Effective Goal setting is one of the most effective skills you can master to help you realize your dreams.
The concept of goal setting can sometimes seem overwhelming. You might have been discouraged by having set goals that were not achieved in the past. Setting and obtaining measurable goals has been an underlying skill that I have honed over the years to achieve significant success in many areas of my life. In this post, I will share some techniques with you that will help you achieve the pursuit you are presently struggling with.
Simple Goal Setting to Achieve Objectives
A goal can be as simple as a shopping list. Maybe you identify items you need to obtain from the store to complete a project and you write out a goal to go buy those items. The objective here would be to complete the project.
Your current campaign might be to obtain a college degree or a post graduate degree. Obtaining a degree consists of completing semesters of study. Objectives toward this campaign are completing each course. Then, completing each assignment with your desired score is an incremental goal. The desired score should be set in accordance to your ability in the subject matter and your priorities. By repeatedly achieving the incremental goals, the objectives and campaign are achieved.
My First Major Campaign
For me, completing an undergraduate degree was an objective along the way to a larger campaign. It was a means to the end of getting commissioned as an Ensign in the Navy. That campaign started when I was working as a Boat Captain in Panama. An officer that had received his commission through the Enlisted Commissioning Program (ECP) recommended the program to me. Heeding his advice, I made a list of what it would take to get into the program. Once I counted the cost and determined that accomplishing those things was a reasonable and challenging goal, I embarked toward that objective. Objective #1 toward the Campaign of getting a commission: Put together and submit a package for the ECP program.
28 “Suppose one of you wants to build a tower. Won’t you first sit down and estimate the cost to see if you have enough money to complete it? 29 For if you lay the foundation and are not able to finish it, everyone who sees it will ridicule you, 30 saying, ‘This person began to build and wasn’t able to finish.’ (Luke 14:20-30 NIV)
Focus on Scale Rather than Time-frame
Many people teach to set long range and short term goals, but I prefer to think in terms of scope or scale rather than time-frame. What is that big achievement you want to accomplish? Is there a title you want to have on your business card? What legacy do you want to leave? Just write it down.
As a young enlisted sailor, I set the rank of Lieutenant Commander as my career goal. Most people will tell you that it was not a very realistic career goal for me since I was pretty much a high school push-out. Although I didn’t drop out, the school thought it would be best to just let me graduate on time, so they passed my sub-par performances. I have come a long way, getting my Master’s with a GPA of 3.967. There is something incredibly powerful in making up your mind to accomplish something. It begins with setting a goal.
“What struggle or sacrifice are you willing to tolerate?” Mark Manson
There Will be Struggles and Sacrifices Along the Way
You’ve got to decide what you are willing to give up and how much you are willing to struggle to reach the incremental goals. It is the accomplishment of incremental goals that transport you to ultimately realizing the objective and having a successful campaign. Don’t talk yourself out of going for the gold because you think the sacrifice will be too much.“What struggle or sacrifice are you willing to tolerate?” Mark Manson Click To Tweet
Decisions Big and Small
Decisions in life alter your trajectory. Some of those decisions are monumental and some are incidental. One example of an incidental decision I made that had a monumental impact on my life was to go to the beach one day. Some coworkers and I decided to go to the beach in Panama and barbecue some meat. When it started to rain, we took shelter in a bohio (pavilion). The lady that would later become my wife also took shelter from the rain under the same bohio. A couple of small decisions made a huge difference in the course my life would take. Should we go to the beach? Should we pack it in and go home when the rain started or take shelter and wait it out?Amazing how the power of completing small goals propels you forward! Click To Tweet
Some decisions are more intentional toward a desired future outcome. For example, when I was a young enlisted sailor in the US Navy I made a career goal to reach the rank of Lieutenant Commander…and I did. You will be amazed by how the power of completing small goals propels you toward larger objectives and the completion of campaigns!
Try It Now!
The act of goal setting and checking things off a list as complete gives you a feeling of accomplishment and inspires you to press on to the accomplishment of more, bigger items. Try it now. On a piece of paper, make a checkbox and write out a simple task, then do it. Try something like “sign up for the Paladin newsletter”. Now complete what you’ve just written and check it off. Then write the next thing you want to do and do it.
Now, think about that thing that made you give up on goal setting before. You wrote it down one time and never checked it off. Is it something you still hold as important and want to accomplish? We’ll address that next.
“Eustress is the good stress that motivates you to press on working toward your Goals
A huge accomplishment that you want to achieve at some point in the future is your Campaign. What campaign are you ready to embark on? The word campaign usually brings to mind a run for political office or perhaps a major military effort. Companies use campaign in association with advertising. But in this context we will use the definition of the specific purpose that drives us to engage in purposeful activities. Now that you have written it out, you can identify the milestones that will let you know that you have made progress in the right direction. Those are the objectives that you can focus your energy on right now. Break each objective down to tasks that become your incremental goals. Now, go after those goals with all you’ve got!
A Tool to help you organize and complete your Goals
The tool that I currently use to manage my Campaigns is called Trello. Read my post about how I use it called How to Create a Practical Project Planner. Trello uses “boards” which are your high-level projects or campaigns. ‘Lists’ is what Trello calls objectives and Cards are Goals and contain task lists or checklists. I’ve created a Trello template that will help you get started. You can access it below:
Developing a habit of goal setting and accomplishment improves willpower. Once you have committed yourself by writing down the goal or task, you now feel an obligation to accomplish it. Repeating that process builds and entrenches a habit of performance which leads to greater and greater success.
Go ahead and drop a note in the comments section below to let me know how this article has helped you clarify a Goal, Objective or Campaign that you are working toward.