Goal Setting Basics

by Michael Hargrove     

Grandpa Hargrove once told me, “Michael, life is a magnificent play. We can either be the star or just a bit player. But me…I’d rather be the playwright!” And that’s just what goal setting allows us to do. It enables us to create our life instead of letting life be something that just happens to us. Here’s the basic “how to’s” of goal setting:

Goals must be clear & concise, be written down and have deadlines. If it’s not clear & concise, written down with an expected date of attainment, then it’s not a goal, it’s just a wish. And wishes are okay if we don’t mind waiting for someone else or something else to grant them. A goal, on the other hand, is dependent solely on us to become reality. We must breathe life into our goals so they can have the strength to prod us along the path of success.

Next, our goals must be in harmony with our life’s priorities. If they aren’t, we’ll either experience disenchantment if we attain them, or more likely, we’ll experience a frustrating series of sub-conscious self-sabotage.

Here’s how to establish our life’s priorities: First, list out everything in our life that’s important to us. Initially, we need to avoid one word answers like; peace, love, success, happiness, etc. Once we’ve done that, then we can try to reduce them into one word for each priority. Now this may require us to combine some priorities or even eliminate some of them. Also, we should only be concerned with our own definitions of the words we choose. Any other definitions are irrelevant. Lastly, we must put them in their order of importance, again as we define them…… Something else wonderful happens when we become aware of our own life’s priorities…all decision making becomes infinitely easier. To make the right decision, all we have to do is simply choose the paths that are in harmony with those priorities. Obviously, it’s imperative that we give this process the most careful thought we can.

Once we’ve identified our life’s priorities, we then must list out the goals we want to achieve in these five categories:  

1) Things goals; a new car, a new stereo, a big screen TV, a racing bike, a graphite tennis racquet, a cd player, a leather jacket, etc.

2) Personal goals; things like: lose ten pounds, or learn WordPerfect, or read a book a week, or run three miles every morning, or coach our son’s soccer team, etc.

3) Spiritual goals; things like: go to church, or read the bible, or study the other scriptures of the world, or meditate, or smile in the mirror, or the like.

4) Career goals; things like: deliver three more cars this month, or read a book on selling every month, or ask for the promotion, or develop a 90% demo rate, or set an annual income goal, or build our own training library, etc.

5) Financial goals; things that have to do with our net worth, like: pay off our credit card balances, or buy a house, or buy a second or third house, or start our retirement fund, or set up the vehicle to pay for our kid’s college education, or to have X amount of liquid assets by this or that date, etc.

Then we need to go back to each category and prioritize each of our goals as either a one year, three year, five year, ten year or twenty year goal. Later, we’ll break each goal down into even smaller time increments.

But before we do that, we need to write, for each goal, a paragraph of all the wonderful things that will happen when we achieve that goal (we sometimes call this “the carrot”). Then, we need to write a paragraph of all the bad-awful things that’ll happen if we don’t attain the goal (we sometimes call this “the stick”). We need to write a paragraph of all the people and resources we’ll need to achieve this goal. Also, a paragraph of all the roadblocks or impediments we can at least anticipate. This last paragraph will help reduce the inevitable problems into manageable challenges. Lastly, we must put in writing what one action we will commit to taking, within the next 24 hours, to get the ball rolling towards the attainment of this goal. Momentum is important!

Once the four paragraphs and first action step is committed to writing, then we can go back to each goal and break them down further into even smaller time tables for their attainment.

That’s goal setting in general. Man, we can do a whole program on this subject alone! As a matter of fact, one of the programs I do is an all day goal setting workshop. But this should be enough to get us started. Once we master the skill of goal setting, our life will become something we pilot instead of just ride out!

Click here for some goal setting specifics to the car business:

© Copyright 2013 by Michael D. Hargrove and Bottom Line Underwriters, Inc. All rights reserved. Michael D. Hargrove is the founder and president of Bottom Line Underwriters Inc.

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