Perhaps Yogi Berra said it best, “If you don’t know where you are going, you’ll end up someplace else.” The simple truth is you can’t hit a target you don’t have. And the only way I know to aim for that target is to set goals.
Goals are magnificent tools. They enable you to accomplish the extraordinary. Without well-defined goals, we’ll likely drift off course. We’ll tend to spend our time doing things deemed as urgent—either by ourselves or others—and not necessarily those that are important and will take us where we want to go.
When you mention the topic of goal setting, some people’s eyes glaze over. They equate setting goals with work where goals are used as a yardstick for job performance. What these people (and many others) fail to realize that setting goals is an innate part of being human.
That’s what I learned from reading one of my favorite books: Psycho-Cybernetics by Maxwell Maltz. In fact, I’ve read this book over 50 times—that’s how valuable I find Maltz’s insight. Maltz explains that every living creature on our planet has an innate goal-seeking mechanism. For most, this mechanism focuses on just two things: survival and procreation. For humans, our goal-seeking mechanism is much more powerful for we have the power of imagination. We can achieve whatever we conceive.
That concept may be difficult for some to comprehend. But if you have ever worried about what could happen, you’ve utilized your goal-seeking mechanism. That’s applying it in the negative sense. You imagine all the things that could go wrong. Even though that’s our goal seeking mechanism pointing in the wrong direction, it shows how easy it is to use. Use your inherent ability to imagine all those things you could achieve.
Here’s how to do just that in 5 steps:
1. Create specific goals
- Have incredible clarity about what you truly want and believe you can achieve.
2. Write your goals down on paper
- You increase the likelihood of achieving your goals by 90% if you just write them down.
3. Make sure your goals are consistent with your gifts and talents
- Build on your strengths. Then expand your horizon by setting goals that go beyond your current level of achievement.
- Be certain to surround yourself with people who you admire, trust and respect; those who see your true gifts and talents and who build you up. Most of us do not realize how great we are or can be and we often need others to help us see our potential and help us believe in ourselves.
4. Don’t let others talk you out of your goals
- You need to believe in yourself and that you can do this. Don’t let those naysayers talk you out of it.
5. Let your goal-seeking mechanism do the work
- Once you have clarity about your goals and what you need to do to achieve them, let the goal seeking mechanism will take over. Take the pressure off.
Use your innate abilities to achieve what you want in life. Believe in yourself. Remember there is greatness in you. Believe that it can happen and it will happen for you.