Let Your Goals Guide You

Let Your Goals Guide You

Set your goals high and don’t stop till you get there. –Bo Jackson

This is the third article in our six-week series on the keys to success. What role do your goals play in your everyday decisions?

Goals are incredibly important to your success. The clearer your goals, the more effective they are. Fuzzy goals. Fuzzy results. This is probably one of the most stated ideas in the personal development pantheon of great ideas. Yet some studies suggest that only 30% of US adults have written goals.

Write them down

If you haven't written your goals down, that would be job one. If you are looking for a primer on writing goals, this isn’t it. For more information and a worksheet subscribe to my 30 days of success video series. But just so you have an idea of a well-written goal vs. an unachievable wish consider the following:

  • I want to climb a mountain. (Yeah, this isn’t gonna happen)
  • I want to climb Everest by December 31, 20xx (Ok)
  • I have summited Everest by December 31, 20xx (Getting there...)
  • I have climbed 29,029 feet to stand on the very roof of the world by December 31, 20xx (I believe in you! Where's the climbing gear?)

This goal is great on paper, but what happens when it gets off of the page and into your life and influences your decisions?  We achieve those goals, that's what.

Rewrite them every day

Let Your Goals Guide You

When I am working with my clients, one of the first things we do is clarify their goals. I get them to write their goals out clearly and specifically. But this is only the first step. Goals written are forgotten if they aren’t reviewed. If you want your goals to guide you, review them every day. If you are serious about hitting your goals, rewrite them every day. Yes, rewrite them every day.

I was speaking with a colleague a few weeks ago and when I mentioned that I rewrite my goals every day he was taken aback. When you are serious about achieving your goals you do the things others might consider overkill. When you are serious about achieving your goals you do the things others might consider overkill.

I have noticed that since I have been rewriting my goals daily, I remember them. I no longer need to review my goals to rewrite them. I write each of my 14 goals from memory every day. What this is doing is pushing these goals into my subconscious so they can guide my decision-making.

I have also noticed since I began rewriting them from memory, my goals have gotten more specific and more courageous.

Review them before bed

Let Your Goals Guide You

This is powerful. We know that what we eat before bed impacts our dreams, but what about what we focus on before hitting the hay. Try this read your goals out loud before you go to bed. And if you are really looking for a boost, read your affirmations out loud as well. 

When I do this, I am brimming with great ideas when I wake up. Often it is some aspect of achieving my goals that wake me up. I awake with a new insight or a next step and I’m energized to tackle the day.

Strategically share your goals

There are some that say you shouldn’t share your goals. The idea is: you get the emotional/psychological rush of having completed the goal and that makes you less likely to actually accomplish your goals. While I can agree with this, I also believe in garnering as much support as I can when trying to climb Everest.

Let Your Goals Guide You

When I share my stretch goals with other successful people, they applaud my goals and sometimes they rethink their own goals. But I do this sparingly. Share your BAG (Big Audacious Goals) with only a handful of people.

I recommend this for two reasons. Firstly, when you say your goals out loud, they become less scary and feel more real. Secondly, several of my goals are so big, I don’t know how I will hit them. But when I share them and know someone else believes I can, that helps.

Goals are critical to long-term success, but they have to be more than words jotted down on paper to be effective. Write them down, share them, rewrite them (eventually from memory) and let your goals guide you.

What tips and hacks are you using to make your goals more real?

About the author 

Dr. David Arrington

David a husband, father and the principal of Arrington Coaching. He and his team work with leaders, teams, organizations, and entrepreneurs. He regularly speaks and writes on leadership development, team alignment, and peak performance.

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