Everyone wants to be the best they can possibly be at their careers and hobbies. If you want to be good at something – the best, even – you are going to have to develop specific habits that are going to get you exactly where you want to be.
Forming habits is hard work. Which is why one of the easiest habits to start with is the step that usually comes before making or breaking a habit.
All you have to do, to get to the top, is get into the habit of setting goals.
What makes a good goal?
It is easy to sit down and think, “I want to help people,” set that as your personal or professional goal and leave it at that. Unfortunately, setting such a vague goal just isn’t enough. To be successful, you are going to need to learn how to set SMART goals – goals that are specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time-sensitive. Here is a detailed breakdown of how to set these kinds of goals.
You have always claimed you know exactly what you want to do with your professional life. You say to anyone who asks, “I want to help people.” There is nothing wrong with this goal, aside from the fact that it doesn’t actually tell anyone, especially yourself, specifically what you want to do. That does not make accomplishing this kind of goal very easy. However, if you make that goal more specific, and say instead, “I want to help people learn new ways to prepare fresh foods,” that’s a start. This tell you that you want to help people in a food and health-related way.
It is important also to make sure your goals are measurable. You need to be able to keep track of any progress you might be making. Saying you want to help people does not give you any way of measuring whether or not you are actually making any progress toward helping anyone. If you take the goal above, and decide you want to start a website and post recipe tips and ideas, you might have a goal of reaching 10,000 readers through that website, as a way of measuring how many people you are actually helping learn new ways to prepare fresh foods.
It is essential, if you want to be the best you can be in both your professional and personal life, that you set realistic goals for what you want to accomplish. A realistic goal is something that you yourself can actually accomplish. Attainable goals are goals that, with the proper training, skills and circumstances, you can one day achieve through hard work and dedication. Becoming the next Rachel Ray is still technically an attainable goal. Owning the entire Food Network is not.
Any goals you set also need to be relevant to whatever you are trying to accomplish in your life. Let’s say your goal is to start a business online. You would not, therefore, want to set professional goals such as learning how to sew, unless you were planning on going into a sewing or clothing business. Instead, you would want to set goals more relevant to your business, such as learning basic web design or learning how to write effective sales copy for landing pages and email templates.
Put simply, to be in the top one percent, you need to give yourself time limits. Giving time frames to your goals gives you that final push you need to get things done sooner rather than later. You may have a goal to start building a website, but if you do not give yourself any kind of deadline by which that site needs to be built, it is much less likely to actually happen.
So once you have gone through all these steps, you would have a goal along the lines of, “Reaching 10,000 people through my recipe sharing website by January 2018. Within this goal still resides your original goal: to help people, or more specifically, to help people learn to prepare fresh foods. A website is just the channel through which you will achieve this goal.
Goals, as you spend more time developing them, transform and narrow until you know exactly what you want to achieve, and how you are going to get there. Is goal setting really worth all the effort, though?
Why setting goals will get you to where you want to go
- Control. Life is unpredictable, and it is very easy to veer off course when we do not have some kind of landmark to continue inching toward when an unexpected storm blows through. Goals serve as that landmark, that place we need to get to no matter what it takes, no matter what might be standing in our way.
- Purpose. What’s the point of doing something if there isn’t any kind of reasoning behind it? Setting goals gives you a clearer picture of not just what you want to eventually accomplish, but why you want to accomplish it. We are much more productive when we have a reason for doing what we do.
- Motivation. Have you ever sat down to get something done and realized you do not have the motivation necessary to do what you need to do? Setting goals and smaller goals within those goals can help you keep yourself moving forward even when you do not “feel like it.” Regardless of what your goals specifically are, having an end point that you can almost reach out and grab keeps you on track, even on days you wish you didn’t have to.
Setting goals is an ongoing and not always easy habit, especially when things don’t always go right and you are faced with the temptation to give up (it happens to the best of us). Like any other habit, though, the more consistently you do it, the more natural it eventually becomes. Keep setting and achieving goals, and you will find yourself in the top one percent in no time at all.