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Guest Post: How to Achieve Your Goals

Tips on How to Achieve Your Life Goals Before the Year Ends
If you are striving to meet your life goals before the end of the year, but feel a bit overwhelmed about making better progress, remember this: Achieving your life goals before years end can be achieved if you have a good plan in place. Engaging in a life coach to help you succeed in those goals can be very effective. A coach helps to keep you on focused and on track and enforces your accountability. Other than that, here are some more great ways to achieve those life goals before the end of the year:

Want It
To be able to achieve those life goals in life this year, you have to truly have the desire, drive and passion to attain it. Without the drive to really “want” it, you’re not going to have the incentive to get it before the year is out. Personal goals in life have to be something that you feel driven about wanting before you can achieve them completely.

Write It Down
Listing your life goals down on a sheet of paper in a very specific way is important. If you cannot name what your life goal is, you won’t be able to achieve it. Setting goals can’t work if you don’t write it down so that you can actually attain it. “I want to go to shed some pounds” is not a specified goal. However, “I want to drop 50 pounds by the end of the year” is specific enough and will give you something to achieve.

Identify Your Steps
Once you have that specific and detailed goal and you have named it, you need to identify and write down all the steps it will take to achieve that goal. Reaching a life goal will require taking extremely focused steps every single day toward that goal. Again you can’t just say “I will eat better today.” You have to be more specific and say something like “I will eat only 1200 calories today.” State exactly how much exercise time you will have to do that specific day to meet your goal. Have a list before you every day that has your goal for that day listed on it and check it off when you complete it.

To achieve your life goal before the end of the year, you must make a true commitment to get it done. Write it down and write down the steps to get there. This will all add to your chances for success. To go a step further, sign a contract to yourself that you commit to this goal before years end. That promise may be the drive that gets you there.

Review Your Goal
Every few weeks assess the progress you have made and review if you are making progress towards that goal. If you have to adjust the goal a bit, do it. As long as you commit and promise to meet that goal before years end, you can still do this. Don’t set the goals too high and make sure they are high enough as well to be challenged. If you are not getting where you need to be when you assess, push yourself to do better.

Don’t make excuses. You set these personal life goals because you know they will make you a better person and make you feel better about your life. If it takes a life coach, a friend, a business associate, find someone that can push you to help you stay focused on achieving those goals before the year ends.

Rob McFarland writes about happiness, finances & self-empowerment at www.homeequityloan.net.

Good goals are about actions not outcomes

Are your goals activity orientated or outcome orientated?

This is a huge difference between the two. I often talk to people about what they want to accomplish in life. Most of the time, I find at least two problems with their responses. It’s rarely that what they want to achieve isn’t worthy of their attention.

The problems are usually they don’t actually know what success would look like. When I ask them what succeeding at that goal would look like they have no idea. The bigger problem is often that their goal is completely outcome orientated.

They know what success will look like, but they define it by ceding control to something other than themselves.

Look at your goals that you have. Are they about actions or outcomes? If they are about outcomes, do you control those outcomes? In other words, an outcome goal that most people do control to some extent is how much money they can save.

A good goal might in this vein might look like the following:

By December 31, 2012 I want to have $1000 in savings.

In my experience, this is an OK goal for people who want to make change happen in their life. It is an outcome that they can control.

Assuming that they make enough money for this to be possible, it is a goal that is definable, measurable and controllable.

A better goal might be worded like this:

From now until December 31, 2012 I want to save 15% of every dollar that comes into my bank account

This goal is better because it makes the goal an activity as opposed to an outcome.

A bad goal often involves outcomes that we don’t have control over. It might look like this:

I want to lose 25 pounds by the end of the year.

A better goal would be:

I want to work out three times a week for twenty minutes and not eat snacks between meals except on Sundays and Wednesdays where I will allow myself a snack.

This goal is better because it focuses on activity and it is action orientated.

