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Goal Setting for Personal Development

goal setting and personal development

Goal setting is an integral part of successful lives. Have you ever wondered why some people are successful or that some people seem so focused on where they want to be in life? Well, a big part of succeeding in life is to know exactly what you want to achieve and taking continuous action towards achieving it. Unfortunately, most people do not know what they want. They seem quite clear about what they do not want in life but they certainly do not know what they want. This is a big oversight on their part. If you want to succeed in life you have to know exactly what you want. If you are vague and unsure about what you want you will likely be unhappy and unsuccessful in life.

“All successful people have a goal. No one can get anywhere unless he knows where he wants to go and what he wants to be or do.”

– Norman Vincent Peale

It is unfortunate that a lot of people really do underestimate the power of goal setting. It is important that you undertake goal setting to give you direction, a sense of purpose, and focus in life. Goal setting provides you with a road map of where you want to go in your life. If you do not know where you are going, do not be surprised when life takes you to a place where you do not want to be. For you to achieve your goals you have to know where you want to go or be. At the same time, you have to know where you are at the present moment. Only by knowing these two crucial details, are you able to guide yourself in the right direction. It is the same as using a map to get to a place. To get where you want to go, you have to know where you are. In life, you have to do the same.

A lot of good and hardworking people end up in unfulfilling lives because they do not set goals for themselves. They let external events dictate the course of their lives. They react to circumstances in their life instead of orchestrating circumstances for their future benefit. With the hustle and bustle of everyday life, they get caught up with the day to day activities. Most people are in survival mode. They are living for the present only. They are busy from morning to night, making ends meet and making sure they and their family are fed. Sadly most people do not plan for their future. They may plan for the immediate future but certainly not set goals for where they want to be in twenty or thirty years.

The reality is that if we do not set goals and set our priorities in life, we are going to wake up one day and realize that we have not accomplished much in life. Without goals, every day we wander aimlessly through life not reaching the goals we want to achieve. The truth is we are always going to be busy and if we do not prioritize our actions we may find that at the end of the day we have nothing to show. Do not mistake being busy with being productive. You can be busy every day and not accomplish much.

Something magical happens when we start goal setting. Goals focus attention on goal-relevant activities and away from goal-irrelevant activities. When we set a goal, we focus our time, energy, and talent on what we want to accomplish instead of squandering our lives away. The next time you are about to do something, ask yourself, “Does it move me closer or move me away from my goal?” Make sure you minimize the activities that move you away from your goal and embrace activities that get you going towards your ultimatum.

Make sure you plan your future. If you fail to plan, you plan to fail. Do not wake up one day and regret that life has gone by you. Goal setting is the vehicle that can transform your life from a mediocre one to a rewarding one. Take action now and set your goals to live a fulfilling life.

Goal Setting to Improve Your Personal Life

Setting up strategies to improve your personal life is only one step to achieve your goals. You have to create plans, setting goals, and take the steps to follow through. Once you have your details gathered, you can start to set up strategies.

How to plan long-term strategies:

Strategies are approaches we take to reach our plans. Our line of attack determines what comes of these plans and goals. When you create long-term goals, you have to provide descriptions, which leads up to using strategies to achieve.

You also have to state what personal goals you intend to achieve when you create your plans and set the strategies to achieve them. Keep in mind that goals are changes you are willing to make to accomplish something. The goals should be translated so that it develops into real action. When you take action, you are working toward the next step to recall your measurements, values, and the difference between each. This helps you to stay in accordance with your goals and plans.

Sometimes you have to work backward to accomplish your goals. Sometimes you have to step back to view your goals, making sure that your strategies are working in accordance with your actions. When you see that your actions are not working in accord, this is when you want to step back and say, I need to make changes. You will change your strategies to work in harmony with your goals.

You should already have your plans written down on paper. If you haven’t started now is the time to write your plans. Once you have your plans down you can boost your energies so that you have the willingness to act out on your plans. If your plan is lacking in some areas, do not worry. Take it one step at a time and act on the plans you have written down. You can add to your plans later.

How to start goal setting:

If you haven’t started the process of goal setting, speak. Just start talking about what you want to accomplish in your life. Once you begin speaking, you will develop new ideas, which you can write down on paper.

During your self-talk arrangement, be sure to take notes. Remembering specific details is a way to recall what you want to do. Some of us fail to take notes, which information drifts away. Instead of adding fire to fire, throw some water on the flames and register your plans with paper.

How to write long-term goals:

You want to write your long-term goals focusing on your short-term goals first. Your short-term goals should work in harmony with your long-term goals. You can write a daily schedule that builds up to our plans and goals. For instance, this week on Monday through Sunday I intend to do: Write down each day what you intend to accomplish on your calendar or schedule. Give yourself easy and harder goals to complete every day.

In your plan or calendar, not the things, you intend to make essential first. Then work toward taking down your tasks. For instance, on Tuesday start working through the large jobs first and break down to the simple tasks as you move along. On the third day, write yourself an intention declaration. Use 3×5 note cards to tell you what you intend to do. Once you finish, your duties offer yourself a reward each time you accomplish your intentions.

