet book, join the gym or sign up a friend to exercise with.

In the next page, we will continue looking at goal setting in more detail and some helpful ways of writing goals down and reminding yourself of them.

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