Outcome based goals can be detrimental to true change because they don’t create new routines so once the outcome is achieved the old routines come back. A second problem with outcome goals is the fact that sometimes, we can’t control the outcomes. Think about the two following goals:

  1. I want to be published by a major publishing house
  2. I want to write a manuscript on ______________.

The first goal is dependent upon a lot of variable that are outside of the goal setters control.

The second goal is completely under their control. How about you? Do you have some goals for 2012? Are they measurable? Are they about your actions or about someone else’s? Talk back in the comment section.

Five ways to meet goals. A mid year check up.

How is your 2012 going? We’re past the half way mark. Are you on track to accomplish your goals? How much progress have you made? As I’ve previously written, I have New Years resolutions. I love goals.

But goals that can’t be measured are worthless. Goals that are vague and nebulous don’t help.

Did you set goals for 2012? Did you want to lose weight? Did you want to save money or write a novel? Do you even remember what your goals were?

Maybe you didn’t set any.

Maybe it’s time to reset your goals or start planning for the second half of this year. If you do here is some helpful hints on goal setting.

  1. Write them down. This seems like a no brainer but so many of us don’t actually write our goals down. I always tell my friends, that if it isn’t written down, it didn’t happen.
  2. Make them measurable.
    • I want to lose weight = bad goal (no way to really measure it)
    • I want to lose 20 pounds = better goal (measurable)
    • I want to work out for twenty minutes three times a week for six months = best goal (goes to activity not results)
  3. Determine your pay off. Why do you want from this activity? Why are you doing whatever it is you are attempting to do?
  4. Share them with someone. Accountability is a huge motivator for many people. Having someone to share your goals with not only provides this, it makes it more fun. There are scores of studies that show people who share their goals have a higher success rate.
  5. Revisit them often but not too much. Come back to your goals often enough to be motivated but not so much that you demotivate yourself. Revisit your goals to be able to measure your progress. Breaking them down into small subgoals cant help but don’t go crazy making a long list of sub goals.

What about you? What have you found to be helpful in keeping goals? How has 2012 gone for you in this area? What advice would you share?

Getting to the emotional payoff of your goals

I have posted before about the importance of goals. We will all end up some where. The question is where will we end up? How do we decide where we want to go. The vast majority of people never will. They will simply wake up and start the day not really considering where the day will take them. But what about the people that have measured the outcome and have set goals and charted their course.

And they have failed.


and again.

I was talking to a friend the other day who was facing this very question. He was trying to determine what he wanted out of his life. This is not the same as deciding what you want to do with your life. He said to me, "I think I want to do this ______ but I don't always know how to follow through with it."

I asked him why he had set the goal. I responded to his next question with another question of why. See his goals were measurable, he knew how he would define success. He knew why he wanted to accomplish the goal in broad terms.

The problem was that there were other things that he wanted that worked against his goals. You might know these as first order and second order change or desires. Then I asked him the question that I think matters most. I asked, what exactly is the payoff for you regarding this goal? Why will your life be better if you achieve this goal? I think this is the key component that most people miss when they set goals. What will make the sacrifice of change worth it?

The truth is that most of us don't ever really experience real change in our life. I would suggest that it's because we fail to tap into the power of our emotions. We fail to realize that most of our decisions are emotional.

Our bad habits have an emotional pay off and our new choices that will lead to change can often look like they will emotionally punish us. This is not always true. Certainly there are times when we make decisions based on cold logic. I'd submit to you that our logic often lead us to consider our emotional pay off.

Let's say that someone sets a goal of not eating fast food for the next six months. The measurability of the goal is fairly obvious. Either he will eat or not eat in a fast food restaurant over the next six months. But what is the emotional pay off to not eating fast food over the next six months? How will her life be better by not eating in those restaurants over the next six months? We need to understand what motivates us. We need to understand what we really want out of what we are trying to do. By doing this, we can increase the likelihood that we will actually accomplish our goals.