After publishing the last article for 2012 “Setting Goals Will Make All The Difference in 2013,” I felt I hadn’t done justice to all it would take to make 2013 or any year a different year in terms of achieving results. Therefore, I started thinking of a topic that would be all-encompassing, possibly serialized, so that most of all it takes to achieve in key result areas can be covered.
In the process of searching for an appropriate topic, I stumbled on an article I published on July 01, 2009 on my first website (which though went live but never had visitors). By way of background information, after the website was set up in 2009, the number of things I had to do to get articles published was burdensome and I thought, “Given the advancement already made in information and communication technology, things shouldn’t be this difficult.” Three years later, I did find the convenience I envisaged in the WordPress platform but I must admit that the initial difficulties paved way for all I am able to accomplish now.
What you’re about to read is 31/2 years old but the message is very much relevant to current realities. I will make every effort to reenact the promise made in the opening paragraph of the article, which is that there will be a few more articles under this topic to adequately cover the salient issues.
Even though I made a few changes to the article, the original structure remains intact. I will appreciate it if you let me know what you think about the article in the “comments” section.
Over the next couple of weeks, I’ll discuss the rudiments of personal success. I believe success is personal. I say so for two reasons. The first reason is that succeeding in anything in life is your responsibility. People can contribute to your success but ultimately you’re the architect of your success. Secondly, success is a thing of the mind; you’re as successful as you think.
Someone said, “Result is the name of the game (of life).” This statement can be interpreted to mean “the essence of the game of life is to succeed”. The point to note is that you don’t have to succeed in all life events to be adjudged an overall success. Failure is an essential ingredient of success. We usually don’t appreciate what it means to succeed until we’ve failed in certain areas. The key is to succeed in critical areas in life.
To achieve personal success, consider the following:
The first step towards achieving personal success is to decide what you want to accomplish from the outset – your goals. Goal setting, as an intrinsic component of success, is so basic that it can almost be taken for granted. However, the sheer number of people who go through life without anything in focus is alarmingly high that it is imperative to talk about goal setting.
People have their reasons, no matter how ridiculous, for choosing not to set goals. Some see goal setting as a laborious exercise that they would rather not go through. For some, they set goals in the past that they never achieved and as a result, they are discouraged.
Conceptually, whenever the term success or failure is used, what comes to mind is that there is a standard (expected result / outcome) against which an actual result / outcome is being compared. That standard becomes the goal. The fact that you have no set goals doesn’t exonerate you from being adjudged a failure when you’re lacking in desirable results. Whether or not you set goals, the society sets goals for you and these goals serve as the gauge for measuring your performance. Setting personal goals therefore achieves the dual objective of pulling you in the direction of your desired future whilst also insulating you from the pressures arising from societal expectations.
Some years ago, I read the story of a young athlete who participated in a 100-metre race. He ended being the last runner to breast the tape. What the spectators found very amazing was that he celebrated as much as the runner that won the gold medal. Out of curiosity, someone asked him why he was celebrating despite the fact that he did not win a medal. His response was that his goal was to finish the race! Apparently, in his penultimate competition, he had fallen and could not complete the race. Coming to the competition therefore, he thought, “I would be very satisfied if I finish the race.” That he accomplished this goal was the reason he celebrated.
There are immeasurable benefits of setting goals. The most important however is that, as human beings, our minds work on specifics. When you consider something (a goal) important for you to achieve, your mind goes to work on it. Basically, your mind starts gathering information required for the achievement of the goal and brings them to your focus. It has also been proven that the mind works in reverse manner. If you consider something irrelevant to you, your mind takes all information related to it out of your focus (to enable you focus on what’s important). The implication is that it is almost impossible to achieve anything you are not focusing on.
Sports and games typify the importance of setting goals. There would be no high-jump events without barriers to be scaled. Without the finishing line, athletic events would be meaningless. I once asked a friend to imagine a football game without goal posts. His response was, “it would be boring.” I couldn’t agree with him less. However, the unfortunate thing is that many people’s lives are boring because they don’t set goals. They deny themselves the excitement that accompanies goal achievement. Just like people get excited when their team approaches the goal area of an opposing team in a football match, there’s excitement when you move in the direction of your goal.
In 2004, I got tired of living in a rented apartment and I became resentful of snide remarks from the owner of the house I was living in. Owning an apartment became my central focus. I imagined and conceived various home financing options whilst also considering probable locations. Through unimaginable circumstances, I achieved my home ownership goal in 2 years! This has encouraged me to set more goals.
For your goals to make the desired impact, they must satisfy the S.M.A.R.T objective. S.M.A.R.T. is an acronym for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Time-bound. Some of the areas you may consider setting goals are: financial, family, physical fitness goals, social, personal development and spiritual.
Finally, it is imperative you set stretch goals otherwise called incremental goals. For instance, your goal can be to increase your income by 30% every year. This would ensure that you keep growing and never get static. In addition to having stretch goals, you should have short, medium and long-term goals. Having goals differentiated by time duration ensures you don’t become depressed after accomplishing your most audacious goals. It was said about the first set of astronauts that they became depressed after they came back from the moon. They probably felt, ‘Having been to the moon, what next?’ The panacea for depression for subsequent astronauts has been to have other goals lined up for them after returning from the moon!
If you have not been setting goals, I urge you to start today. You can only get better if you do.