I recently hit a professional goal that I had set in the beginning of the year. I had set this goal as a benchmark in the development of my business. I hit my goal on the timeframe I set. It feels GREAT to have accomplished it! This may be the best thing about goals–you get so much out of the process.
So what did I learn?
Goals are challenging.
Working towards your goals requires effort in directions that you might not expect or want to go. Call it being out of your comfort zone. Call it taking risks. Call it putting yourself out there.
And I had to figure out how to do things that I didn’t know how to do. This led me to set “learning goals.” According to Edwin Locke and Gary Latham in their article, “New Directions in Goal Setting Theory,” learning goals involve learning new skills in order to achieve more difficult performance goals.
Obstacles have their lessons.
I had to do things I didn’t want to do. I felt exhausted at times. I felt overwhelmed by the obstacles. I felt pulled in many directions trying to figure out how to make this goal happen. So I had to learn. I did research in areas I was unfamiliar with. The more I researched how to achieve my goal, the more I learned how to dismantle the obstacles I faced. Many of the obstacles turned out to be self-held beliefs that I needed to change. And with patience, persistence, and help from others, the obstacles worked out in time.
Every goal set is a means to an even greater end.
Remember that goals are future-oriented. Goals take desire, time, effort, and perserverance. Goals take an ability to tolerate setbacks and to tolerate unrealized expectations. But focused and directed steps lead you towards your goals. And each goal realized leads you to the opportunity for personal, professional, and spiritual growth.
What was the last goal that you set and accomplished? Remember it?
A good way to set a goal is to use an extrinsic motivator, like a reward. Research suggests that external rewards, like praise and celebration, can increase your desire to succeed. And neurophysiology studies demonstrate that repetition of achievement-based activity can strengthen neural networks in the brain.
As a result, you create a map in your mind for how to achieve goals and a route to travel to achieve future goals. This fosters intrinsic motivation, which builds self-confidence, self-esteem, and self-efficacy. So keep on the goals that you have or set a new goal to go after.
Here are some goals for all:
Play and observe. Be yourself. Have your feelings. Have fun. Explore. Notice what it feels like to do well in school and at work. Keep an open mind. Try new things. You may discover a deep passion and talent for a previously unknown activity!
Understand rules and the problems rules create. Search for answers. Ask for help and help others. People will come to your aid. These goals and skills will be of great use to you as you change the world.
So keep your goals high in the sky! You can accomplish anything you put your mind to. And on a personal note, I want to thank my clients. Thank you all for the trust you put in me.
P.S. Here is a link to Edwin A. Locke’s and Gary P. Latham’s article: http://bit.ly/1aNEa9T
And here is a good infographic for goal-setting: http://bit.ly/18EkIeV