That those who Set Goals often achieve higher than those who just drift along is not in doubt. What is amazing is how often people deviate from the goals they set, or abandon it entirely. The major cause is that many people set faulty goals to begin with.

There are both right and wrong ways to set goal, as well as motivating and discouraging attitudes towards set goals. In the end, these two factors will determine if and to what extent a person will achieve their goals. Since success in every aspect of life is accelerated when we set and pursue our goals, it behooves everyone to learn the right way to set goals.

First, let’s talk about goal-setting techniques. This requires that you first take stock of your various responsibilities—either as a parent, husband, wife, employee, entrepreneur/businessman, etc. These are your roles as an individual, and they will always have an impact on everything else you do.

Any goal you set for yourself that doesn’t take these responsibilities into consideration will be extremely difficult to achieve. Take, for instance, a family head and sole breadwinner who sets out to achieve the same savings target as a fellow employee on same salary scale, but one who is a single mother or whose spouse works. Isn’t such a goal faulty from the onset?

Besides your responsibilities or roles in life, the next thing you need to consider in setting goals is what things are most important to you as a person. These are your values. List them out in order of importance.

Next, decide very clearly your overall objective in life. Write this out in one unambiguous sentence. In the corporate world, it is known as the mission statement. Remember that your objective must be closely related to your values.

Indeed, your values should guide your overall objective—your goal. And as I stated earlier, this objective—whether long-term or short-term—should take your various responsibilities into consideration before it could be considered realistic and actionable.

The wisdom of setting goals in this way is that your goals in effect become a proper extension of your core values, the things that matter most to you. They’ll reflect your beliefs, your talents, responsibilities, and chosen mission. The process of actualizing them becomes a lot easier.

That brings us to the issue of attitude towards goals. It is said in some quarters that a goal should primarily focus on the result rather than on the process. I disagree. Both are important.

If the process is tortuous and uninspiring, there is every chance that such a goal will be abandoned mid-way. Indeed, people become impatient when they focus too much on the outcome rather than the process that leads to the outcome. A goal will be easier to attain if the path is consistent with a person’s values and realities.

It is also useful and more inspiring to focus on what effect a goal will have on your life (or the lives of those you love) when it is achieved. As you focus on how your goal will improve lives, you’ll be motivated to take continuous action to achieve it. That is only natural.

When you develop this mindset, the time it will take to achieve some of your goals will no longer matter. You’ll even see yourself embarking on huge missions, even some that may not be achievable in your lifetime. Yes, not all goals are achievable within a person’s lifetime!

But really, does it matter as far it is achievable? Just think: what would’ve been the fate of the African American in America today if Martin Luther King and other civil rights activists had not fought for goals that are only being realized long after they’re gone? That’s the point. As far as your goals inspire you and they’re achievable, the process will not matter as much as the end result.

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