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Setting & Achieving Goals

Goal Setting for Success

To achieve success, first set goals.

Femi Adebanji

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Zig Ziglar said that you can’t hit a target you cannot see, and you cannot see a target you do not have. This is true of everything we do in life.

Achieving success in any area of one’s life or career always requires setting a goal. Most of us set ‘goals’ daily but for some unfathomable reason, never seem to be able to achieve them. The simple reason behind this is that we often set weak goals as opposed to strong and compelling goals.  Weak goals will produce vague results, while specific goals will produce specific results. Goals that are clear and specific also provide the motivational drive to keep going when the going gets tough and challenges arise.

The plain fact is that the quality and intensity of our goals directly affect the results we get. One of the fundamental premises of goal-setting theory is that clear, specific and challenging goals have a far greater positive impact on our performance compared to weak and unspecific goals. Once you set a specific goal, you immediately apply purpose and significance to what would have been an otherwise vague or elusive objective.

An example of a specific goal would be “making extra R10, 000 over the next 90 days”, while an example of a weak goal would be “try my best to make some extra cash over the next few months”? While the overriding objective of both goals is to earn extra income over time, the fact that they are structured quite differently has a remarkable impact on effort, performance and likelihood of success.

Setting the right goals

Firstly, the second goal is too vague and does not provide a clear means of evaluating progress. You basically have no means of knowing if you have achieved your objective or even when you have, and consequently, your effort will be weak and inadequate. With the first goal, however, because the objective is clear and specific and the time frame is definite, your brain immediately switches into solution mode and begins to think of possible ways of achieving this objective. Your mind immediately hones in on this specific objective and begins to seek out possible solutions and alternatives. Furthermore, with the first goal, it is far easier to measure your progress and one of the ways to do this is to have milestones and evaluate your progress on a weekly basis. With this feedback mechanism, you are able to see how closer you are to your goal, what’s working, what’s not working, what you need to change and what you need to do more of.

Secondly, because the second goal is not precise, it allows for a wide range of possible results as opposed to one specific outcome. As the second goal allows for a range of possible outcomes (in other words, you can make anything from R0 to R1 million, and more), your mind will not be able to focus explicitly on a singular objective, thus making your level of effort and performance non-specific and varied. However, with the first objective, there is a target and time frame and consequently, your level of focus and performance increases. In addition, because the objective of the first goal is specific, i.e. R10, 000, you achieve two things – you immediately have an idea of the extent of effort to apply and it becomes easier to figure out what actions will achieve this particular outcome.

Therefore, for a goal to be effective the objective must be specific and there must be a definite time-frame attached to when the objective will be achieved. By applying a deadline to a goal, not only do we work at a faster pace to achieve the goal, but we become capable of applying prolonged effort until the goal is achieved.   Furthermore, the goal must provide a feedback mechanism that allows you to measure your progress and this is achieved by applying deadlines and milestones to your goals.

Achieving results

Having a powerful, specific and compelling goal always makes the difference between success and failure. Once you truly know what you want, how you want it, when you want it and how you will go about getting it, you immediately tap into a powerful side of your subconscious and amazing things begin to happen.

While the specificity of a goal is important, the most important factor by far for successfully achieving any goal is belief. We must believe that our goal can be achieved and this is especially crucial when we have ambitious and aspirational goals. It is our belief that will pull us through when things get tough. It is our belief that will keep us committed to the end. It is belief that will keep us resilient. Remember, the most successful people in the world are not necessarily the smartest. Rather, the most successful people in the world are usually those who are not “smart enough to know when to give up on their goals.”  Think about it.

Femi Adebanji is the director of the Mind-Advance Institute and a sought-after speaker and motivator. As a performance consultant he works with individuals and companies to design plans of action to realise their potential, achieve their goals, become more effective and maximise performance. He holds a Masters degree in Financial Economics and an Honors degree in Economics. For more information visit the Mind Advance website.

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The Alfa Romeo Stelvio – More Than An SUV

The All-New Alfa Romeo Stelvio draws inspiration from the legendary mountain pass linking Italy to Switzerland, with 48 hairpins in quick succession.

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The All-New Alfa Romeo Stelvio draws inspiration from the legendary mountain pass linking Italy to Switzerland, with 48 hairpins in quick succession. The Stelvio pass is widely seen as one of the most beautiful and engaging roads on the planet.

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Setting & Achieving Goals

What You Put In Is What You Get Out – Create Your Own Success

The secret to curating a successful life starts with what you put in.

Allon Raiz

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You are what you eat, the saying goes. Your physical and even mental health are highly dependent on what you eat (or consume) daily. There are four fundamental factors of a system:  Input, boundaries, purpose and output. All systems are mostly defined by the combination of these four factors.

A professional athlete will be very diligent about what they consume in order to achieve the best possible outcome, and sprinters will have different guides and regimes to marathon runners. Essentially, high performing athletes curate their input, or design their own lives, to produce a favourable output.

The same is true of the high-performance entrepreneur — they too should be curating their input, not just in terms of what they consume through their mouths but more importantly, what they consume with their ears and eyes.

Related: For Shatty Mashego Success Lies In Maintaining A Positive Mindset

Positive inputs

A few years ago, I began to recognise that even though I might wake up in a good space in the morning, by 10am I would be feeling negative regardless of my daily practices. I had already established the discipline of recording and recognising my successes daily, as well as repeating daily affirmations and visualisations, yet within a few hours of starting my day, I found myself in a negative space.

