I’m totally convinced of the need for goals in our personal and professional lives. I believe that having documented, and shared, goals which are SMART (specific, measurable, realistic, achievable and time-bound) is the key to achieving our dreams. However, setting our goals is only the first step and there are a number of other factors which will contribute to, or derail, our success.
- In the pursuit of our goals, we need to be self-critical but never damning. We are usually our own biggest critics but in striving for success, we also need to be cheerleaders. It’s ok to fail as long as we learn from our mistakes and have another go. Walking the fine line between learning from mistakes and being crushed is the reason why our goals need to be realistic.
- Comparing ourselves to others can work to our advantage if we get it right. I think that external benchmarks are useful for motivating us and helping to show us what is possible. Negative emotions such as envy and despair are not motivational. I like to remember Stephen Covey’s “Abundance Mentality” which tells us that there is enough opportunity in the world for everyone. Your gain is not my loss.
- If you invested some time in setting realistic and achievable goals, they should dovetail with your life as a whole. In order to achieve your goals, they must be consistent with your lifestyle and your overall well-being, including your relationships with friends and family. Most people empathise with someone who is putting in the hours to achieve a goal but we should keep our health and relationships intact.
- Possibly, the defining factor in achieving goals is determination. The major difference I see between those who succeed and those who fail is self-discipline. Achievers get on with the job in hand with no room for procrastination. They feel in control of their destiny and are not passive. Willpower is everything. These attitudes stay with us once cultivated, and its never too late to start. You have to be in it to win it.