While a recent blog discussed why September is a great time to start planning for 2020, in this blog we will take the discussion a step further and talk about successful goal setting, which is the first step toward creating a plan of action for 2020. As Steve Maraboli, author of Life, the Truth, and Being Free said, “If you don’t know exactly where you’re going, how will you know when you get there?” Without a clear destination, your GPS will not help you to navigate to arrive there. The same is true with setting goals. First, you need to know where you are going, then you need to set a plan for how you will arrive there.

What is Goal Setting?
Goal setting goal is the act of selecting a target or objective you wish to achieve. After one has an overall vision and purpose, they can be broken down into steps for how you will accomplish that vision. The vision could be of winning an industry award, increasing sales by 50 percent, or gaining a promotion. When you know what you want to achieve, you can determine how you will get there, also known as your goals. Goals can be long or short term and must be tied to a timeline and a measurement so that you will be able to track progress.

The Rudder and Oar
The goals set then become our guides for behavior for meeting the chosen target. James Clear, author of Atomic Habits shares this analogy:” Imagine a small rowboat. Your goals are like the rudder on a boat. They set the direction and determine where you go. If you commit to one goal, then the rudder stays put and you continue moving forward. If you flip-flop between goals, then the rudder moves all around and it is easy to find yourself rowing in circles. However, there is another part of the boat that is even more important than the rudder: The oars. If the rudder is your goal, then the oars are your process for achieving it. While the rudder determines your direction, the oars determine your progress.”

Moving toward the Goal
Having goals help us to focus our attention, time and resources on a specific project. The key is to be focused on one goal at a time. We can then think of a goal as a mission and when we choose priorities can ask ourselves if this task will move us closer to the goal. If the answer is no, then the task needs to be revised, postponed or even abandoned. Sometimes the goal also needs to be revised along with the steps needed to achieve it. You may make mistakes along the way, hit roadblocks and need to take a detour or chart a new course to success. The key is to keep going and make the effort even if we are frustrated at times. Celebrate milestones reached along the way to keep motivation high and keep envisioning how great the outcome will feel.

Goals help us to keep on track and to accomplish success if we are committed to their achievement and if they are something for which we truly want to work. We may have to make sacrifices such as sleep time, leisure time, or saving money. We have to take action even if it is in small increments. Goal achievement does not happen on its own. We do need to define success and what would constitute success for a specific project. Though we have been discussing the importance of goals to reach a destination or finish line. There really is no finish line because once one goal is achieved, it’s time to start on the next goal. Good luck!