I couldn’t figure out what was causing this; but after some analysis I realised that my daily routine included listening to talk radio on the way to work, catching up with the news on Twitter before my first meeting, and reading the morning paper which was neatly laid out on my desk. It quickly became clear that my negativity could be attributed to my over-consumption of bad news.

Each communication platform — from Twitter to the radio — has the power to depress anyone who consumes its news, but the combination of all three was toxic to me. It affected my mood, concentration and, invariably, my output. In a single decision, I eliminated these three platforms from my daily ‘diet’ and instead curated a different morning experience to see whether it would change the output. Instead of the radio, I decided to listen to either music or an audiobook; instead of Twitter, I decided to call a friend; and I didn’t renew my newspaper subscription.

The results were instantaneous. This experiment set me on a mission to see what else I could deliberately curate and design, so I began to strategically design my life to inform the successful and positive output that I desired. I subscribed to online newsletters that were informative and thought-provoking, such as Brain Food by Shane Parish; I cajoled my management team to begin listening to audiobooks at the same time that I was doing so to ensure that we included positive discussions in our bi-monthly meetings; and I ensured that there were always three litres of water in my immediate surrounds to encourage a healthier lifestyle.

Create your own success

In case you haven’t experienced the lightbulb moment yet, the simple explanation is this: All systems have inputs and outputs, and the quality of the input results in the quality of the output.

If you see yourself as the curator of your input and as the architect of your environment, you can start to create the inputs, set the boundaries and define purposes to result in the output that commands entrepreneurial success.

Related: Daily Practices for Cultivating a Positive Work Culture to Support Your Business

If something really affects the quality of your life — whether it’s your attitude, your mood or the clarity of your thought processes — it’s time to relook the design and start to curate an environment that is conducive to your success.

And, if you’re concerned about missing out on what’s happening, always remember that, if a news report or update has a direct impact on your life, the chances are high that you will hear it through your friends and family.

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Setting & Achieving Goals

Follow These 8 Steps To Stay Focused And Reach Your Goals

Decrease the amount of noise in your head.

Nina Zipkin

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Accomplishing a goal can be hard work. But even if a project is something you are passionate about and want to complete, distractions such as social media, doubts and other tasks can make it nearly impossible to concentrate on it. Don’t fret. We’re here to help.

Check out these eight steps to help you prioritise and clear your mind.

1. Stop multitasking

Instead of trying to do a million things at once, take a step back and tackle one task at a time. And while your inclination might be to start your day with busy work – like checking emails – and then move onto to the harder things, you should try to get your brain moving by challenging yourself with with a bigger, more creative endeavor first thing.

Related: Goal Setting Guide

2. Block out your days

A good way to hold yourself accountable when it comes to quieting the noise all around you is to specifically block out time in your day – maybe it’s 30 minutes or an hour – to spend on a given project.

Colour code your calendar or set a timer to make sure you are accomplishing the goal at hand.

3. Get your blood pumping

going-for-a-walk

You can’t focus if your are stuck inside and staring at a screen all day long. Turn off your computer and phone, and go for a walk for 20 minutes. The fresh air and the movement will clear your head. Also make sure that you are drinking enough water and getting enough rest.

4. Help your technology help you

A platform like RescueTime, a software that runs while you work and shows you how you are spending your day, could help you understand why something is taking longer to complete than it should. Options like Cold TurkeyFreedom and Self Control block out the internet entirely to keep you off your Twitter feed when you should be meeting deadlines.

5. Meditate

Get a recommendation for a yoga or meditation class, or even make it an office outing so everyone get some time to quiet their minds. Or look online for a plethora of apps and platforms whose stock and trade is mindfulness, like Meditation Made SimpleCalm and Headspace.

For slightly more of a monetary investment, you could look into wearable tech like Thync, a device that produces electrical pulses to help your brain decrease stress.

Related: The Tim Ferriss Approach to Setting Goals: Rig the Game so You Win

6. Change up what’s in your headphones

headphones

While background noise might help block out a loud office or construction outside your window, you need to be careful that what you are listening to isn’t distracting you more.

Music with lyrics can sap your focus from the task in front of you, so consider trying classical or electronic music instead. Or use a playlist that is familiar to you, so you aren’t tempted to turn all your attention to the new sound.

7. Streamline your communication

If you find that all of your focus gets trained on getting your inbox down to zero, think about how you can get yourself out from under a relentless deluge of email. Ask yourself and your colleagues to think about whether this conversation would be most effective through email, on the phone or in person.

Taking five minutes to walk over to someone else’s workspace will save you the time and energy invested into a redundant email chain and clarify how you want to attack a problem more quickly.

Related: 7 Steps To Achieving Our Higher-Level Goals

8. Find an environment with the right kind of noise

To be the most effective, you need to strike a delicate balance between too much noise and total silence. According to David Burkus, an associate professor of leadership and innovation at Oral Roberts University, “some level of office banter in the background might actually benefit our ability to do creative tasks, provided we don’t get drawn into the conversation,” Burkus wrote in the Harvard Business Review.

“Instead of total silence, the ideal work environment for creative work has a little bit of background noise. That’s why you might focus really well in a noisy coffee shop, but barely be able to concentrate in a noisy office.”

This article was originally posted here on Entrepreneur.com.

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