Goal Setting: The Next Level

By: K. Jeffrey Miller, DC, DABCO

Are your goals written down with target dates for accomplishment? Great! I knew I was writing for the right crowd. Congratulations on being a goal setter! You are a part of the elite 5% of Americans who set goals. Now, are you ready for the next level, being a goal achiever? What’s the difference between a goal setter and a goal achiever, you ask? Goal achievers are goal setters who have refined their goal setting skills and attitudes to consistently achieve their goals. While 5% of Americans set goals, only 1% of Americans use the system to its fullest extent. These individuals are goal achievers. Let’s take a look at some keys to moving from being a goal setter to being a goal achiever:

  1. Goal achievers believe luck is something they create and not a random occurrence.

The average person is unfocused, unprepared and often fails to recognize opportunities when they occur. Goal achievers are focused and prepared to seize opportunities that match their goals. Preparation and focus eliminate procrastination or hesitation. “Luck” really stands for Laboring Under Correct Knowledge.

  1. Goal achievers realize that, win or lose, success is having done your best.

The best example of this concept is provided by Special Olympians and physically challenged athletes. The fact that they participate despite their challenges should be a lesson for everyone. Goal achievers don’t suck their thumbs and feel sorry for themselves, or at least not for very long. They pull themselves up by their boot straps and press on, regardless of the odds against them. There are no regrets when you have done your best.

  1. Goal achievers have demanding goals which promote personal growth.

Goals are meant to help us grow. Otherwise, there would be no purpose in setting them. To reach our full potential, we must be challenged. Seeking to stretch beyond the limits of our comfort zones is the only way we will achieve our life’s dreams. A goals program that is easy to accomplish is nothing more than a “to do” list.

  1. Goal achievers have realistic goals.

Achieving world peace is an admirable goal, but it is not realistic. There are too many variables in such a lofty goal. This is the opposite of setting goals, which are too easy. Setting unrealistic goals often leads to failure, discouragement and loss of hope. Realistic goals have measurable progress steps, which are usually identified during the goal-setting process. Some steps are hard and some are easy, with the outcome being a challenging but obtainable goal.

  1. Goal achievers have the ability to control the fear of failure.

Understanding that failure is an event and not a person is the key to controlling the fear of failure. Goal achievers do not become bogged down and feeling like a failure or placing blame. Goal achievers move from a failed goal to the next goal by realizing that one failed goal is just that, “one” failed goal. It is not the entire goal program or the final judgment of their character.

  1. Goal achievers use starting and completion dates when setting goals.

The average goal setter has learned to set target dates for goal completion. This is one of the most basic concepts in all of goal setting. Goal achievers have taken dates a step further by listing starting and completion dates for each goal. This helps avoid procrastination and wasting one of our most valuable resources, our time. Robert Schuller said, “Beginning is half done!”

  1. Goal achievers celebrate reaching a goal and quickly move to the next goal.

There is great joy in reaching goals. However, there is sometimes a depression, which follows a great achievement. People wonder, “Now what?” or, “Is that all there is?” or, “Have I peaked?” The solution lies in understanding that the process is as important as the final outcome. Goal achievers celebrate a victory and then continue the pursuit of other goals. Moving quickly to another of life’s goals helps keep alive the burning desire to grow as a person. There is no time for depression or self-doubt.

  1. Goal achievers use mental imaging to help reach their goals.

Long before goal achievers reach a goal, they have pictured reaching that goal hundreds, even thousands of times. They have pictured the process, the achievement and their reaction over and over again in vivid detail. When the goal is finally a realization, the goal achiever has a sense of déjà vu.

  1. Goal achievers are determined and persistent.

This principle could never be stated with more clarity than was expressed by the former President, Calvin Coolidge, when he said, “Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not. Nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not. Unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not. The world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence, determination and hard work make the difference.”

  1. Goal achievers have accepted responsibility for their successes.

Accepting the fact that you and you alone are responsible for your degree of success in life is the most important step in moving from being a goal setter to a goal achiever. This is also the most difficult key to becoming a goal achiever. It is a purely mental process and takes a very mature person to realize and admit this truth.

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It has been said that, “A goal is a dream with a deadline.” Take your goal setting to the next level and make your dreams come true by developing and applying the ten characteristics of goal achievers. The time invested will be returned in greater success and more opportunities than you can imagine. Remember, it is all up to you.