Top 3 Tips for Setting Effective Goals

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key to successMost of us are excellent at brainstorming goals. The challenge comes in actually setting effective goals. I’m reminded of my favorite quote from Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland:

“Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?”
”That depends a good deal on where you want to get to,” said the Cat.
”I don’t much care where—“ said Alice.
”Then it doesn’t matter which way you go,” said the Cat.
”—so long as I get SOMEWHERE,” Alice added as an explanation.
”Oh, you’re sure to do that,” said the cat, ”if you only walk long enough.”

We all have great ideas, but how do we make them a reality? Here are my top 3 tips to goal setting.

1. Make it a SMART goal.
This acronym has been around for quite a while. Try a Google search on it and you will find a wealth of information. SMART stands for

• S = specific
• M = measurable
• A = achievable
• R = realistic
• T = timely

When setting goals, the first thing to look for is that the goal is achievable and realistic. Nothing de-motivates faster than a goal that is out of reach. When you set achievable goals, it’s important to make them specific and measurable. This means you know exactly what you want to do and there is a way to measure the success. Lastly, make sure you set a time frame to complete the goal within.

2. Don’t be afraid of failure.
I know, I said before that the goal needs to be attainable and realistic, but having a goal be attainable and realistic shouldn’t limit you to easy goals and it doesn’t necessarily mean you won’t fail from time to time.

Failure is looked upon as undesirable in today’s world, and people stop at nothing to avoid it. This attitude causes more harm than good.  It is okay to fail. Failure is good sometimes. It helps you re-evaluate and determine how you can improve. Think of some of the world’s greatest inventors. Thomas Edison, Alexander Graham Bell, and Nicola Tesla all suffered difficult failures before they succeeded. They weren’t afraid of the failure, though. They embraced it and learned. Failure is a sign you are actually trying.

3. Share your goals and celebrate.
Two of the most powerful motivators for the human race are accountability and reward. If you share your goals with someone important to you, they can help keep you accountable and encourage you to keep moving forward. They can also commiserate with you if things don’t go quite as planned and help you get back up and on track.

When you meet your goals, reward yourself. Whether you set a small or a large goal, rewarding yourself and celebrating your accomplishment gives positive reinforcement and makes you happy!

Let’s steer clear of asking that Cheshire cat for goal-setting advice and make our own destiny. Onward and upward!


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