Next, tell your friends and family what you intend to do for your future. Ask your friends and family if they can give you a hand from time to time when they see you fail. Tell your friends and family to offer you a pat on the back, or some reward for each time you accomplish your plans and goals.

begin personal goals

60 Minute Goal Setting Exercise

I think that most people would agree that the people who have personal goals are more successful than those who do not have any.

I often talk about leadership and management. Leadership is about doing the right things while management is about doing things right. Often when we study time management, we study efficiency (doing things right) and make the assumption that we have the effectiveness (leadership) solved.

The first step in any time management system should be to work on achievable goals and as such, I use the following 60 Minute Goal Setting Exercise.

Step 1: At the top of a blank piece of paper write down “values” and then spend 10 to 15 minutes writing down everything that you value. There is a great website: www.stevepavlina.com which has a list of several hundred values to start your mind thinking in the right direction. After the time is up, stop doing this and move to Step 2.

Step 2: At the top of a blank piece of paper write down “lifetime goals”. This is where you can dream; for example, what places would you like to visit; what experiences would you like to have; what would you like to accomplish within your lifetime. This might include traveling to Australia; getting a university degree; living in an X square foot house, etc. There are no rules to this brainstorming – simply make a list.

I have done this goal setting exercise many times and I tend to use the same list of lifetime goals and add to the list each time I do the exercise.

Step 3: At the top of a blank piece of paper write down what you would do if you had six months to live. This part of the goal setting exercise really came home to me this week when one of my close friends died at 36 years old. Some of us may have only six months to live; however, we may not know it yet. List everything that you would do if you had only six months to live. Part of the purpose of this exercise that I found works well for me is that it brings the truly important into focus. Often I find things that I would do if I had only six months to live that are not listed on my life goals.

Step 4: At the top of a blank piece of paper write down your smart goals for this year. After doing the first three steps, you will find this step much easier than the others. These are the goals to focus on NOW.

This total exercise will only take an hour. An hour spent clarifying your goals can save you hundreds of hours.

Personal Development and Goal Setting

Personal Development, at its basis, is anything that allows us to grow into an ordered life that is of our choosing. This is one of the most cherished goals among self-improvement practitioners. There are some excellent methods available for achieving it. However, it is easier said than done. Here are a few hints and tips to get you started.

Clean the clutter from your life

There is an excellent saying in the personal development field, “a tidy desk is a tidy mind”. Often times your outer environment is a reflection of the way you think and feel. Is your living or working space always cluttered? It’s important that you start to order your environment to reflect the ordered life you are building. Clear away unnecessary clutter from your surroundings. This may sound like a meaningless task but you are sending a very clear message to your subconscious mind that you intend to get organized.

When you begin to organize your living and working environment it allows you to develop the basic skills needed for organizing your life. This can be achieved through personal goals. When you set goals, you should structure your goals in such a way that each one builds on the other and ensure that they are not in opposition to one and other. That way there are incentives on the journey to what you want to acheive.

Don’t be too set on achieving your personal goals in exactly the manner you intend to. A major factor in the non-attainment of specific goals is the inability to restructure plans and change direction when circumstances dictate these should be done. Remain flexible.

You learn from your short term mistakes and from hardship! This may be something that you do not want to hear because the very point of self-improvement and personal development is to eliminate the suffering we feel in our lives and make to create a life we want to live. However, challenges and failures have a tendency of bringing out the best in us as we rise to the challenge and learn from our mistakes. You can’t truly know success unless you have failed! Learn from the failure and move on.

Don’t focus on the mistakes. Simply analyze them and learn the lesson they are trying to teach you. By staying focused on your failures, problems, or toils you are actually creating more of them or at least keeping them in your experience. Focus on the solutions or at least focus on the fact “you’re still in the game”. Consider any mistakes you’ve made as life lessons. Apply what you have learned from them and use them as references (of what not to do) in the future.

Always set goals for yourself that are realistic yet will stretch you beyond your current “comfort zone”. Each smart goal should be an aid in progressing to your next.

Make sure you follow through on your plans. Persistence can accomplish things that nothing else can. How many times were you close to the end of the rainbow, and without even knowing how close you were, you quit? You may be someone who has drive at the start of a venture but find your enthusiasm waning as you progress, lacking the motivation that is needed to “keep you keeping on” during times of hardship. Those who persist, especially in times like these, are those who ALWAYS win!

Never, ever, ever give-up!

The only true failure occurs when you quit. If you keep trying then obviously you haven’t failed because the final verdict isn’t in yet. But by quitting there is no more chance of success and you have failed!

Recreation is a must! You should aim to spend time with family and friends as this will offset any stress you are feeling and give you a balanced outlook. Human interaction is natural, healthy, and enjoyable. Most goals will come to you through other people. This is a simple fact! No-one achieves anything worthwhile and worthy without some type of help or interaction from and with others. By keeping your social network open, alive, and healthy you will open up avenues that you never knew existed.

Photos by Noémi Macavei-Katócz and Danielle MacInnes on Unsplash

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