Effective Goal Setting Strategies -
Change Strategy for Life


Smart goal setting helps you set goals right. Effective goal setting strategies help you set the right goals. They provide you with the big picture - a framework if you will. Smart goals are a tactic; but without strategy tactics lack direction. The following is a strategic outlook that brings all the pieces together. It's the context in which goal setting unfolds.

Effective Goal Setting Strategy #1: Think Big - Aim High

“Shoot for the moon and if you miss you will still be among the stars."

~Les Brown

When setting long-term goals we don't do ourselves any favors by aiming too low. The aim of long-term goal setting is to s-t-r-e-t-c-h allowing life to take on new dimensions. The last thing you want is to let your preconceived notions and limitations do the talking for you in putting pen-to-paper.

Instead, rely on inspired imagination to guide you. This ensures engagement of your subconscious mind - the powerhouse of motivation and creativity within.

Limiting your horizons is an exercise in logic. Shooting for the stars is, on the other hand, an exercise in creative potential. The powerhouse within - our subconscious mind - isn't motivated by logic. It's motivated by possibilities.

Your subconscious - being in touch with the full creative potential of your inner-self -  knows what's possible. Let it be your guide.

Tom Venuto, a natural bodybuilder champion and author of the bestselling fitness ebook, "Burn the Fat, Feed the Muscle", says that big goals should scare us and excite us at the same time.

Great advice!

Pursuing a big goal, you'll find yourself alternating between these two powerful emotions - fear and excitement - until you can hardly tell the difference between the two. This is alright. It's a clear sign that your goal is just right - it's big, but not too big.

Thinking big - aiming high - is one of the most effective goal setting strategies to take on board.

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Effective Goal Setting Strategy #2: A Goal Needs a 'Reason-for-Being'

"Strong reasons make strong actions."

~William Shakespeare

Setting smart goals encourages us to set goals that are specific and measurable. It forces us to sharpen our aim with something more tangible - more concrete - to shoot for.

But what about the 'why'? Why are you aiming for this goal to begin with?

Every goal we pursue should have a 'raison daitre' - a 'reason for being'. This 'reason for being' answers the question, 'Why should I bother with this goal in the first place?'

Ask yourself, 'what is it about who I am that makes this goal so appealing?' It's a good question to ask since it speaks directly to what motivates you.

The renowned military strategist, Sun Tzu, believed that knowing yourself is to have already won half the battle. The other half of winning, he says, is knowing the enemy (which in the context of goal setting would mean knowing your goal).

Get in touch with what motivates you about your goal and half the battle will already be won. Ask yourself, "Why do I want this?", "What will achieving this goal allow me to feel?", "What does achieving this goal allow me to be?"

What are smart goals has more on what it takes to win the battle of setting and achieving your goals.

Effective Goal Setting Strategy #3: Break It Down

Big picture goals are important, yet they can't be achieved all at once. Trying to bite off more than we can chew is a poor goal setting strategy indeed - leading to overwhelm, burnout and possible failure. 

By breaking down larger goals, into smaller more manageable ones, we lay out a clear path to follow. Achieving larger goals happens naturally as part of this process.

A good general framework for breaking down goals is as follows: 

  • Long-term vision (this can be five, ten, twenty or any other number of years that makes it easiest for you to 'see yourself' in the future).

  • One year goals, desires or milestones.

  • Medium-term goals (three months).

  • Weekly goals.

  • Daily goals (can also include daily habits).

It has been said that we tend to over-estimate what we can do in a year, and under-estimate what we can do in ten. Take this wisdom into account when constructing your goal setting strategy. Be extravagant with your long-term vision and exercise restraint with your one-year goals.

At the end of the day your three-month goals will be the ones to set the pace. These will also be the goals you'll most likely use the smart goal formula to set - since they are not too close or far away. Use your achievements with these to adjust your one-year goals either upward or downward as deemed necessary.

Effective Goal Setting Strategy #4: Aim to Beat Your Personal Best

“There is nothing noble in being superior to your fellow man; true nobility lies in being superior to your former self."

~Ernest Hemingway

Another pearl of wisdom from "Burn the Fat, Feed the Muscle", is the suggestion to, "compete - but only against yourself." 

Personal goal setting is exactly that - personal. We should strive to keep it that way. The goal setting strategies presented here are about getting the most out of your life. Not 'your life as compared to others'.

This is a critical distinction to make.

Competing with 'the Jones's' is a sure recipe for failure. If you're walking down that road you've already lost. On the road of comparison with others, even if you win - you lose.

But, why is that?

Because comparison causes you to operate from a motivation that isn't authentically your own. To best others isn't motivating, at least not in a true sense. It isn't intrinsically motivating.

Motivation answers to the question, 'why do I want this?' If your main answer is, 'because they have it', guess what? You're motivation is no longer your own. You've handed it over.

Why do you want something? Find the answer within yourself. Find a self-contained answer to this question and you've become truly motivated once again.

Inspired goals are a key to unbeatable drive and motivation. Intrinsically motivated, you stand the best chance of realizing your goals. So make sure you don't give your power away. Be sure to connect with authentic motivation - something you own.

Hope you enjoyed these goal setting strategies and find them useful for setting and achieving your goals. Here's more on how to ensure an inspired goal setting journey.

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