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The Goal Setting Paradigm

As we look back on our goals for the last six months and where we wanted to be at this point, how did you do? If you’re like most, you most likely completed 50% of your goals at best. However, it must be said that getting derailed along the journey to our success is, sadly, more common than not.

So, how do you stay on track and avoid all the disappointment, self-blame, and diminishing confidence to finish out the year?

A vision of their future always inspires successful business leaders and entrepreneurs. The freedom that we have as leaders to create our future is a great opportunity and gift. To design a future that aligns with our values, beliefs, and most of all, our passion is unique to who we are as leaders and is a critical ingredient in our success.

As my mentor has reminded me on many occasions,

“there is no such thing as completing your goals.”

As leaders, as long as we are growing and learning, we will always keep adopting new goals that stretch us outside our comfort zone.  

So, as you look at your goals and set new goals for the remainder of the year, I want you to think about the goals setting process a little different.

  • First - think about the goal you are about to set. Engage your imagination to create a bigger future than where you are currently are. You have to be willing to go there, to create a vision of a key area of your future that you want to grow, develop, an accomplish. You must also believe that it’s possible, no matter where you are in life. As you imagine your bigger future write down what your future looks like by accomplishing this goal. Studies show that leaders who write down their goals are even more likely to have success getting to where they want to be. There’s a brain to hand connection that comes into play—and, no, the digital route doesn’t achieve the same effect! Goals are about articulating your desires and telling yourself where you’re headed. It’s essential to use the right words to specify what you want and to write them down. This goal-setting process allows you to create the kind of future you want.

  • Second - set a realistic time frame. Once you have a clear vision of the goal that you want to accomplish, your mind needs a deadline to take it seriously. The time frame is critical. There’s no such thing as an unrealistic goal, only an unrealistic deadline.

  • Third – Now, this is where our approach to setting goals gets a little different. Generally, at this point and time, we start writing everything that we need to do to accomplish the goals. However, what we don’t look at is the obstacles that prevent us in the first place from ever reaching our goal. So, at this point, write down all the obstacles that are currently preventing you from achieving that desired future result, in allowing you to obtain your goal. Then prioritize the obstacles that you will face.

  • Finally, evaluate each obstacle and transform it into the action step required to achieve your goal. Many leaders want to skip this step of negativity by not looking at the obstacles they face. However, the obstacles to your goal are unique to your vision and extremely useful. They’re there for you to use as the raw material for creating solutions and growing as you move toward your goal.

As you look at your goal, breaking it down into four parts:

  1. Vision

  2. Opposition

  3. Transformation

  4. Action

This process will help you be more successful in achieving your goals for the remainder of the year.

Arthur M. May AIA Assoc. President


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