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10 Steps to Successful Goal Setting

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As a life and executive coach I work with a lot of people on their goals. Setting goals puts you in the driver's seat, giving you the power to transform your life or take a company into the future. As enticing as that sounds, it is more common than not those goals are abandoned. To be successful, check your goals against my ten steps to help ensure you accomplish them.

1. Belief. The first step to goal setting is to have absolute belief and faith in the process. If you don't believe you can absolutely transform your life and get what you want, then you might as well forget about goal setting and do something else. If you are in doubt, look around you. Everything you can see began as a thought. Make your thoughts turn into reality.

2. Visualize what you want. Think of what you deeply desire in your life or where you want your company to be a year from now. What changes have to take place? What do you need to know or learn? What spiritual, emotional, personal, financial, social or physical properties need to be addressed? The clearer you are with each of these dimensions will bring your vision into sharp focus. The clearer you are, the easier it will be to focus on making it happen.

3. Get it down! Writing down your goals is key to success. By writing down your goals, you become a creator. Failure to write down your goals often means you will forget them or won't focus on them. Have them written down where you can see them every day.

4. Purpose. Knowing why you want to achieve your goals is powerful. Identifying the purpose of your goal helps you instantly recognize why you want that particular goal and whether it's worth working toward. Knowing why you want something furnishes powerful motivation to see it through to the finish. After all, if the purpose of earning a million dollars is to put it in the bank for a rainy day, you probably won't be as motivated as you will if you need it to pay for your child's cancer treatment.

5. Commit. This might sound obvious to you but it's a step that has disastrous consequences when it's taken lightly. Write a few pages about why and how you are committing to each goal; why it's important to you, what it means to you, why the outcome is necessary and what are you going to do to make it happen. Without strong commitment you aren't likely to follow through.

6. Stay focused. By focusing on your goals, you manifest. You may not know how you'll reach your goals but when you make a daily practice of focus, they become easier to reach. Having your goals written down somewhere where you will see them each day is a good idea. Your mind will notice that there is a discrepancy between where you are now and where you want to be which will create pressure to change. If you lose focus you can always bring it back. Without a regular practice of focusing on your goals you may be distracted by something.

7. Plan of action. Being really clear about what you want, knowing your purpose, writing your goals down, committing to them, and staying focused gives you the power of clarity to write down a list of action steps. You may not know all the steps ahead of time but you will know the next steps that take you in that direction. Having goals without a plan of action is like trying to complete a complex project without a project plan. There is too much going on, it's too disorganized, you miss deadlines and you don't have priorities. Eventually you get frustrated and the project/goal fails or collapses under its own weight.

8. No Time Like the Present. To show how committed you are to your goals, think of something you can do right now that will get you moving toward fulfilling your goals. Even if it's just making a phone call, do it now. You will be surprised how this simple step reinforces all the previous steps and gets you motivated and moving toward what you desire. If you are not motivated to do something right now, how are you going to get motivated tomorrow?

9. Accountability. To push through when things get tough, you have to hold yourself accountable unless you bring in outside help like a coach who provides it for you. It makes sense to have someone beside yourself who can provide valuable feedback at critical junctures, like a friend or a mentor. Telling your friends and family about your goals may give you the accountability your need.

10. Review. Make it part of your day to review your goals and take action. This keeps your goals alive and top of mind. It's a good time to convert the over all plan into discrete action steps that you can take through out the week. It will also help you be aware if one goal feels stuck and you are over compensating on another goal.

By following these steps and practicing your goals each day, you have all the elements you need to succeed and achieve your goals. It isn't always easy to push through. Some days will be easier than others but if you keep focused on your goals you will be amazed at the progress you will make. Remember, almost everything begins as a thought. You can be what you imagine if you follow these simple steps.