Purpose and Time Frames are Critical for Realistic Goals
If we are to avoid having a loss of purpose, control our thinking and keep our thoughts focused on our goals then there are some principles of goal-setting we should recognize in every area of life.
There are three distinct types of goals. Short, intermediate, long range. A short-range goal is a goal that can be accomplished within a day or a few days, perhaps even a week. When it comes to long-range goals, it’s fair to say an average range is probably one year. Some people have the capability of setting goals three or five years in advance and there are those rare individuals who set goals over 10-15-20year periods – we call them men and women of vision. But most of us, when we first start out employing these principles, must confine ourselves to a reasonable time period of one year/ eighteen months at most.
Between the short-range and long-range goals, we have intermediate range goals – leading like stairs – one foot in front of the other.
If it is to be a goal, there is another principle we must observe – and that is the need to have time limits.
If there is no time limit, it is not a goal – it is just something we hope to accomplish or do some day; it’s not a goal! A time limit in goal setting is not to put us under any type of pressure, but to tell that how fast it must work, and it works automatically.
Our Automatic Success Mechanism is that which tells us internally which way to direct our thinking in relation to our goals. Whether our mind can in fact get easily comfortable and automatic in how it thinks and acts in relation to something.
For example, if someone gave me a 2kg barbell, and challenged me to lift it I wouldn’t have to consciously think about the muscles necessary to lift such a relatively light weight. My mind, recognizing that it was 2kgs, would bring into play the muscles required naturally. By the same token, if someone brought out 10kgs – I wouldn’t have to consciously think about each muscle necessary for the additional weight – my mind automatically recognizing the problem, the challenge, would bring those necessary muscles into play naturally.
The same thing is true with our goals – that’s the reason we must have time limits. If I want to be someone who finds it easy to successfully network with strangers, then as a shy introvert, I may need to work on my ability to naturally and automatically get comfortable with having conversations with new people I meet. I may need a few months – a deadline imposed by myself as part of a goal or an event for which I need to be ready by a specific date – to learn skills, practice my ability to apply these, and get to a point of being relaxed and comfortable with this new skill.
Regardless of whether or not we are talking about short, intermediate or long-range goals, if they are to be attained, they must also be:
Personal – your own goal, not that of someone else. For example – just because your mum wants to see you on the red carpet or in the Governors Mansion does not mean you do. Set your own goals.
Realistic – you may wish you could play a symphony, but if you’re tone deaf and would never be able to learn to play an instrument for any reason, then a more realistic goal is required.
Require Behavioral Change – if you’re scared of heights, but want to be a Hollywood stunt actor, then some ability to become comfortable on the edge of the balcony is needed. If you’re a very shy person, and want to be a great sales person, then you’re going to need to learn how to communicate well.
Specific and Written Down – you must be clear, to the point, and write these down. For example, ‘a dream of building a new home is only ever going to be a dream unless you commit some planning to paper’. This is the same for all areas of your life. A dream to win an Academy Award is only a dream unless you write it down, identify how you’re going to do that – either as an actor, script writer, director, costume designer etc – and many of the steps along the way required, such as learning your craft, moving to the appropriate city, starting with bit parts etc.
Take time to focus on your goals, work out what they are, and then set some plans in motion towards making these become reality.