A Goal Setting Guide: 10 Things I have Learnt in the Goal Experiment So Far

There are so many things that I have learnt in this goal experiment! Many of my previous goal setting articles have focused on ONE single thing that I learnt. But as the end of the goal experiment draws nearer (I need to achieve my goals by May 31, 2012), I want to share 10 things that I have learnt so far in trying to achieve the first ever conscious goals of my life in this goal setting guide.

Goal Setting Guide Tip 1
Choose Goals You Love

If you choose a goal that DOES NOT resonate with you, there is very little chance you will achieve it. For example, if your goal is to clear a certain examination but you don't truly care about the examination, how can you stay focused and study for it? You will ALWAYS be distracted because you don't care about that exam. On the other hand, if you want to lost 10 kgs and you are truly motivated to lose that weight, there is a better chance you will achieve this goal.

Goal setting guide, butterflies flying towards the goal

(Src-Fotolia) The most important tip of this goal setting guide is: choose a goal you love

Do the inner work first. Choose goals that are truly important to you, not goals that you are choosing because you should choose them.

This website is very important to me and all my goals for May 31, 2012 are related to this website. So yes, they really matter to me.

Goal Setting Guide Tip 2
Choose Goals That Are Neither Too Big, Nor Too Small

I think ideally, goals should be just a bit bigger than targets you can comfortably achieve. Setting goals that are extremely far from where you are right now in the short term won't help. In the long term, in 3 or 5 years, you can achieve a lot of things. But in the short term - say in a few months, you can motivate yourself and gain momentum by achieving goals that are only slightly tough.

For example, if you can lift a weight of 50 kg easily, then lifting 56 kg by the next week can be your goal. However, lifting 100 kg by next week can kill you.

Yet another mistake is choosing too many goals. 2-3 goals are fine but 10 goals can lead to you getting distracted.

I made a mistake in this respect. I chose 10 goals in this goal experiment. Now 10 goals is a lot of goals and since all of the 10 goals involved quite some effort, I ended up seriously neglecting 2 of my goals. One of my goals was to visualize my ideal life for 2 minutes everyday for 10 days, but I have not been able to do it. On the first day itself, I spent 3 hours thinking: about my ideal life without really being able to picture it. And I had chosen too many goals to pay a lot of attention to this goal. So this goal suffered.

Goal Setting Guide Tip 3
Goal Setting And Planning Go Hand In Hand

Let us say your goal is to lose 10 kgs in 2 months. What's your plan? What will you do? How many kgs do you plan to lose in the first 15 days? How many in the next 15 days after that? Unless you plan all these details out you may feel lost and you may not know where to begin.

In the end things may not work out exactly according to the plan. However, the plan will at least give you some sort of direction with respect to your goal. You will know what to do next.

I planned every week in detail as I worked on my goals. I planned out what I would achieve on every single day of the next week. Had I not planned this, I now realize, I would have been confused and also unfocused. Planning what to do everyday gave me a target for each day. That helped me focus and NOT waste my time.

Goal Setting Guide Tip 4
Make Your Goals Public

I've said this earlier too. When you make your goals public, you make use of the "fear of embarrassment." Tell almost everyone you meet about your goals. Then they will ask you about your goals again and again. And your fear of NOT achieving your goals will PUSH YOU to take action!

A truthful confession is that my dedication towards my goals has increased by at least 50% BECAUSE I publicly committed to achieving my goals. Imagine how embarrassing it would be for me to be writing so many tips on goals and then telling you on the last day - "I didn't achieve even one goal." That thought spurs me to action! :P

Goal Setting Guide Tip 5
Track Your Goals Every Single Day

I think the BEST way to make sure you are consistently working on your goals is to journal about them everyday. Ask yourself questions like:

-To what extent have I achieved my goal?

- If I continue working like this, will I achieve my goal? If not, what changes should I make?

Notice that the more attention you pay to your goals, the better your chances of achieving them. After all, if you forget your goals, how will you achieve them? :)

Throughout this goal experiment, I have journaled almost everyday about my goals. This journaling helped me correct course with respect to many goals that I was not working on well. In fact I am able to write down all these goal setting tips because of the journaling and thinking about goals I did everyday. That is how I learnt I was NOT on track sometimes and what I could do about it.

