Cert SM

goal setting - 10 steps

So once you have decided to create your goals, where do you start and how do you go about it? Here are some tried and tested steps to effective goal setting:

1. Write down your goals in full. Essentially, committing what you would like to achieve to paper can turn mere wishes into actual goals. Do this for each of the following categories:

  • Family and Home
  • Financial and Career
  • Spiritual and Ethical
  • Physical and Health
  • Social
  • Cultural?/ Mental / Educational

Your goals need to be as detailed and as useful as any other workable roadmap. They should be written as positive objectives rather than negative ones. For example, it is better to state that you will live in a five-bedroom period house set on an acre of landscaped land rather than you will no longer live in a small apartment.

  • Once you have established your primary goals, identify a number of sub-goals. It is helpful to break down your goals into some smaller, easier to accomplish steps. Again, be sure to also make each of these steps challenging yet achievable. Also be sure to write down these sub-goals.
  • List all the benefits of accomplishing each goal. It is helpful to keep an eye on the bigger picture, and to have a clear vision of how their achievement will eventually affect you and your circumstances.
  • List any possible obstacles that you might need to face. Life is not always smooth sailing, so it is helpful to be ready for difficulties ahead of time and to find ways to overcome problems before they occur.

2. Ensure that your goals are consistent with your personal value system. Inner conflict will result if they go against your beliefs. Also ensure that your goals do not contradict each other. An objective to spend more time with your family, for example, may not sit comfortably with an ambitious programme of study.

3. Ensure that you really do want the things you are setting out to achieve. It is not helpful to create a goal simply because you believe you should want to achieve it, or because it is something someone else may want for you.

4. Become aware of any secondary gain issues that may eventually serve to derail your efforts. Sometimes there are certain things, either conscious or unconscious, that might hold you back from wanting to achieve the excellence you are dreaming of. Consider these issues carefully and then work through any inner conflict that you may be experiencing.

5. Make your gaols SMART. SMART is an acronym for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time-bound:

  • Specific – To be specific, your objectives should address all five of the “w” questions – why, who, what, when and where. Be as detailed as you can be. Avoid generalisations, as the more specific your goals are the more powerful they become.
  • Measurable – When setting your goals, it is important to determine exactly how you will know that they have been accomplished. A gaol to become happier might of course be worthwhile, but it is difficult to measure. A gaol to loose three kilograms in a month or one to sign up ten new clients within the next four weeks is measurable. Measureable gaols will usually involve some numeric value.
  • Achievable – Of course gaols need to be ambitious and something of a “stretch”. To accomplish the exceptional, it is important to shoot for the stars or to go for gold. Goals should, however, also remain realistic and feasible. While there is little value in setting goals that do not challenge you, there is also no point in setting yourself up for failure. Do not set out to achieve the impossible.
  • Relevant – To remain focussed on your broader objectives, each of your goals should ideally fit in with the vision of what you really wish to achieve in life. Don’t spread yourself too thin. Goals that distract you from your bigger objectives may soon prove to be unhelpful.
  • Time-bound – Each goal should either identify a target date for its completion, or specify the frequency of the action that you are planning to take – for example, your goals may be to develop a website by the end of February or attend gym three times a week. This aspect of goal setting goes hand-in-hand with the aspects of goals being specific and measurable.

6. Learn what you need to learn. Your goals may demand that you acquire additional knowledge, gain a particular qualification or build a new set of skills. Remember to include such important personal development requirements into your plans.

7. Enlist the help of others. Few truly worthwhile things have been achieved alone, or at least without the support and assistance of others. A partner can help you to stay committed and motivated, but it is also helpful to avoid being too public about what you are striving to achieve. Some people can be negative.

8. Read through the benefits of your goals that you listed earlier and then clearly describe your ideal future life using the present tense. Visualise yourself having achieved each of your goals. Picture it in your mind. Taste it. Appreciate the value of having accomplished them. Do this often. Create reminders. Use storyboards and other visual aids.

9. Get started by preparing yourself and getting organised. Do whatever may be necessary such as setting up a filing system, creating a timetable, developing a website etc.

10. Be kind to yourself and reward yourself every step of the way.

Please contact me should you have any questions related to goal setting or overcoming a block in your life, or simply make an appointment to see. In this area, the powerful combination of coaching and hypnotherapy can prove most effective.


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Imagination is the beginning of creation. You imagine what you desire, you will what you imagine and at last you create what you will.

George Bernard Shaw (1856 - 1950)