There are essential skills required for successful goal setting. The good news is they can be learned and developed through practice. Abraham Lincoln once said, “Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe.” If one cannot achieve the goals one has set, it is possible that the problem a dull ax! The following six keys to successful goal attainment will ensure that your ax is sharp!
· Planning – The adage ‘fail to
plan, plan to fail’ is applicable
to successful goal
planning negatively affects
outcomes in relation to goals
(Smith, Locke, & Barry, 1990).
Through proper planning, we
can prioritize and focus
on the task at hand, while
· Self-Motivation – Without
the desire to achieve, attempts at goal setting are
doomed to fail. Motivation to achieve a goal encourages one to develop new
techniques and skills in order to succeed (Locke, 2001). When encountering
obstacles, the motivation to keep going is essential to goal attainment.
· Time Management – Time management is a useful skill across many facets of life
including goal setting. While setting goals are commonly considered to be a specific
time management behavior (Macan, Shahani, Dipboye, & Phillips, 1990), time
management is also required in order to successfully accomplish a goal. If we do not
properly consider the timescale required to attain a goal, one will inevitably fail.
· Flexibility – Inevitably, at some point, things aren’t going to go as planned. Having
the flexibility to overcome obstacles, the perseverance to sustain one’s efforts and to
carry on in the face of adversity is essential to reaching one’s goal.
· Self-regulation – An individual must regulate and manage one’s emotions in order
to promote personal and social goals. Well-developed Emotional Intelligence leads
to the ability to efficiently consider and describe motivational goals, aims, and
missions (Mayer, 2004).
· Commitment and Focus – If we are not committed to our goals, goal setting will not work (Locke, 2001).
It is imperative that goals are important and meaningful on a personal level, and that we know we can attain, or at the very least make substantial progress towards, a goal.
The time one allocates to perfecting the six keys directly impacts task performance – the more time spent on developing the six keys, the more likely we are to succeed (Smith, Locke, & Barry, 1990). If Abraham Lincoln were alive today, he would tell us that depending its size one cannot chop down a tree in six hours with a dull ax. In addition to failing to complete the goal, we are also jeopardizing our health when will fail to plan. Like the ax analogy, a dull ax can bounce and potentially cause injury. Failure to implement the six keys to successful goal setting can lead to anxiety, headaches and other maladies.
"If you are ready to attack goal setting with unyielding passion, see more below for my goal setting tools." - Doug
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