Amazing insights, Brian Tracy’s style is inimitable, a must have for every reader’s shelf. Presenting an excerpt from the same.
There are seven keys to goal setting. These are general principles that apply to virtually every goal. When you find a person who is not achieving his or her goals, it is because of a deficiency in one of these seven key areas.
The first key is that goals must be clear, specific, detailed, and written down. A goal cannot be vague or general, like being happy or making more money. A goal must be specific, concrete, and tangible and something that you can clearly visualize and imagine in your mind.
The second key to goal setting is that goals must be measurable and objective. They must be capable of being analyzed and evaluated by a third party. “Making lots of money” is not a goal. It is merely a wish or fantasy that is common to everyone. Earning a specific amount of money within a specific period of time, on the other hand, is a real goal.
The third key is that goals must be time bounded, with schedules, deadlines, and subdeadlines. In fact, there are no unrealistic goals; there are merely unrealistic deadlines. Once you have set a clear schedule and deadline for your goal, you work toward achieving your goal by that time. If you don’t achieve the goal by that deadline, you set another deadline—and, if necessary, another—and work toward that until you finally succeed.
Throughout the world, many millions of people travel by air each year. Thousands of airplanes with hundreds of thousands of people crisscross the globe every day, touching down in almost every city and town. Air travel is a trillion dollar industry that affects us all. The success of the air travel industry, and the successful arrival of every passenger, is totally the result of systematic, computerized, automatic, national goal setting. When you take a trip, you have a specific city or goal in mind. You decide when you want to fly and how long it will take. You determine the distance to the airport and the time necessary to check in. You calculate how long it will take to fly to your destination and then how long it will take to get to where you are going once you get off the plane. You set a specific schedule for every part of your journey.
Hundreds of millions of people do this every year. They successfully travel from where they are to where they want to go with incredible precision and punctuality. This is goal setting on a mass level. And the same process will work for you on a personal level.
The fourth key to goal setting is that your goals must be challenging. They must cause you to stretch a little bit. They must be beyond anything you have accomplished in the past. Your goals should have about a 50 percent probability of success. This makes the process of striving toward the goals slightly stressful, but forcing yourself to stretch also brings out many of your best qualities.
The fifth key is that your goals must be congruent with your values and in harmony with each other. You cannot have goals that are mutually contradictory. I have met people who want to be successful in business but also want to play golf every afternoon. It is clearly not possible to realize both of these goals at the same time.
The sixth key is that your goals must be balanced among your career or business, your financial life, your family, your health, your spiritual life, and your community involvement. Just as a wheel must be balanced to revolve smoothly, your life must be balanced with goals in each area for you to be happy and fulfilled.
The seventh key is that you must have a major definite purpose for your life. You must have one goal that, if you accomplish it, can do more to help you improve your life than any other single goal.
Your life begins to become great only when you decide upon a major definite purpose and focus all of your energies
on achieving or obtaining that one single goal. Surprisingly enough, you will find yourself achieving many of your other, smaller goals as you move toward achieving your major goal. But you must have a major definite purpose for your life. In addition to the seven keys to achieving any goal, you must also have a method for goal setting and achieving that you can apply to any goal for the rest of your life.
You may know the story of the boy who so relentlessly looks on the bright side that he’s thrilled to receive a gift box filled with manure. As he cheerfully points out, a box of manure means that “there must be a pony!”
But most of the rest of us find it hard to hold on to optimism while looking at boxes filled with company plans for restructuring, delayering, reorganizing, outsourcing, mergers, spinoffs, and more. It’s tough to be an optimist while working longer hours at pay levels that do not keep up with living costs. Where’s “the pony” in reduced career opportunities, job insecurity, and ever-increasing demands by employers?
And yet, these are exciting times. There has never been a greater need for employees at all levels to be fully competent and motivated. Global competition, rapidly changing technology, and raised customer expectations are demanding more of organizations and their people. It is clear that the successful company of the future will have a sound strategy for development of competent human resources who are committed to the goals of the company.
So it is possible to be an optimist. We can take actions to improve our working lives. We can fight against feelings of helplessness and lack of control. We do have influence and control. By learning about your competencies, and by enhancing and developing them, you can take control of several extremely important parts of your work life: everyday job performance; relationships with co-workers, with bosses, and with subordinates; and preparedness for other roles and careers.