What are the best ways to ensure that you reach your goals? For example, do you write everything down on a piece of paper? Do you throw it all out to the universe and hope for the best? Do you envision yourself reaching your goals? Do you try to do your best?
If you are relying on any of the above four strategies for reaching your goals, chances are that you are not succeeding and falling short in your attempts.
Heidi Grant Halvorson is the author of Succeed, a new book that talks about goal research and how people successfully reach their goals.
According to her work, people reach their goals best when the goals are very specifically detailed. You’ve heard of SMART goals that are specific, measureable, attainable, realistic and time-bound (or some variation thereof – there are several different permutations of what SMART actually stands for). Well it turns out that there is research to substantiate that – people who write down specific goals are more likely to attain them – especially if they detail out the little steps that are required along the way. Breaking one big goal down into several tiny goals, each of which is a SMART goal, will greatly enhance your chances of success.
Furthermore, just hoping for the best doesn’t work – and believing that the goal will be easy to attain doesn’t work either. In Halvorson’s research, participants who believed that they could reach the goal and it would be difficult to reach were more successful than participants who also believed they could reach their goal, but it would be easy to do. Why? Because people in that first group were prepared for adversity and steeled themselves to be resilient and tenacious. People who believed that the path would be smooth were thrown off when things didn’t go as planned. And really – when do things ever go as planned?
So when you have a big goal – or a little goal – that’s important to you, and you are committed to it, here are a few tips to help you with your goal achievement:
- Write down your goal and all the steps you need to take along the way
- Ensure that each goal and sub-goal is specific, measureable and set times when you will work towards that goal and a final date that you hope to achieve it
- Be prepared for a rocky road
- Enlist others for their help and support
And, of course, celebrate and reward yourself when you reach success! After all, you’ll have earned it!
Lisa Sansom is the Founder of LVS Consulting. A certified coach and positive psychology practitioner, Lisa helps businesses, teams and individuals be at their best. For more information, please visit LVS Consulting or email Lisa directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.