1. Treat each goal like a project, and start with the end in mind.
Because setting goals, whether for your personal life or your business, is very much like any other project, one must begin by thinking about the outcome desired. You may not have all the details in place, but creating a picture of what your achieved goal will look like in the end will give you the motivation to keep moving forward.
2. Don’t be afraid to set ambitious goals.
Dreaming too small limits what can be achieved. Although it is always good to start out with small, achievable goals, as you get used to achieving your goals, learn to dream bigger and set larger, more ambitious goals for yourself. I am not suggesting that all of your goals should be massive, but I am saying that having one goal that is more challenging will stretch you. There is nothing like the feeling of achieving a goal that was years in the making, you will feel like you can do anything.
Don’t be afraid to fail a little. When we dream bigger, we achieve bigger and even if “bigger” isn’t completely achieved, it is always more than we would achieve without the stretch. Learn to try things just beyond your reach so that you learn to stretch just a little every day.
3. Take advantage of what others have learned.
It is said that there is nothing new under the sun, so that means that someone has likely achieved what you are trying to do in your business or personal life. Someone else has lost 100 lbs, someone else has built a business online, someone else has achieved advanced degrees, take advantage of their knowledge. Unless your goal is to add another element to the periodic table, there is likely an expert out there who has written a book, a blog or a forum on just how to get started with your goal.
4. Give yourself enough time to complete your goals.
One of the biggest mistakes people make when goal setting is they assume they will feel good every day, it will never rain, or the boss won’t make them work overtime. They look at the time it will take to achieve the goal with an unrealistic timetable in mind, and expect smooth roads and sunny weather along the way. When they don’t reach the goal in what they think is plenty of time, they give up and decide setting goals is just too disappointing.
I suggest setting daily minimum standards for tasks relating to each goal. Doing a minimum amount of work each day toward the goal is a nice way to keep focused on the goal, without letting the goal overwhelm you.
5. Every once in awhile, take a little break.
While achieving your goals is important, taking a break from time-to-time can be helpful in letting you step back and assess your progress and determine if there are adjustments you need to make to the process. Let it rest for a short vacation. Come back to it refreshed and ready to implement new strategies or add new ideas.
Achievement in life is what makes us feel alive and invigorated. Most of us spend the first part of life achieving goals, learning new things and setting our lives in place for a career and family. Then at some point, we cease to challenge ourselves and we stop setting goals that stretch our minds and our abilities. Don’t waste your life thinking there is nothing more to accomplish, instead ask yourself what you can do next. You are never too old to learn a new skill or climb a new mountain.