10 Goal Setting Techniques To Use When Writing Down Your Goals
I’m sure you have heard at one time or another that you should write down your goals. Chances are you may have even done it at some point in your life. While the act of writing down your goals is important, even more important is your overall approach to goal setting. It may not be enough to simply write down a goal, especially if you end up forgetting about it. Below are 10 goal setting techniques to use when writing down your goals.
1. Be Specific: The more specific you are when writing down your goals the more likely you are to achieve them. Our subconscious mind is extremely powerful, and we all have the ability to guide it. It is for this reason that you must outline exactly what you want. When you write down a goal think of it as instructions to your subconscious. The more specific you are the better. If you just write down a goal such as “buy a house” you really have given your brain very little to work with. The more specific you are, the easier it will be for your brain to accept it, and as a result you will start taking the action necessary to achieve it. By providing detailed instructions – such as “Buy a Mediterranean style house near the beach with six bedrooms, a pool, large back yard and 4 car garage” – your brain will assume you are giving it directions to achieve exactly what you want. Simply writing “buy a house” will get lost in the shuffle and put aside while you focus on goals that seem more specific.
2. Stay Positive: Write your goals in a positive rather than negative manner. Avoid writing “stop being lazy” or “don’t go to work late.” Instead, write “be active” or “go to work on time.” Your subconscious will not differentiate between a negative and a positive command and will accept the instructions in their entirety without judgment. So even though your intentions may be good your mind will still hear words like “stop,” “lazy,” “don’t,” and “late” which all have a negative connotation. The more positive you keep your instructions, the more positive your results.
3. Hold Yourself Accountable: Tell the people close to you about your goals. This doesn’t mean you should go around telling everyone you know how rich you are going to be. It means that you should tell a few people who are close to you about the goals you have set. By telling them what your goals are you are making a statement. You are putting yourself and your credibility on the line. It is very easy to slack off and become lazy when you are the only one who knows about your goals. When you tell other people, especially the people who know you the best, you make yourself accountable. It is amazing how much people are willing to do to save face. No one wants to be embarrassed by not doing what they said they were going to do.
4. Make Them Visible: Put your goals in a place where you can see them. It does you no good to write down a goal then put the paper you wrote it on in a drawer or file where you will never see it. It is kind of like making a grocery list then leaving it at home when you go to the market. Post your goals in a prominent location where you will see them everyday. I keep mine on the wall that I see while I am sitting at my desk. The purpose is simple…repetition is the mother of learning. The more you see your goals the more you condition your mind to achieve them.
5. Wording is Everything: Avoid weak words and use present tense when goal setting. NEVER use the word try. To me, one of the weakest words in the English language is try. The word, by its very nature, is limiting. It prepares you for failure rather than success. Do not use other words that give you the ability to put off achieving your goal. Writing “I will loose weight” or “I am going to loose weight” implies that it will happen in the future but it has no urgency. The subconscious mind thinks it can put off a goal that does not seem urgent. Write your goals in present tense, first person, as if they are currently true…such as “I am losing weight” or “loose 2 pounds every week.”
6. Visualize: Part of conditioning your subconscious mind is the conscious act of visualization. Once you have written down your specific goals take time out of the day to focus on seeing them happen in your mind. If you want to travel to the Bahamas, for example, think about actually being there. Picture yourself sitting on the beach enjoying your favorite drink or sailing on a yacht in the crystal blue water. The more detailed your visualization is the better. This is best done in a quiet place where you won’t be disturbed, but you can really do it any time throughout the day. Think of it as constructive daydreaming.
7. Break Them Down: You should break down your goals into daily, weekly, monthly and yearly goals. I prefer using this method rather than using short term or long term because it is not specific enough. By setting specific target dates for your goals, you are telling your subconscious when you want to achieve them. It will also allow you to have some order to your goals, so that they do not all blend together. Obviously, daily goals are going to be very different from goals that will take a year or more to complete. Think of this practice as a way of maintaining control over your goals. It makes sense to do this, as any profitable business sets goals in the same manner.
8. Make an Association: After you have written down your specific goals find something that will inspire you to achieve them. Find an object or picture that will remind you of each specific goal. For example, if you want to a car find a picture of that car and post it right next to your written goal. Even better would be to find a physical object to represent your goal. If, for example, you want to buy a new house then you can find a doorknocker that will represent that goal. Then, when you accomplish that goal, you can use that same doorknocker at your new home. Be creative with this goal setting technique!
9. Re-write: You must re-write your goals regularly. Just like we as people change over time, so will our goals. Make it a habit to re-write your goals as often as you can. Take this opportunity to update your goals and make them even more specific. Feel free to rephrase goals you have yet to achieve as sometimes that makes all the difference.
10. Read, Read and Read: The last technique is arguably the most important one. You must read your goals EVERYDAY. By now you should realize that goal setting is really about conditioning your subconscious. By reading your goals (preferably out loud) you are literally telling yourself to achieve them. I cannot emphasize this enough. When you read your goals you are not just reminding yourself about them…you are commanding action. If you just take away only this rule I have done my job. Read your goals everyday and I assure you will have great results.
If you follow all of the rules above I am confident you begin to take the action necessary to achieve your goals. Remember, goal setting isn’t complicated…it just needs to be done the right way!