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Setting Realistic Goals

There’s a big difference between those who want to succeed and those who actually do succeed.  What is the catalyst to their success?  Goals!

Goal setting is more than merely making a list of the things you would like to accomplish. Goals give you the chance to create the future you want!

In his book, The Success Principles for Teens, Jack Canfield offers some great advice for teens as well as adults.  When speaking about the importance of setting realistic goals for your life and career, he says “The more clearly we see things the way we want them the more motivated we will be to take action and make them a reality.”  This requires having a clear vision for your future and sitting down and figuring out what goals must be mastered in order to achieve it.

Far too often, people set a main goal like “becoming the president of a large corporation.” Sounds wonderful right?  Yes, but they fail to make underlying goals meant to unleash their potential. With this lofty goal hanging over their heads, they never seem to move forward. Why? Because they never create a goal plan to help them move up the corporate ladder.

The brain loves goals. It’s like fuel to keep it energized, refreshed and striving for more.  Without goals, the brain (and then the body) begins to atrophy, accomplishing little. Life becomes mundane and boring. How sad. With just a single goal to strive for, you can boost your energy level, get motivated and discover you can accomplish what you set out to do.

Not Any Goal Will Do

Now that you understand how important goal setting is, it is important to learn how to set goals.  Simply saying “I want a promotion” isn’t enough.  Real goals are meant to unleash your potential and that can not be done unless you set measurable goals that point you toward a conclusion.  Include specific times, dates, dollar amounts, etc. in your goal setting.

Using a weight loss goal as an example, don’t just say I want to lose 10 pounds. Instead, set a goal of losing 10 pounds by Oct. 1.  Be as specific as you can.  Vague goals produce vague results.  But big results come from clearly defined specific goals.

Stretch Yourself

It is okay to set simple goals once in awhile, but if success is what you are after, you are going to have to stretch yourself on a regular basis to learn more, do more and be more.  Never settle for being “just good enough.” Strive for more … for better … for the unthinkable.  Choose goals that seem impossible. These are the ones you will learn the most from.  Sometimes you will learn you can handle more than you ever thought possible and sometimes you will learn where your limits lie. Both are important lessons.

Above all, never be afraid to stretch beyond your expectations. Until you can break free from your comfort zone and make the uncomfortable, comfortable you will never be able to turn the impossible into the possible. This is the only way to learn and the only way to see what you really are capable of.

Don’t Let Anything Stop You!

I love this quote by Helen Keller “We can do anything we want to do if we stick to it long enough.”  What a gal!  She was blind. She was deaf. She was mute. Yet she succeeded above and beyond anyone’s hopes, dreams or expectations. Why? Because she never gave up.  Even as a child struggling to understand the dark and silent world around her she persevered trying to make people understand her, all while trying to understand those around her.

Once you set a goal you are going to find it challenged by three common psychological issues:

  1. Doubt: as soon as you set a goal, you are suddenly going to see all the problems keeping you from achieving it. Maybe your boss won’t acknowledge your presence or maybe you need more education in a certain area.  Now is the time to take a good hard look at the problems which may be causing you to doubt yourself and turn any negative ones into positive ones.  Don’t let negative chatter discourage you. Instead, learn from it.  Use what you know about yourself (and your limitations) to create an action plan to help you overcome each and every one.
  1. Fears: Everyone is afraid of something.  The key to pushing past your fears is acknowledging them and understanding it is just a part of the life learning process.  Don’t shy away from your fears. Instead, let them guide you through and around any roadblocks standing in your way.  Fears can also be great motivators, getting you moving toward success even faster so you can break free of their hold and move past them and onto “safer” ground.
  1. Roadblocks: There is always going to be something or someone standing in your way, trying to block your path to success.  Don’t think of roadblocks as stopping points, but rather as pausing points ready to teach you an important skill. An important thing to remember about roadblocks is they are rarely permanent; most are just temporary.  Find a way around, under, over or through them and they will disintegrate right before your eyes.

Goal setting is the only way to move forward in your life and your career. Just make sure you are setting worthwhile goals meant to challenge you, bring out the best in you, showcase your potential and improve your life and the lives of those around you.  If you can do that then you will find yourself propelling forward on the road to success.

About Dennis M. Postema

Dennis M. Postema, RFC, is a successful entrepreneur, best-selling author, coach, speaker and registered financial consultant. He is the founder of MotivationandSuccess.com, StoriesofPerseverance.org, FinancingYourLife.com and TheRetirementInstitute.org.

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