Goal setting is a powerful skill that almost all top performers possess and polish. Very few areas of life offer more variety than goal setting and goal reaching.
I personally use the Zig Ziglar goal setting program and planner. Friends of mine are advocates of the David Allen “Getting Things Done” approach. Some friends carry a Day Timer everywhere they go while others do it all on their smart phone.
No matter how you do your goal setting, there are three questions that are vital to your success.
These questions are often overlooked. That’s ironic because the answers to these three questions will give you a sense of ownership of your goals that will empower you to achieve more and experience more satisfaction too.
Here are the three vital questions, along with a brief word about why they matter so much.
Is this my goal?
This is an important, even vital, question. We all have goals imposed on us. If we work at a job it is unavoidable. The boss pays your salary so his or her goals are your work goals.
I’m talking about something deeper. I’m talking about the goals that were planted in your brain as a young person.
These are often the “you should” statements we have all heard.
Statements like “You are so smart, you should be a doctor” or “You will make a great teacher” often ring in our heads for decades after they are first said.
There is nothing wrong with these statements as they are. The people who make them (most often parents, teachers and bosses) are often well meaning.
But the statements become negative when they convince us we are not doing enough. That we are underachieving and have missed our destiny.
So when you set goals be sure to ask yourself if this is YOUR goal. Is this your passion. Will this make you happy and healthy.
Will you own this goal and do you really want the outcome?
When you can answer yes to both you will know that this is your goal, not the dim reflection of something your parents or teachers said you “should” do.
One more thing – if you feel like you have missed your destiny or that you have made too many mistakes, remember this.
Yesterday really did end at midnight. Today is a brand new day, and it’s yours to use any way you want. Including going for YOUR goals.
Now for question 2 …
Is this goal consistent with my other goals?
Some goals are exciting, thrilling even. They inspire us and cause us to rise to a level we did not know we had in us. But these big goals come with a price.
That price is total dedication.
Because of this we must weigh all our goals against each other to make sure no goal is inconsistent with your other goals.
This takes time. I know because I have 142 written goals as I write this. And comparing them all to each other for consistency is time consuming. But oh so worthwhile!
The key when looking for consistency in goals is to make sure you don’t sabotage your own success.
For example, if one of your goals is to lose 50 pounds and another is to learn to cook gourmet deserts you might have a conflict. I’m not saying those two can’t be done at the same time. But I am saying you will be in the path of temptation and put the weight loss goal at risk by choosing the gourmet cooking class.
So consider your goals carefully from a perspective of being consistent. In order to perform at your best you need to feel good about yourself, feel good about your choices. Since goal setting is all about you and your passions, why not choose goals that compliment and support each other?
Doing that will help you achieve more in all areas of life, including giving back to others.
Can I emotionally commit to this goal?
Goal setting requires an interesting mix of logic and emotion. Both are necessary to set goals well. It’s important to believe you can do anything you want in life (you can!) and just as important to realize the opportunities and challenges your life presents.
But once your goals are set it’s time to tap into your emotional side. It’s time to fully commit to your goal emotionally.
Committing emotionally to a goal means ignoring the naysayers and believing you can do anything if you take it step by step. It means being able to see yourself achieving that goal. See yourself weighing less, succeeding in business, serving others.
No matter what your goal is, or how big or small your goal is, being able to visualize yourself achieving it is paramount to your success.
So there you have it, three vital goal setting questions that are often overlooked. If you incorporate asking these questions into your goal setting process, and ask them for every goal (no matter how big or small the goal) you will discover a sense of ownership that you did not feel before.
You will have that sense of excitement we all want because this will be YOUR goal, it will be CONSISTENT with your other goals and you will be 100% COMMITTED to achieving it.
When you have those three things you will have discovered a powerful and beautiful thing indeed!