Rules of goal-setting
Your goals must be:
Specific – Do you know exactly what it is that you’re trying to do and why?
Measurable – Is there a set of criteria you can use for measuring progress?
Attainable – I lump this in with Realistic, but I’m sure there’s some Life Coach out there that can tell us what it really means.
Realistic – Can you really and truly accomplish this goal? Stretch goals are good. Unrealistic or unmotivating goals are bad.
Timely – A goal should have a time frame. “I want to do X by Y.”
Personal Goal Setting
Writing down your goals made you more likely to reach them than just thinking about them. Obviously, writing them down is more effective than not having goals in terms of getting where you want to go.
Here is a study on Sid Savara’s site. Here is the gist…a study at Dominican University divided people into 1 of 5 groups with different ways of dealing with their 4-week goals. They were also asked to rate their goals on the following dimensions: Difficulty, Importance, the extent to which they had the Skills & Resources to accomplish the goal, their Commitment and Motivation to the goal, whether or not they had Pursued this goal before and if so their Prior Success.
The five groups were as follows:
Think about their goals
Write (type into the online survey) their goals.
Formulate action commitments.
Formulate action commitments and send their goals and action commitments to a supportive friend.
Formulate action commitments and send their goals, action commitments and weekly progress reports to a supportive friend.
The 4 groups that wrote down their goals were 50% more likely to achieve them. Having a friend involved made the participant more likely to achieve their goals than just writing them down. For some odd reason, setting up actionable goals didn’t make them more likely to hit the target than just writing their goals down.
Regardless, I think having an action plan is a good idea. What’s the saying: “A goal without a plan is just a wish”? Something like that.