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Personal Goal Setting
- Planning to Live Your
Life Your Way
How to Use Tool:
setting is a formal process for personal planning. By setting goals on a routine
basis you decide what you want to achieve, and then move step-by-step towards
the achievement of these goals. The process of setting goals and targets allows
you to choose where you want to go in life. By knowing precisely what you want
to achieve, you know what you have to concentrate on to do it. You also know
what is merely a distraction.
setting is a standard technique used by top-level athletes, successful
business-people and achievers in all fields. It gives you long-term vision and
short-term motivation. It focuses your acquisition of knowledge and helps you to
organize your resources.
setting sharp, clearly defined goals, you can measure and take pride in the
achievement of those goals. You can see forward progress in what might
previously have seemed a long pointless grind. By setting goals, you will also
raise your self-confidence, as you recognize your ability and competence in
achieving the goals that you have set. The process of achieving goals and seeing
this achievement gives you confidence that you will be able to achieve higher
and more difficult goals.
set on a number of different levels: First you decide what you want to do with
your life and what large-scale goals you want to achieve. Second, you break
these down into the smaller and smaller targets that you must hit so that you
reach your lifetime goals. Finally, once you have your plan, you start working
towards achieving it.
Starting to Set Personal Goals
This section explains how to set personal goals. It starts with your lifetime
goals, and then works through a series of lower level plans culminating in a
daily to-do list. By setting up this structure of plans you can break even the
biggest life goal down into a number of small tasks that you need to do each day
to reach the lifetime goals.
Your Lifetime Goals
The first step in setting personal goals is to consider what you want to achieve
in your lifetime, as setting Lifetime goals gives you the overall perspective
that shapes all other aspects of your decision making.
To give a
broad, balanced coverage of all important areas in your life, try to set goals
in some or all of the following categories:
Do you want to achieve any artistic goals? If so, what?
Is any part of your mindset holding you back? Is there any part of the way
that you behave that upsets you? If so, set a goal to improve your behavior or
find a solution to the problem.
What level do you want to reach in your career?
Is there any knowledge you want to acquire in particular? What information and
skills will you need to achieve other goals?
Do you want to be a parent? If so, how are you going to be a good parent? How
do you want to be seen by a partner or by members of your extended family?
How much do you want to earn by what stage?
Are there any athletic goals you want to achieve, or do you want good health
deep into old age? What steps are you going to take to achieve this?
How do you want to enjoy yourself? - you should ensure that some of your life
is for you!
Do you want to make the world a better place by your existence? If so, how?
have decided your goals in these categories, assign a priority to them from A to
F. Then review the goals and re-prioritize until you are satisfied that they
reflect the shape of the life that you want to lead. Also ensure that the goals
that you have set are the goals that you want to achieve, not what your parents,
spouse, family, or employers want them to be.
How to Start to
Achieve Your Lifetime Goals
Once you have set your lifetime goals, set a 25 year plan of smaller goals that
you should complete if you are to reach your lifetime plan. Then set a 5 year
plan, 1 year plan, 6 month plan, and 1 month plan of progressively smaller goals
that you should reach to achieve your lifetime goals. Each of these should be
based on the previous plan.
daily to-do list of things that you should do today to work towards your
lifetime goals. At an early stage these goals may be to read books and gather
information on the achievement of your goals. This will help you to improve the
quality and realism of your goal setting.
review your plans, and make sure that they fit the way in which you want to live
Staying on Course
Once you have decided your first set of plans, keep the process going by
reviewing and updating your to-do list on a daily basis. Periodically review the
longer term plans, and modify them to reflect your changing priorities and
The following broad guidelines will help you to set effective goals:
State each goal as a
Express your goals positively - 'Execute this technique well' is a much better
goal than 'Don't make this stupid mistake'
Set a precise goal, putting in dates, times and amounts so that you can
measure achievement. If you do this, you will know exactly when you have
achieved the goal, and can take complete satisfaction from having achieved it.
When you have several goals, give each a priority. This helps you to avoid
feeling overwhelmed by too many goals, and helps to direct your attention to
the most important ones.
Write goals down:
this crystallizes them
and gives them more force.
Keep operational goals
small: Keep the
low-level goals you are working towards small and achievable. If a goal is too
large, then it can seem that you are not making progress towards it. Keeping
goals small and incremental gives more opportunities for reward. Derive
today's goals from larger ones.
Set performance goals, not
You should take care to set goals over which you have as much control as
possible. There is nothing more dispiriting than failing to achieve a personal
goal for reasons beyond your control. These could be bad business
environments, poor judging, bad weather, injury, or just plain bad luck. If
you base your goals on personal performance, then you can keep control over
the achievement of your goals and draw satisfaction from them.
Set realistic goals:
It is important to set goals that you can achieve. All sorts of people
(parents, media, society) can set unrealistic goals for you. They will often
do this in ignorance of your own desires and ambitions. Alternatively you may
be na´ve in setting very high goals. You might not appreciate either the
obstacles in the way, or understand quite how many skills you must master to
achieve a particular level of performance.
Do not set goals too low:
Just as it is
important not to set goals unrealistically high, do not set them too low.
People tend to do this where they are afraid of failure or where they are
lazy! You should set goals so that they are slightly out of your immediate
grasp, but not so far that there is no hope of achieving them. No one will put
serious effort into achieving a goal that they believe is unrealistic.
However, remember that your belief that a goal is unrealistic may be
incorrect. If this could be the case, you can to change this belief by using
When you have achieved a goal, take the time to enjoy the satisfaction of having
done so. Absorb the implications of the goal achievement, and observe the
progress you have made towards other goals. If the goal was a significant one,
reward yourself appropriately.
experience of having achieved this goal, review the rest of your goal plans:
f you achieved the goal
too easily, make your next goals harder
If the goal took a
dispiriting length of time to achieve, make the next goals a little easier
If you learned something
that would lead you to change other goals, do so
If while achieving the
goal you noticed a deficit in your skills, decide whether to set goals to fix
to meet goals does not matter as long as you learn from it. Feed lessons learned
back into your goal-setting program.
too that your goals will change as you mature. Adjust them regularly to reflect
this growth in your personality. If goals do not hold any attraction any longer,
then let them go. Goal setting is your servant, not your master. It should bring
you real pleasure, satisfaction and a sense of achievement.
example of goal setting that you can have is to try setting your own goals. Set
aside two hours to think through your lifetime goals in each of the categories.
Then work back through the 25-year plan, 5-year plan, 1-year plan, 6-month plan,
a 1-month plan. Finally draw up a To Do List of jobs to do tomorrow to move
towards your goals.
Tomorrow, do those jobs, and start to use goal-setting routinely!
setting is an important method of:
Deciding what is important
for you to achieve in your life
Separating what is
important from what is irrelevant
Motivating yourself to
self-confidence based on measured achievement of goals
should allow yourself to enjoy the achievement of goals and reward yourself
appropriately. Draw lessons where appropriate, and feed these back into future