Have you ever struggled in goal setting or wanted to learn how to tackle your goals in the most effective way? Read on to learn more about the importance of pursuing measurable, challenging, and achievable goals.
By: Mary Stephenson
“Every thousand-mile journey begins with a single step.” –Lao Tzu, Ancient Chinese Philosopher
Whether it is a person’s life, or an organization, having a goal to set the direction of where to go is vital. If there is no goal, a person or business may step off in the wrong direction. Goals do the following for our personal and professional lives:
- Focus – Provide a common target toward which all resources (human and financial) can aim.
- Coordinate – Enable company personnel to coordinate efforts to reach the destination.
- Measure – Allow everyone to (1) dynamically determine their position relative to the goal and (2) take corrective action to getting back on course.
So, what’s missing from many goals? To start, when asking the question “What’s your goal?” many common answers are vague and lack specificity. It’s critical that goals have a useful target at which to aim, as well as a benchmark to measure performance. To solve these problems, a person needs to make sure goals that are put in place are measurable and challenging. Measurable goals allow for easy evaluation of progress. Challenging goals keep everyone interested, help to avoid boredom, and motivate people to reach their potential. If too easy, goals will bore and de-motivate people. If too difficult, goals will frustrate and disappoint individuals and employees that find it nearly impossible to achieve them.
Another common problem that people run into when developing goals is creating too many to focus on. If you’re anything like me, I’m sure you can relate to that overwhelming feeling of not knowing what to tackle first because of placing equal weight on all goals. My Dad always says, “If you have more than 3-4 goals at a time, you don’t have any goals at all.” And you know what? The older I get and the more I try to improve my own goal setting, the more I realize he’s so right. If you have more than a few goals at a time, it is very easy for the mind and body to feel confused.
A successful plan starts with the right goal. If a person can develop a measurable and challenging goal that helps him or her to realize potential, the thousand-mile journey that Lao Tzu mentioned will take a person to the right place. Another ancient Chinese philosopher, Sun Tzu, once said, “All battles are won before they are fought.” To win the battle, or conquer the goal in this case, a person needs to craft a good, strategic plan. And good, strategic plans always begin with measurable, challenging, achievable goals.
“If you believe you can achieve your goal and you believe you deserve to achieve it based on your training and preparation, there will be no stopping you.” –Allie Burdick