The 3-Step Goal-Setting Process
In the previous article we discussed 7 reasons why you must set goals for your life. Today we will go into the process of goal-setting using a 3-step process model. This model of goal-setting uses a set of three questions to help you set your goals:
1. Where are you now?
Before you can think of where you want to go you need to know where you are. How are you doing in each of the 8 areas of your life? Once you know where you are it will be easy for you to figure out where you want to go and how you will get there.
Here are the 8 goal areas of your life:
- Career / Business
- Health / Fitness
- Personal Development
- Spiritual Life
- Contribution (legacy)
In each area of your life grade yourself on a scale of 1-10, where 1 represents the worst case and 10 the best case scenario. If you do this exercise on what is called the Wheel of Life the resultant shape will have a lot to say about the balance (or lack thereof) in your life. Ideally, the resultant wheel should be a smooth circle.
To create the Wheel of Life simply draw a circle and make 8 lines starting from the center (as shown in the diagram) and label the lines using each of the above areas of life. Mark each line from 0 (the center) to 10 (the outer ring).
One mistake many people make in goal setting is to concentrate on one goal area at the expense of all else. You must strive toward creating a fine balance in your life. If you are not doing well in one area it will affect the other areas of your life. If your relationships are in a mess, for instance, the effect will spill over into your work and your financial life.
This does not mean, however, that you should spend an equal amount of time on each area of your life. Some areas will need more time and effort than others. The point to remember is that none of the areas should be neglected. Also, the goals you set in each area of your life must be complementary.
2. Where do you want to be?
You can not hit an uncertain target. You need clarity in your vision. If your life was ideal where would you be? What would you be doing? What kind of house would you be living in? Most importantly, what contribution would you have made to your community, city or country? Create a picture of how you would like your life to be in each area of your life.
At this stage don’t worry about how you are going to achieve your goals. All you have to do is create a vivid picture of the life you want.
“Man must form a clear and definite mental image of the things he wishes to have, to do, or to become; and he must hold this mental image in his thoughts, while being deeply grateful to the Supreme that all his desires are granted to him.”-Wallace D. Wattles
Do not be scared of the space between your goals and your current reality. The fact that you can dare to dream it means that you can develop the required ability to achieve it.
In spelling out how you would like your life to be you need to be specific. It is not enough to say that you want to lose weight. Neither is it enough to say that you want to improve your finances. Are you going to lose 2kg every month? Are you going to double, triple or quadruple your income?
It is important at this stage that you give yourself a deadline. When will you achieve this goal? You also need to ask the why question. Why is this goal important to you? What is your motivation? The stronger and clearer the reason is the more likely that you will achieve your goal. Write down your reason for wanting to achieve a particular goal. Your reason is what will keep you going when you the challenges start coming in (and they will come).
“If for some reason you don’t achieve your goal by the deadline, simply set a new deadline. There are no unreasonable goals, only unreasonable deadlines.”-Brian Tracy
3. How will you get there?
You know what you want, when you want it and why you want it. The next step is to make a plan on how to get there. Most likely, your goal is audacious and a little bit scary! You have set yourself an elephant of a goal! That’s okay. Now, what will you need to do in order to achieve the goal? What are the skills you will need to learn…the people you will need to engage? What can you start doing NOW that will set you on a path to achieving your goal?
Make a list of everything you will have to do to in order to achieve your goal. Turn your list into a step-by-step plan of how you will achieve your goal.
In the end it’s the little things you do and the consistency with which you do them that will determine whether you achieve your goal or not.
Some points to note:
Here are some points you must keep in mind at this stage:
- Break the goal down:
Spread out your goal-related activities into manageable chunks. How do you eat an elephant? One piece at a time. Use the same approach with your goals. Don’t try to eat the whole thing in one bite!
- Don’t wait until you have a perfect plan to start:
Knowing what you know now make the best plan possible and start working on it. As you get more information keep on adjusting it. The most important thing is to start-even if you don’t have all the tools you might need. Start with what you have.
- Get (and use) feedback:
Once you start working on your plan you will get feedback from ‘the system’ and from other people. Feedback allows you to check what’s working, what’s not and what you need to do more of or change completely.
It will do you a world of good to actively seek feedback from mentors and others who have already achieved what you are trying to do. You don’t have to learn everything the hard way.
- Nothing works until you do:
No matter how good your plan is it will only help you if you work on it.
“If you are clear where you are going (goals) and you take several steps in that direction every day, you eventually have to get there.”-Jack Canfield