The following are some thoughts on goal setting from Mario Giganti (my brother). He runs a very successful financial advisory firm in Northern Ohio and I believe his ‘true’ calling is coaching people. I may even talk him into starting his own blog! Some really great thoughts….enjoy.
How does one set a goal and actually work to accomplish it? This time of year, many of us set goals that we plan to achieve over the next year. Things like lose weight, go to Church more often, increase profit, sales or customers, etc.
Ready, set go – we are all too eager to just jump in. We do jump in, but then realize the water is too cold or the distance too far and, one thing leads to another and we just stop. I read a quote once, “3% of all adults have written goals…. And they earn more than the other 97% put together”. In that same book, it said something to the effect that only 4% of goals are accomplished if they are not written down vs. 44% (1100 times more likely) achieve their goals if they are written down. People with written goals succeed because they know where they are going.
So, why do we not achieve success in reaching our goals? I believe it comes down to a couple of key components:
1. We have too many things (hopes and wishes) we want to do (not goals), so the real goals don’t seem meaningful.
2. Our goals are typically long term (even losing 20 lbs can take months) – we lose focus when we don’t see the immediate, tangible results that we have in mind.
You can only fit so many big rocks into a jar. The rest can be filled with small rocks, sand and dirt. You can truly only have a few (count on both hands) big goals or areas of focus. You must ask yourself, “Is this really what I want to work at day in and day out and, in the end, will it be worth it?” Speaking from experience, only the big rocks get priority.
What does all this mean to you? In a word: Discipline and Planning! Take a moment to write down your goals or what you wish to accomplish in the next year. Next, jot a few notes or sentences about what it will take to accomplish each. Next, cross off the ones that don’t seem important or won’t motivate you.
Grab the 5-10 that are most important and write them down separately. Write down a vision statement or what it will look like when you accomplish it, how it will feel – what it will do for you or your family. Now is the hard part: How long do you expect this to take? What steps can you start taking to accomplish your goal? Are there intermediate goals that you can achieve that will move you on your way to success? What do these look like?
Your goal of losing 20 lbs may be easy or hard. The more you breakdown this goal into smaller steps, the easier it will be to achieve and the more meaningful each day will be. You may say this will take 3 months, so break that down into each month – say, 7 lbs, 7lbs, 6lbs over January, February, March. Now break down into 4 week periods – now that is just over a 1-2 lbs per week – a much more attainable short term result that can be measured and modified along the way. Now, here’s a trick – you need to eat right and exercise – focus during the week on achieving each of these goals – write down what you plan to eat or how many calories and how much you plan to exercise and what exercises. During each day or at night after dinner – write down what you did and compare. Even though your goal is to lose weight – focus on the activities that will lose the weight, not the weight loss itself. This creates the habits necessary to accomplish the smaller and larger goals.
Now you’ve achieved your goal – what will it take to maintain it – now that is your challenge. This is why creating the habit is critical to not only achieving but maintaining your success!