Setting and achieving goals is one of the best ways to improve your life. Goals reduce boredom and the sense of drift that many people experience, plus working on your goals gives your self-confidence a great boost.
Let’s look at ten ways that successful people in various fields use goals to improve their lives. As with any approach, your results will vary depending on your commitment and understanding. Consider this article an introduction to the important principles of goals.
1. They balance planning and action
Planning and action both play an important role in achieving major goals. Some professions – architects, engineers and project managers for example – have developed strong planning skills and approaches. Unless you are building a spaceship, it is vital to put a time limit on planning.
In my experience working toward annual goals, I find it is helpful to plan 1-3 actions to be accomplished in the next week.
2. They set goals for all areas of their life (not just career and money)
Many of the experts and articles on goal setting focus on business and career goals (e.g. earn more money, increase one’s sales commissions, launch a new product). That is an understandable focus, however, a relentless focus on career goals to the exclusion of other aims tends to lead to unhappiness and decreased productivity.
Successful people take the time to define leisure goals (e.g. visit wine country in California with my spouse), health and fitness goals (e.g. run a marathon race) and personal growth goals (e.g. learning a language). It is a mistake to assume that the rest of your life will somehow drift into place if you fail to set goals.
3. They set their own goals for their life
Many companies and employers have an annual goal setting process for their employees. Successful people know that this activity is only one part of their goals. As business philosopher Jim Rohn observed: “If you don’t design your own life plan, chances are you’ll fall into someone else’s plan. And guess what they have planned for you? Not much.”
Working on your own goal ensures you have an active and interesting life outside of the office. Besides, it is fun to set and achieve demanding personal goals.
4. They have a goal review system
Putting your goals into writing is a vital step that many successful people use to reach success, however, it is not enough. When you are working toward challenging goals that takes months or years to achieve, regular goal reviews are essential.
Business consultant and author David Allen proposed the Weekly Review in his classic book “Getting Things Done.” Successful people add the step “review annual goals” to that weekly review. During that time, successful people reflect on their progress, challenges encountered and plan for future steps.
Check back next week for more tips on how to reach your goals!
Article by Bruce Harpham, Lifehack