My burning question for decades is this: “Why aren’t we taught how to set and achieve goals in school?” Think about it, being proficient at goal setting and goal achieving is essential to feeling good and fulfilling one’s human potential. Even better, goals add excitement, direction and are at the basis of every achievement in life. Goals enable you to do the work you want to do, live where you want to live, be with the people you enjoy, and become the person you want to be; in other words, live the life of your dreams.
Unfortunately estimates show that only 3% of people write their goals down and less than 1%actually review, update and rewrite their goals on a regular basis. The potential of reaching, and quite possibly exceeding a goal, starts by writing it down. The very act of writing a goal is so powerful. Think of it as though you are carving your desire into the Universe. A side benefit from writing is that it causes thinking. As you write, you’ll find you become clearer on what it is that you actually desire. Thinking about a goal isn’t enough; it must be written.
If goal setting and achieving are so fundamental to experiencing wonderful things, people, circumstances and events in life, then you might wonder why is it that so few people set goals? I think there are five basic reasons.
1. Half-hearted Approach.
Whenever I speak to a person who has achieved something spectacular, I find out that the achievement occurred after they decided to “get serious.” In their mind, they “burned their bridges” and ‘completely focused’ on what they wanted. In other words, until you become completely determined about your goals, put your full commitment towards them; nothing really happens.
2. They Don’t Understand.
They don’t understand the importance or value of setting a goal. People who start setting goals very early in life usually come from goal-setting families. Theimportance of setting goals is stressed from the beginning and it becomes a habit.
3. They Don’t Know How.
Incredible as it seems, a person can go through 15 to 18 years of education and never once receive a single hour of instruction on how to set goals. This tragically is a worldwide phenomenon. Because goal setting isn’t taught in school, many people go on to think it’s not important or even imagine there is a process that can be learned.
4. Fear of Criticism.
Fear is the number one reason why people remain stuck. How many times have you seen an unhappy or dissatisfied person allow the fear of rejection or criticism to stop them from even setting a goal ? They’ve given up before they got started. Many people don’t set worthwhile goals because they have found that every time they did set a goal, someone told them they couldn’t possibly achieve it.
5. Fear of failure — and this may be the most important reason of all.
Most people who don’t set goals allow the fear of failure to stop them. It has been said that the fear of failure is the greatest obstacle to success. This fear is a major psychological barrier to trying.
Overcoming these obstacles and setting well-defined goals will enable you to focus your efforts and energy toward something that’s important to you. Goal setting gives you a target to aim towards and develops self-discipline. Keep the end result in mind and focus on the next step rather than becoming distracted and going off in other directions.
Let me share with you five keys that will help you do that by using the acronym of “SCORE”. Each of these keys starts with one of the letters in the word “SCORE”. Whenever you find yourself getting off the track, simply repeat the word “SCORE” and think about how each letter stands for a key that just might apply to your current situation.
The first letter is S and it stands for “Start”.
Set a big, juicy smart goal that excites and scares you; then get started by looking for the first step you can take right now to move yourself towards your goal. Many times the only difference between success and failure is simply taking action. Just start where you are now, do something to begin moving towards your goal.
The second letter, C, stands for “Commitment”.
Commit to taking action each day on your goal. Write down each night 3 to 6 actions you will take the next day to move closer to your goal. Take those actions first things in the morning without delay.
The third letter is O and it is for “Opportunity”.
Successful people don’t wait for opportunities to turn their goals into reality; they make them. They take responsibility for their actions and the life they wish to create. Once you have taken the time to decide exactly what you want, you will experience an endless flow of opportunities that will help move you in that direction.
The letter R stands for “Review & Rewrite”.
Once you are in action moving towards a goal, do a monthly review of what’s working, what’s not working and what’s missing. Quit doing what’s not working and bring in what’s missing. Reaffirm your commitment to your goal by rewriting it. Celebrating the steps you’ve taken and the knowledge you’ve gained in the process will increase the speed at which you move ahead.
The letter E stands for “Enthusiasm”.
Everything you accomplish begins with a decision. Decide to approach each day with enthusiasm. Enthusiasm is aroused by 2 things:
1) An ideal–an idea that you are in love with—that takes your imagination by storm, and
2) a plan for carrying that idea into practice. Your attitude will determine whether or not you reach your goal. Be excited and enthusiastic while you are working on your goal. Know that it is yours.
You will come across obstacles in the pursuit of your goal. These obstacles are actually gifts for us to discover more about ourselves and to bring those gifts to the surface. Understand that the bigger the goal — the bigger the obstacles. These are bigger opportunities to grow. It’s not so much that you reach your goal, but what you become in the process of attaining the goal.