You were born to win, but to be the winner you were born to be, you have to have a clear plan to get there. This means having specific goals that you are shooting for.
Goals make us accountable, and lots of people avoid setting them for that reason. There are many good reasons for becoming a goal setter, and here are just a few of them.
Six Reasons to Set Goals
1. Goals bring the future into the present, and the present is the only time we can take action.
Setting goals makes it possible to do something today to create the future you want.
2. If you don’t plan your time, someone else will help you waste it.
3. People get twice as much done on the day before they go on vacation, because they plan (set goals) and prioritize what they intend to do.
4. Goal setters make more money than people who don’t set goals. Those with goals programs are also happier and healthier and got along better with the folks at home.
5. Goals keep you focused on the things that really matter and help you avoid wasting time on things that are unproductive.
6. Setting goals gives direction and purpose to all that you do.
Now you might be thinking, “Zig, how do I know what goals to set, and how do I know they are the right goals that get me where I want to go?” I have a proven seven-step process you can apply to your goal setting, and if you follow each step correctly, you will create goals that are tailor-made for you and what you want to achieve.
The Seven Steps of Goal Setting
1. Identify the goal.
If you don’t identify a target, you will never hit it. When you identify a goal, it means that you write it down and describe it clearly. If you want to have specific success, you must have specific targets. A goal “to increase my annual income” or “to spend more time on my spiritual life” is not specific. A specific goal would be “to increase my current income by 20 percent” or “to read the entire Bible.”
2. List the benefits: what’s in it for me?
Once you identify a specific goal, you need to list the benefits you will receive when you reach that goal. We only do the things we want to do and are willing to do. If there are no personal benefits, your motivation for completing the goal will be diminished.
Remember that changing your life is not always easy, so understanding what’s in it for you is vitally important. Don’t skimp on this step!
3. List the obstacles to overcome.
There might be some rough spots on your journey as you work to achieve your goals. Many of them can be anticipated, and if you can anticipate something, you can prepare yourself in advance to overcome it. So think it through and make a complete list of all the things that can prevent you from being successful.
4. List the skills and knowledge required.
Knowledge gives us the power to accomplish things we would not otherwise be able to do, and skills give us the tools to take advantage of our knowledge. There is a direct relationship between knowing and doing, and successfully accomplishing your goals will require that powerful combination. For example, if your goal is to increase your proficiency on the computer, you will need to know specifically what the computer can do for you (knowledge). Then, the skills you will need to be successful must be identified. These skills might include learning to type on a keyboard with two hands instead of finger pecking. This would trigger setting another goal of learning to type! Never forget that knowledge and skill will be required to successfully complete any goal.
5. Identify the people and groups to work with.
We do a better job when we have the help of others. They can help us with knowledge and skill and can offer valuable advice we need to be successful. So when you set your goals, always consider the people and the groups you can work with that can help you be more successful.
6. Develop a plan of action.
This is the most critical step, and it involves thinking through the details of how you will achieve your goal. In my younger years I was thirty-seven pounds overweight. I had put that weight on one bite at a time, and I was going to have to lose it the same way. That required a plan! I wanted to lose my weight over a ten-month period and that was the first step of the plan. Thirty seven pounds sounds like a lot, but when you realize it’s only 3.7 pounds a month over a ten-month period it sounds a lot better. So, I planned to lose 3.7 pounds a month for ten months. Then I included a daily running and exercise plan in the goal, as well as a diet that would limit my caloric intake. With those details planned, I clearly knew how I was going to have to live each day to be successful. I prepared diligently to succeed. I stuck to my plan (which means I never made the first exception), and ten months later I had lost thirty-seven pounds.
Success would have eluded me had I not planned the details of what I would do each day to reach my goal. In this case, reaching my goal may not have changed the world, but it surely did change my world.
7. Set a deadline for achievement.
In the example above, you notice I gave myself ten months to lose the weight I wanted to lose. I had a great reason for setting that deadline—all goals need a completion date to be effective. I was in the process of writing my first book, See You at the Top, and I had ten months left to complete my book by my goal date when it struck me that I was not a good example of the very things I was teaching. Nobody who saw me was going to believe a word I said, because I was not taking care of my health. There was no way an overweight fat boy could effectively tell other people how to change their lives without first changing his own! My integrity was on the line . . . so I got help and made my ten-month plan.
If you don’t set a deadline for completing your goals, you will not be accountable to yourself or anyone else. If you are not accountable for your goals, you will not achieve them.
Don’t think of goal setting as a tiresome activity that requires you to do things that are difficult. The real benefit of having goals is what you become by reaching them. When you successfully complete your goals, you change specific things in your life. I can tell you factually that your life will be radically changed for the better, and the person you become will be highly successful in all that you do.
BY ZIG ZIGLAR