How to set your goals like a leader

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“I wish to lower my blood pressure and hope not to gossip anymore! Someday I will do it, someday maybe….”  Is this familiar to you? Are my mentioned goals good enough? No, they need action. I need answers! What will I accomplish today? I need goals I wish to achieve now, tomorrow and during my lifetime.  If you want to have control of your life, then you should learn how to fulfill your goals. Why? The research findings are clear. People who set goals are more successful. They get larger raises, learn up to 250 percent faster, get tenures faster, become respectable leaders sooner. They become more confident, improve their performance, have better focus, and increased motivation.

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WHAT IS GOAL SETTING?  It is the process of deciding what you want to accomplish and devising the plan to do it. However, not all goals are created equal. To lower my blood pressure is more important to me than my hope not to gossip anymore. So, how do you effectively go about setting and achieving your goals?

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Step #1. Write down 5 goals. Then look over the list and chose which one goal has the greatest positive impact on your life? What I genuinely and wholeheartedly want to accomplish?  One important goal should take 80 percent of all your time and efforts.

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Step #2. Let’s start with goal statement: “I WANT TO BE HEALTHIER BY LOWERING MY BLOOD PRESSURE TO THE LEVEL 120 OVER 80 IN THE TIME SPAN OF TWO MONTHS”.  This is the OUTCOME GOAL. The goal statement will generally be more effective if it meets the SMART requirements. The goals should be SPECIFIC, MEASURABLE, ACTION-ORIENTED, REALISTIC and TIMELY.

SPECIFIC means clearly expressed what is to be achieved. My blood pressure should be 120 over 80. This is exactly what I want.

MEASURABLE means your goals should be quantifiable.  We can measure blood pressure and I can quantify it to measure the progress until I reach 120 over 80.

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ACTION-ORIENTED Goals are a clear indication of behavior and action what must be done. What actions I must take to lower my blood pressure? Change my eating habits, start to exercise, use relaxation techniques, and apply time management. These actions are SMART mini goals or PROCESS GOALS and they are stepping stones to the outcome goal.

REALISTIC. Challenging but achievable. I can not change my blood pressure in 12 hours, but I might be very successful in a few months.

TIMELY. Your goals should be set with schedules and deadline. In two months, I will reach desired blood pressure.

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Step #3.  IDENTIFY BLOCKERS. After we first set our goals we are super optimistic and filled with hope–and that’s great. One thing that happens, however, is we fail to identify possible blockers. I like to sleep longer, I procrastinate often, I attend official dinners, I receive a lot of phone calls, my family doesn’t support me… and those are all possible blockers to lowering my blood pressure. When we know our blockers, we can decide on actions to take that will help us overcome them in the future.

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Step #4. MEASURE PROGRESS. You will measure the progress and work on it every day. And then all your other goals will start to move forward. Focus is the most important quality for success. You can learn to focus by practicing until it becomes automatic. Feedback and accountability will supercharge your goals.

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Step #5. GET SUPPORT. Here are some ideas: Post on your social networks about your goals to get public accountability. Why wait? Tweet me right now. Get a goal partner and set up times to talk or text every few weeks about your goal. Make an awesome social group and use the power of groups to achieve your goal and conquer blockers. Change your passwords to remind you of your goal. The hardest part isn’t making goal resolution; it’s keeping it. Here is list of some tools for setting and tracking goals recommended by young leaders to help you track your goals: Habitica, Giant Post-it Notes, Way of Life App, Google Drive, Asana, AnyDo, Wunderlist, OKRs, or a Clear and plain Whiteboard.

Step #6.  PRACTICE AND REVISE. The goals are always a work in progress until they are achieved.  If you work hard and there is no progress, maybe you missed something important. Or you can’t resist the temptation to clear up small things first.

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Setting a goal is simple, but it requires hard work and persistence. You should Pay the price. That means work on your goal all the time. 

Here is a brief review in the form of Success Ladder you can use as a reminder.

Ok, this is it. Time for action. Right now: Set your goals!

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  1. Sabina Morosini, Joyful Leadership Manual
  2. Doran, G. T. (1981). “There’s a S.M.A.R.T. way to write management’s goals and objectives”. Management Review. 70(11), 35–36.
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