Goal setting

HARARE - Richard St. John reminds us that success is not a one-way street, but a constant journey.

He uses the story of his business' rise and fall to illustrate a valuable lesson — when we stop trying, we fail.

He is a Marketer and Success Analyst, a self-described average guy who found success doing what he loved. He spent more than a decade researching the lessons of success, and distilling them into 8 words namely Passion, Work, Focus, Push, Ideas Improve, Serve and Persist.

These eight words and their associated meanings and actions were the eight most common words used by all the successful people he had conducted his research on across a wide array of professions from A to Z.

It clearly gave them the necessary direction and motivation to achieve their desired goals.

But, without goals they were directionless.

Goal setting is a powerful process for thinking about your ideal future, and for motivating yourself to turn your vision of this future into reality.

The process of setting goals helps you choose where you want to go in life.

By knowing precisely what you want to achieve, you know where you have to concentrate your efforts.

You'll also quickly spot the distractions.

Successful business people and athletes do not accomplish anything without planning and goal setting.

How they execute their plan will often determine the level of success they have in achieving their goals.

Michael Hyatt recently named by Forbes magazine as one of the Top 10 Online Marketing Experts To Follow In 2014 uses a simple 5 step approach to effective goal setting.

1. Keep them few in number. Productivity studies show that you can’t focus on more than 5–7 items at a time. This is a recipe for losing focus and accomplishing very little. Instead, focus on a handful of goals that you can repeat almost from memory.

2. Make them “smart.” This is an acronym and it is interpreted in various ways. When referring to smart goals they must meet five criteria:

o Specific—your goals must identify exactly what you want to accomplish in as much specificity as you can muster.

Bad: Make a sports team.

Good: Make the school first team cricket.

o Measurable — you can’t manage what you can’t measure. If possible, try to quantify the result. You want to know absolutely, positively whether or not you hit the goal.

Bad: “Run the marathon faster this year than last.”

Good: “Run the marathon two minutes faster this year than last.”

o Actionable — every goal should start with an action verb (quit, run, finish) rather than a to-be verb (am, be, have).

Bad: Be more consistent in gym attendance.

Good: Achieve a 90% attendance rate for my scheduled gym and field sessions for the season.

o Realistic — be careful here. A good goal should stretch you, but you have to add a dose of common sense. Go right up to the edge of your comfort zone and then step over it. If you are not out of your comfort zone, you're not thinking big enough.

Bad: Qualify for the PGA Tour.

Good: Lower my golf handicap by four strokes.

o Time-bound—every goal needs a date associated with it. When do you plan to deliver on that goal. It could be by year-end (December 31) or it could be more near-term (September 30). A goal without a date is just a dream. Make sure that every goal ends with a by when date.

Bad: Lose 10kgs.

Good: Lose 10kgs by December 31st 2015.

3.Write them down. This is critical. There is a huge power in writing your goals down even if you never develop an action plan or do anything else (not recommended). When you write something down, you are stating your intention and setting things in motion.

4.Review them frequently. Writing your goals down is a powerful exercise in itself, but reviewing them regularly is key. This is what turns them into reality. You can review them daily, weekly, or monthly.

5.Share them selectively. The advice to people was to “go public” with their goals, but often, telling someone your goals makes them less likely to happen. Instead, only share them with people who are committed to helping you achieve them (e.g. your mentor or coach).

*Ex-Zimbabwe rugby international Grant Mitchell is High Performance Director at Innovate High Performance Centre in Harare and a top strength and conditioning coach. Twitter: @InnovateHPC, website: www.innovate.co.zw.

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