“A goal properly set is halfway reached.” Zig Ziglar
Updated: Apr 6, 2021
One of the keys to accomplishing any goal you have is being incredibly specific when you’re actually setting it. According to academic research 92% of people who make New Year’s goals never actually achieve them, so that’s just 8% that do! That’s pretty staggering and a bit depressing really.
And most of these people who fail to achieve their goals are doing so because they’re just not being specific enough when they set them. For example, if you’ve got a goal to lose weight, it’s no good just saying my New Year goal is to lose weight. I can promise that is not going to get you anywhere. You need to know exactly what the goal is, why you want to achieve it and when you’re going to achieve it by. For example, I want to lose 10 kilos by 30th April because I’m going to Hawaii on holiday and I’m going to wear my bikini and look a million dollars! Now that is much more likely to set you up for success. Can you see it’s so much more specific than just saying “I want to lose weight”. So why do you need to be so specific? Why does this create success when it comes to achieving our goals?
Firstly, having a vague intention doesn’t create any energy, it doesn’t create momentum to move forwards. In order to create that energy, you need to be able to picture yourself, imagine yourself achieving that thing and the more specific you are with the detail, the easier it is to do this. Going back to that goal of losing weight, if you can visualise yourself lying on that beautiful white sandy beach in the Hawaii rocking your favourite bikini then you become more emotionally connected with your goal. And when you become emotionally connected, you are much more motivated and committed to achieving it.
Secondly, you need to instruct your brain what you want it to do in order to achieve this goal rather than the other way around. If you leave your brain to its own devices, it will just take the easy option and the easy option is just doing what it already knows. And that most likely means just slipping back into its old familiar habits which in turn means you giving up on achieving anything new. We need to challenge our brains; we need to be in charge of them. So when you’re faltering on your goal, when it feels like really hard work, if you can have a detailed answer ready when you start questioning why you’ve committed to achieving this new thing you’re much more likely not to give up. If you just have some vague answer/reason it’s not going work out. Write the what, why and when down and read it every day. Memorise it and then when those negative thoughts come up about achieving it (which they will) you able to counter them immediately.
Thirdly, the more specific when setting the goal, the easier it is to formulate a plan or come up with actionable steps to achieve the thing you want. For example with your weight loss goal, if you didn’t have a specific date, it would be incredibly easy just to keep putting off sticking to a food plan until tomorrow. But when you have a set date in mind, a date you’ve committed to, you know it’s imperative to start straight away. You can also work backwards; if you need to lose 10 kilos before 30th April and its now 1st January, you can work out exactly how much weight you need to lose each week. It’s just becomes so much easier and more manageable to achieve when you can break that bigger goal down into smaller goals along the way.
So when it comes to creating goals, if you don’t know exactly what you want, why you want it and when you want it by, you are setting yourself up for failure. So set yourself up for success instead. If you have got a goal at the moment ask yourself, have I really been specific about those 3 things – the what, the why and the when? Because if you’ve got those 3 things down pat then I promise you, you’re already halfway there to achieving it!