Saturday, 16 February 2013

Power Goal Setting

The SMART model is recognised as a standard way of structuring successful personal and professional goals and many of us are familiar with the idea of goals being specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and time bound.

However, in many cases goals only focus on WHAT we want to achieve, simply defining the final objective or outcome.

While this can be effective it often leaves out the powerful motivational (or ‘motive in action) energy that drives us to reach outside our comfort zone and really make lasting change.

Powering a goal with an emotional reason or benefit really ramps up the possibility of our achieving the goal because we clearly understand the compelling benefit to us in making it happen.

A better way to structure goals would be to ask ourselves the following questions:

1.              WHAT is the greatest challenge facing me right now or what one thing could I do such that if I do it – it would affect the greatest amount of change for me?

2.    WHY is that important to me…what will I have that I don’t have now when I make this happen?

The first question helps us to identify the most important thing that needs doing, while the second question helps us identify the personal motivation behind the goal – what we really get when the goal is accomplished.

Our chosen goal then has a WHAT and a WHY component – both a focus and a powerful reason for making it happen.

This then allow us to structure the goal in a slightly different but more powerful way using the structure ‘I want to ..our that I..our WHY’.

This is a well-structured, articulated and powerful goal.

For example let’s say that the WHAT part of a goal is that ‘I want to be more organised and in control of my time’. 

The next part is then to ensure that we find the reason WHY this of value to us.

This is what’s called ‘Toward’ motivation – or motive-in-action that drives our efforts and expectations ‘toward’ a successful outcome and the WHY is often personal and highly specific.

For example, in this goal the WHY might be to ‘get home earlier’ or ‘to feel more relaxed’ or ‘to have more personal time’ or ‘to feel more in control’ or ‘to have more choice’ – the WHY reason can be as varied as the person but it has a real, personal value for them which can be a powerful motivator.

A goal that has only a WHAT but no WHY is never as powerful as one that includes both.

Therefore a really successful and motivating goal would read as follows:

‘I want to be more organised and in control of my time - so that I can get home earlier every night’

Can you notice the difference between including the WHY as opposed to just saying ‘I want to be more in control of my time’?

By identifying and including a personal and specific reason for completing a goal and working it into the language of the goal then our success is assured along with a greater sense of self-esteem and confidence in our abilities to create the world in our own unique way.

All successful people take the time to set effective and well written goals, knowing that their lives and careers move from ‘mediocre to magnificent’ and from ‘success to significance’ when we engage with effective goal setting. 

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  1. Sean...I agree that "why" drives change much more that the what and I think there are different of "why" levels.

    In your example you could ask...why is getting home early every night so important?

    Perhaps the answer would be "to be a better parent".

    We can also ask "how would that make you feel?" and then we have helped create a connection between business results and a personal emotional benefit for the business owner.

    This is really powerful and will help the business owner achieve their goals.

  2. Thanks for taking the time to comment Malcolm and I completely agree with you...there is certainly an opportunity to explore the deeper 'Why' in this case ...however as I'm sure you'll agree the words 'blog' and 'brevity' are uttered with the same breath..!