Goals are good… aren’t they?
There is so much literature written about the importance of goals. At school, children are taught to set goals. At work, employees are given goals to achieve each year. Goal setting is not something new to us and it would be easy to assume that most of us set goals. Interestingly, none of my clients have set goals for themselves in the past.
I’ve been doing a bit of thinking about this. My view is that people may not understand how to set a goal that really motivates them. In my former role I helped managers write goals for their employees. It was really tough for them to clearly and succinctly write a goal. I think that this might be the case for everyone and not just managers.
The truth is that goals should not be easy to define. We all want to be rich. We all want to retire before we are 50. These are not goals that most of us will achieve. The reason is that for you to achieve a goal it has to touch your heart. You will know when you have defined your goal because you will feel energised and positive about it.
For example, I want my business to be successful. Guess what? So does everyone else who is self-employed. However my definition of “successful” will be completely different to the next person. My definition of success is linked to a payment I used to make to a family member to help them out financially. I used to do this prior to starting up my own business and it would mean a lot to me to be in a position to do this again. So my goal is “to have a minimum of eight clients per week by June 2017 so that I can recommence the financial assistance to…”
So how can you begin the process of setting yourself a goal that touches your heart and gets you motivated to achieving it? A trick to getting to the core of what the goal means to you is to ask yourself “why” five times. For example –
- “I want to be wealthy.” Why?
- “I want to send my kids to private high school.” Why?
- “I want to give them the best chance to do really well academically.” Why?
- “I want them to have a good career.” Why?
- “I don’t want them to struggle in life like I did.” Why?
- “I had to sacrifice so much in my life and do without because I left school without an education.”
This is where you need to get to in order to set a goal that you will achieve. You have now discovered real meaning about why being wealthy is so important to you and established a sense of urgency. Play around with some sentences until you feel that the goal is right for you. Like I mentioned earlier, you will know when you have discovered your goal.
The next step is to quantify what the word “wealthy” means to you. Is it a salary level, or an amount saved, or an investment amount? Wealthy will mean different things to different people so you have to be specific. For example, you want to send your two children to private high school and the fees are $20K per child per year. This means earning an additional $60K pa gross (you might need to add an amount for CPI).
Finally, when do you want to achieve this by? You need to think this through carefully because if you set an unrealistic timeframe you will stop trying. Using the above example, if your children are aged 5 and 7 years old today it would be realistic to use 2023 as the end date.
Your goal would read something like “…to be earning a minimum additional $60K gross pa by 2023.”
This is a big goal and it looks quite daunting. I can explain how you break your goal into bite sized chunks that you will feel more comfortable achieving.