Goal Setting Guide Tip 6
Make Your Goals Your Priority

What this means is - make sure your goals are amongst the MOST important things in your day. You may have to cut down non-goal activities to make sure goals NEVER get lost as you do other things. You will always get phone calls, you will want to interrupt working and do other things and you will want to watch television. If you are like me, you may also play scrabble.

But no matter what you do - don't forget about your goals or postpone them at the expense of other activities. Many people DO NOT achieve their goals simply because they are too busy doing other things they don't even care about much. If you care about your goals, give them loads of time during your day.

PS: I learnt this lesson the hard way by wasting my time and NOT giving priority to goals on many days.

Do you have any goal setting tip to share? Tell us about YOUR goal setting and motivation hacks here!

Goal Setting Guide Tip 7
When You Feel Like Quitting, Give Yourself a Pep-Talk

During the goal experiment, I felt like quitting many times. For example, there were some instances when I did not feel like working on my Panda Review Goal for 1 hour as planned. I knew it was important and I knew I wanted to complete this review deep down but just at the moment when I was about to work, I felt like checking email. Then I felt like reading some blog posts. Then I felt like….

At junctures like that, give yourself a pep-talk. Don't give in to the temptation of not working on your goal today and procrastinating. Tell yourself that this goal is very important to you and you will feel really fulfilled and satisfied if you achieve it. Be your own "Success Guru" by talking to yourself just at the instant when you want to give up.

This method worked for me like a charm (after I quit on many days :P ).

Goal Setting Guide Tip 8
Remember That the Universe Will Support Your Goals If You Really Try Hard

I know this seems a bit "fancy" but it was true for me in this goal experiment.

On one occasion, I had to work for two hours on my website (one of my goals is to work for 2 hours on the website for 10 days in a row) and the time was 2 AM in the night. After working from 2 AM to 3 AM, I fell asleep. Just at that moment, Krupa (my wife) suddenly woke up from sleep and she woke me up! That was a miracle because had she not suddenly woken up, I would of course have missed my goal of working for 2 hours on the website. [Edit: If you are reading this, thanks Krupa. :)]

On another occasion, I was just thinking of how difficult it was to achieve my goals by May 31. However, I was trying hard to make the deadline. Then suddenly, my boss offered to relieve me from my job earlier than the actual quitting date (My last day of work was supposed to be on May 31). That gave me excess time to focus on my goals. Again, I am thankful this happened.

I have now developed a belief that if you are really, really serious about your goal, the Universe will help you. :)

Goal Setting Guide Tip 9
It is OK to Fail But Keep Trying

Sometimes, you will not be able to do what you have planned. Despite your best attempts, you will fail. It's OK. That happens to everyone. It happened to me too in this goal experiment. Get back on track.

I tried more than 4 times and failed before I worked for 2 hours consecutively on my website for 10 days (one of my goals).

I have tried at least 10 times to wake up at 6 AM consecutively for 10 days (another of my goals) and….failed. I am still trying. :)

Goal Setting Guide Tip 10
Keep Taking Action and Keep On Going On

It is nice to talk about goals. It is nice to write about goals and journal about them and plan things related to them.

But it is all a waste without action.

You cannot be lazy and not take action and still achieve your goals. When you are too confused about where your goals are heading, take action and start working on your goals. When you are too excited about your goals, take more action. Sometimes, you will feel demotivated. Go on, stretch yourself and take action.

On some days, I realized that I was not meeting my goal targets and I got very worried. On other days, I spent the entire day planning my next week! On yet another day, I played scrabble through the day instead of working on my goals. What I learnt from all these experiences is the importance of sitting down and actually ACTING on my goals.

If I don't do that, everything else I do with respect to goals is superficial!

So there - those were some important things I learnt. Did you participate in the goals experiment? Did you learn something? Have you achieved your goals?

Why don't you write your own goal setting guide here.

All the best! I'll be back soon with reports about how my goals are going and where I am heading… ;)

Goal Setting Guide: Related Stuff

A cool goal setting tool that helped me

The first goal setting article on this website

Are your goals your top priority or are they just words?

Write Your Own Goal Setting Guide Here!

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