Setting goals is one of the surest ways of achieving any success. Goal setting is a skill which all successful people have honed and learnt to utilize in their daily set of competencies that propel them towards continuous success.
I have not come across a successful person who did not know how to set goals. They have made it a natural, innate and instinctive part of their habits. They know how to break it down from a simple “Want to have” to the details of the actions to take on hour to hour basis. They then drill and focus on what needs to be done towards achieving the smaller steps that advance them towards sub goals (or milestones) and ultimately towards the definitive goal.
Goal setting is not just important, but crucial to fast-track your success in anything you do. No success can be underpinned without a meticulous, detailed and thorough goal setting process, failure to which you plan to fail!.
Goal setting can be as short as writing them down on your diary at the beginning of the Year, Quarter or Month or as elaborate as a full business plan with time-sheets, expenses, income etc. This will help you remember what you want to achieve, amongst other goals in various spheres of your life. One of my best reading on how to achieve goals in life is “Goals” by Brian Tracy. I highly recommend that you get yourself a copy to learn more about Goals in life, not just in property investment.
One of my key moments in the Goal Setting process was when I learnt about the quality of Goals that we set. It is easy to have a wish for what you want to achieve, but it is something else to have a burning desire and clear goal. This is a continuum that can be thought of starting from a mere wish to a passionate obsession “to have” or “attain”.
In one of my greatest reads (in fact audio) is by Wyne Dyer and Deepak Chopra that outlines these steps in a title of their book entitled “How to get what you Really, Really, Really, Really Want”. The Continuum is made up of four steps:
- Wishing – Some sort of longing, wanting, or just a thought. Most people will wish that they have a car, property, holiday etc. For instance with property, they know that this is a vehicle for wealth creation, but it ends there. This is what is commonly regarded as wishful thinking.
They wish they had a second property to lease out; a few more that could give them passive income. In fact, the largest part of middle class population will know that property is a great ‘investment’ and that a sizeable property portfolio can guarantee you a great future income as well as a retirement plan.
However, if not pursued further, it remains wishful thinking and will not materialize no matter what.
- Desiring – This is a notch higher than Wishing. The primary difference is that at this level, you are willing to ask. You more or less know what your aspirations are and the craving for achieving success has grown immensely as to ask.
Asking takes different forms. In most cases, you look for books, courses, seminars and any information that you would use to actualize your dream. If you are reading this article, it is most likely that you are in this stage. A stage where you are not afraid to ask for help from people who have walked the journey before.
- Intention –At this level, the commitment is deeper and more profound. You do not only wish or desire, but internally you have devoted yourself to attaining a result.
Intention is a very internal and self-searching. Two schools of thought come at this stage in how we demonstrate our intention.
One is where intention is kept to oneself without informing the public or those around you. The argument here is that the minute you broadcast your intentions, then the ego sets in. Then you will need to do everything to protect the ego; your desires and intentions don’t belong to you anymore, but to the public. However, if you keep your intentions to yourself, as Wyne Dyer puts it, you execute them “regardless of the good opinion of other people”.
The second one is where you let people around you know what your intentions are. In most cases, these would probably be people who are close to you, people willing to support you in your goals and those that have your good intentions at heart. The contention here is that such people will keep reminding you and helping you to keep a good track of your wishes, desires and goals and support you when in need.
Both ways, intention gives your wishes and desires a meaning, purpose and aim.
- Passion – At this level of Goal setting, you are not wishing, not yearning but you know beyond reasonable doubt that you can achieve what you set yourself to achieve.
Passion is the obsession and enthusiasm that makes you wake up early in the morning, and go to bed late at night. It is the zeal, delight and fervour of living something that has a higher meaning that just doing.This is the level that success breeds success; a level where failure is not an option and there is a knowingness from deep within that success is inevitable. Passion is what drives you to keep going in the face of failure and discouragement. It helps you pick up the pieces when everyone thinks that you cannot recover. It ignites, stirs and kindles that flame during the deepest troughs of failure and discouragement.
Make no mistake, passion also requires skill and action. You can have this burning desire but with lack of a skill set to achieve these goals, then the process will be lengthy and expensive.
One of the most efficient ways of setting goals is to use the SMART criteria. This a universal and widely accepted ways of checking the quality of your goals. SMART is an acronym that stands for:
- Specific – Goals need to be very specific.
- Measurable – Your goals need to be measureable.
- Achievable – Goals set should be achievable and attainable.
- Realistic – Your goals need to be realistic and genuine
- Time-bound – Without a time-line, then you do not have a goal.
Use this criteria to set your goals and check them against these five parameters.
If they do not meet this criteria, re-check again and make sure that they become more aligned with these five principles. They are easy to remember and can be used quickly and efficiently to analyse the quality of your goals. Remember, most people set goals, but the difference with high achievers is the quality of goals that they set. It is important to keep checking the quality of your goals against the SMART criteria as very often, we fall into the habit of setting poor quality goals.