How to set goals correctly in order to achieve them

Goal-setting and goal-setting are two completely different processes. Even a perfectly set goal may not be achieved. However, setting your goal correctly can bring you a lot closer to success. What should you remember when setting a goal and – most importantly – hoping to achieve it?

Not everything that society offers is right for you

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  1. Setting goals and achieving them is fashionable today. Purposeful ones are in trend. So the first thing to figure out is whether you really need to set a goal for yourself or are you just following social fashion.
  2. If the goal seems to you really important and necessary, you should think about whether this goal is “yours”. Society imposes many goals, desires and needs. But unfortunately, goals imposed from the outside tend not to be realized. And even if they are achieved, they do not bring any satisfaction.

You might be interested in: “Look at reality and be aware of it”: Indian sage Sadhguru on the dangers of positive thinking

Intention is always equal to result

  1. In practical psychology, there is an interesting and extremely effective formula: “Intention is equal to the result.” However, this formula should be read “on the contrary”: if you want to understand what kind of intention you had, look at the result. What you got in the end is what you really aspired to.

The girl sets herself the goal of “becoming slim”, but after a couple of months she discovers that she has gained extra pounds. Was that what she wanted? Of course not. However, subconsciously, she strove for just this. No, not an extra kilo. It’s just that something is hiding behind them. For example, fear of being attractive in the eyes of the opposite sex, disbelief in oneself, or even aesthetic preferences. Perhaps, deep down, she admires the rounded shapes of the ancient Greek goddesses or identifies herself with the beautiful Danae, such as Rembrandt or Klimt saw her.

Danae (painting by Rembrandt)
Danae (painting by Rembrandt)
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Is it rational or chaotic?

  1. Conventionally, people are divided into those who rationally organize their lives, and those who prefer chaos. Modern concepts of goal-setting are mainly designed for “rationalists” – these are the kind of employees that would be welcomed in the typical office kingdom. But for a “chaotic” all these concepts are an empty phrase and, moreover, a sure way to stress and breakdown. If you love spontaneity, creativity, artistic clutter, try not to set goals “by the rules.” An example of such rules is the SMART task system. A true “chaotic” can master it, but all the “correctly set” goals will remain on paper. Don’t be afraid of chaos! Galaxies are born only out of chaos.

Personally, I am a pronounced “chaotic”. But before I realized this, for many years I diligently mastered classical time management and the “correct” methods that would allow me to organize all my affairs (SMART tasks, TO DO lists, Life Balance Wheel, etc.). It did not provoke anything but resistance. I blamed myself for lack of willpower and tried even harder, driving myself into stress. Especially a lot of energy was consumed by things that I did in vain – they could not have been done, or in reality they were not interesting to me. The results from all of this were to negligible. When psychology entered my life, I allowed the creative mess to return to my desk, to my drawers and papers … Thanks to this, the number of tasks completed per day increased by about 40%.

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Positive is good, but doesn’t always work

  1. Emotions are a true ally when setting goals. If you have formulated your goal correctly, it will evoke vivid emotions in you – inspiration, elation, anticipation, excitement. You will definitely want to smile. True, this applies only to the so-called “positive” formulations.
  2. The positive wording is the “K” goal. In coaching and some psychological directions, you can find insistent recommendations to set goals this way: not to think “From” what you want to leave, but think about what “To” you want to come. And again, here we are faced with the fact that the individual characteristics of a person are ignored. There are people who have a predominantly avoidance orientation. And it is almost impossible to change this fact. And it is not necessary. In terms of actual results, avoidance may be even more effective than “achieving.”

I have been working with the topic of fear of public speaking for many years. Almost all of my clients who were able to overcome this fear had one thing in common: none of them wanted to be a wonderful, bright orator who would masterly attract and hold the attention of the audience. But they all really wanted to get rid of that feeling of awkwardness, discomfort, insecurity, constraint during performances, which poisoned their lives. Their motivation “From” really brought them to the result.

Not everyone is attracted by the ghostly prospect. Sometimes it is not the “bright future” that leads us to active actions, but the “dark present” – something real, unpleasant, but tangible. Health is a universal value. But while it is there, you don’t notice it, and the goal “to be healthy in the future” may not inspire. At the same time, health problems can motivate a person to take decisive action. The goal will not be “to get healthy”, but “to avoid health problems.” Yes, this is not a completely correct formulation, but if it is precisely this goal setting that drives you, do not abandon it just for the sake of fashion. Life shows that running away from a dog sometimes turns out faster than running up to the fence.

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In my practice, there was a case when a woman could not overcome the fear of airplanes. Oh, how familiar it was to me! Motivation “From” helped me, so did my client. When she tried to visualize what she would see, deciding to fly, it did not inspire her at all. But the thought that she would forever get bogged down in gray everyday life and a dull city landscape, very sharply spurred her to the goal – to overcome the fear of flying.

There was a moment in my own life when I was afraid to leave the education system, in which I had successfully worked for 12 years, into nowhere. I didn’t have a “K” motivation. There was no understanding where I want to go, why, for what. I didn’t know what I wanted to do, what profession to get, to whom to retrain. But I very strongly felt “From” what I want to leave. For all my love for education, I felt that for me personally, this is the comfort zone that stifles any attempts to grow and develop. I walked away from this, not towards something. It was a blind leap of faith, eyes closed, and the best decision I have ever made in my life.

The devil is in the details

  1. When setting a goal, don’t get carried away with details. You still won’t be able to calculate all the options and see all the possibilities. Focus on the end result, not the path you will follow. The universe is bound to have an optimal plan. And very often this is a plan that you could not even imagine. Do not prevent the Universe from helping you – pay attention to those doors that “suddenly” begin to open around you.
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Perhaps you are familiar with the following stories: a girl “thought” of a man for herself, having thought through all the “details” (age, height, weight, eye color, profession, social status, brand of his car) and even got what she wanted, but … it turned out that she did not take into account some annoying nuance or (more likely) did not get the feeling of “female happiness”. Most likely, because of the trees, she did not see the forest and missed the man with whom she could be happy. When setting a goal, be sure to generate within yourself the emotional state that you want to experience when achieving the goal.

Achievement teleport hasn’t been invented yet!

  1. The goal is important to practice every day. Let it be a little, for 10-15 minutes, but you definitely need to do something in the direction of the goal. Not everyone is inspired by this approach! But there is a perfect image that will help you believe that it really works. Have you ever embroidered, laid out a diamond mosaic, or painted a painting by numbers? If you do a few stitches every day, lay out quite a few beads, paint a few centimeters, as a result, you will definitely have a finished work on your hands! Yes, yes, no one has canceled the principle that an elephant can only be eaten in parts. The path can only be traversed with steps.

Even procrastination has benefits.

  1. Start a tracker, place a “reminder” in a conspicuous place. It may not always be possible to “check the box”. But this will allow you to constantly keep the goal in your field of vision.
  2. Watch yourself and your resistance. If the tracker and daily small steps start to annoy you, perhaps you are still not going towards “your” goal. Laziness and procrastination do not always indicate weak volitional qualities. Very often they signal that you are not doing what you want, and not what you really need.
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There is probably no right and only right way to set a goal for yourself. Therefore, to answer the question “How to set goals correctly in order to achieve them?” you can do this: with knowledge of Himself and respect for Himself.

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