Setting Goals with Meaning

Setting goals is an important step as you head for the top. In your overall game plan, break this step down into a number of smaller steps. It doesn’t matter what your business is—or your profession, or your job, or whatever the top is you’re going for; the principles and strategies for setting goalsand achieving them are the same.

Where you're going...

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Whatever goal you set for yourself, you must consider it from a number of angles. Write your goals down then ask yourself these eight questions:

1. Have I clearly defined my goal? Have I spelled it out?

2. Is it a minor or a major goal? How important is it?

3. Is my goal a long range one, a short range one, or both?

4. Is it a realistic goal? Or is it wishful thinking?

5. Is it an achievable goal for me? Am I up to it?

6. As I strive to reach the goal, can I measure my progress so I can know if I’m winning?

7. Is my goal flexible so it can change when my needs change?

8. What sacrifices are required in time, energy and money?

Work through the eight questions to arrive at meaningful answers. You may come to the conclusion that the goal is a realistic one for you, attainable within either long or short term limits, and decide to go for it. Other times you may realize that the goal, which at first seemed worthwhile, is not, so set your sights on a different goal. If you’ve answered these eight questions to your satisfaction, particularly the one about defining your goal (“I want to be a department manager and in time the plant manager—a long range goal”), you must now break them down into a series of smaller objectives while keeping an eye on your main goal.

There are two important steps I have followed throughout my life to setting goals with meaning and to achieve them. They’re not new, but I’ve adapted them to fit my wants and needs in business and personal affairs:

Set objectives: Break your main goal into smaller ones then attain one objective before moving on to the next.

Get Real: Goals that are unrealistic, far out, or wishful thinking are hard—if not impossible to achieve. The one-step-at-a-time principle—small objectives along the way the way to the top, holds true for whatever major goal you desire in life.