The Truth About Goal Setting by Cindy Stradling CSP, CPC
We’ve all set goals many times in our lives. For most of us, we’ve achieved some of these goals, while we’ve failed to achieve others. It is important to look at the goals we’ve reached and those we’ve failed to achieve. When you do so, it’s likely you’ll see two main differences that helped determine whether you met your goals or didn’t quite measure up.
1. Desire. Some things that we want are fleeting desires. We may see others have these things or be able to do these things and wish to have them. We may think, for example, how great it would be to finish a marathon. But, if we truly hate running, the desire to run that marathon may disappear after just a few training sessions. You are more likely to achieve a goal when the end result is something you strongly desire.
2. Commitment. Reaching goals requires consistent effort. We often fall short because our short-term desires, or how we feel on a particular day get in the way of our commitment to the end goal. Reaching your goals requires doing what you need to do even when you don’t want to do it. This goes right back to desire. When the desire is strong enough, the commitment is easier to keep.
3. Reality. Sometimes we fail to reach goals because those goals were not realistic. Let’s think again about the goal of running a marathon. No matter how much we might want to run that marathon, and no matter how committed we are to doing so, we won’t reach the goal if we expect to be able to go from couch potato to marathon runner in two weeks.
Often times, in our great desire, we set ourselves up to fail by setting unrealistic goals. One way to help avoid this is to have checkpoints along the way to our goals. At the checkpoints, we can evaluate our progress and see if timelines or expectations need to be reset. When we do this, it helps to prevent giving up because we didn’t reach a goal in a particular amount of time. It’s easier to continue when we see progress.
Goal setting is an important part of achievement. Remember to choose your goals carefully, so that you can ensure you have a strong desire and the commitment to stay focused. Be certain that those goals are realistic by checking your progress and reevaluating. With these simple steps, you can reach any goal you set out to achieve.