Set smarter goals part 2


If you came to this page via a search engine, you can view the first part of this series by clicking here.

Okay, so with that out of the way, now that you’ve identified your main goal, you need to build up leverage on yourself to help ensure its success. You do that by giving yourself as many reasons to succeed as possible, as well as identifying all the pain you’ll feel if you fail to succeed.

You can complete this bit on the same form that you listed the goal on. To begin with, it will be worth printing off a copy, or three of the Brainstorming Sheet and using those to list all the items. Be as specific as you can and don’t leave anything out. List all of the small reasons as well as the big ones!

These should include personal reasons as well as tangible ones, for example a benefit may be that because you’ll be doing something you love, you’ll be more ‘present’ with loved ones, or you’ll have more money to spend on vacations, etc. The pain you might feel for failure may be that you have to get up every day and work at a job you hate with a boss who doesn’t appreciate you, or if you don’t succeed, you’ll never be able to experience the pleasure of supplying world class widgets to the people who need them, etc.

You should also put down what it would mean to you physically and mentally, eg “achieving each step along the route to my goal, will boost my confidence in my abilities, allowing me to take greater calculated risks in my business.”

Also, list any barriers likely to prevent your success. These could include un-supportive friends or family, lack of money, or experience, etc. Then list how you will deal with these barriers, so they don’t become an issue.

thinkingAny reason you can think of is a good one, the more reasons you give yourself to succeed, the better it will be. It’s also worth remembering that people will do a lot more to escape from pain than they will to experience pleasure, so make sure you spend plenty of time writing down all the pain you’ll feel if you don’t succeed and any barriers you might face along the way!

Once you have a nice long list, add them to the ‘Smaller Goals’ sheet.

Now that you have your main goal and the steps needed to reach it, the next step is to break each of those smaller steps into actionable tasks that will achieve them.

For example, if one of your steps was to take a course in business taxation, then your actionable tasks could be,

  1. Contact my local business forum to ask for advice on local courses.
  2. Contact each of the recommendations and ask for a prospectus.
  3. Compare each prospectus then make a decision on which course to take.
  4. Book a place on the next available course.

Work out your steps to successYou can break your steps down into as many tasks as you need, just make sure that each of the tasks is specific. eg. “look on the internet for where I can do a course on business taxation” isn’t specific; “contact the top three results for business taxation courses on ‘Google'”, is. Remember, as with the goals, each task needs to be measurable; you need a target so you know when you’ve achieved each one.

Once you have all your tasks written down, assign each of them a deadline. Obviously, some of these deadlines may change, especially if the completion of your task is reliant on waiting for information, but assign one anyway and change it if you need to later on.

You should now have all of the actions necessary to achieve your Major Goal.

The problem facing you now, is most likely you have a ‘mish-mash’ of tasks that don’t have any structure. This final section will help you with that!

The final ‘Specific Tasks’ worksheet will allow you to create a simple chronological list of tasks that you can work your way through, from top to bottom.

So, take your list of action steps and add them to the sheet. Put the first thing you need to do, first in the list, then work your way down until the final task is at the bottom, use extra sheets if you need to.

British Journal of Clinical PsychologyA survey in the Journal of Clinical Psychology (1-1-2014) found that a person who explicitly sets goals, is 10 times more likely to achieve them than a person who just has vague idea of what they want to achieve.

62% of Americans set at least one goal per year, only 8% of those achieve them! Of that 8%, just over half (64%), reach their goal and keep it for one month before slipping back, 46% last past 6 months.

This means that less than 4% of people who set goals, manage to maintain them once they’ve been achieved. By completing this short course, you have done what 96% of people who set goals have failed to do; you have a written, achievable plan of every step necessary.

If you look through your list of tasks, everything you need to do in order to reach the one thing you dream about doing, having, or being is right in front of you. Every task you complete builds your confidence and increases your self-belief.

Take actionThe only thing left to do now in order to complete the course, is take action on your first task!

Once you’ve achieved your goal, don’t fall into the trap of believing that everything will be fantastic now you’ve achieved your dream. Once you get there, and you will, you’ll have other desires that your want to realise. Go through the same process with those goals and you’ll get them too!

Let me know in the comments how things work out, or if you have any questions.

Steve, who's also the Founder of Teen Anxiety UK, has been writing books and articles about various aspects of Psychology since 2006.

For the last five years, he's main focus has been in helping build confidence and self-esteem.

His formal qualifications include Clinical Hypnotherapy, Psychotherapy, NLP and CBT.

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