Make the Goal Specific

Virtually all the studies and all the experts say the same thing – goals are more likely to be reached when the goal is defined clearly, with as much detail and specificity as possible.

If you thought your goal was “Lose weight“, this is your chance to clarify it to something like “I’m going to lose 10 pounds by October 30”. Getting specific in a way you can measure, with a specific date to reach the goal, will make a huge difference. I’ve included more specific goal examples at the end of this page.
Studies show over and over that vague, general goals are just not likely to be realized. There’s just too much evidence that your subconsious does some amazing things to find ways to reach a target when we focus our thoughts on a specific desired outcome. But in order to determine “yes, this is a good move” or “no – bad idea”, our subconscious has to know exactly and precisely what the target is.

That’s also why research shows that “best efforts” goals generally don’t work either (like, “I’m going to try to lose some weight”). That’s not to say you may not make some progress, but it’s not the optimal approach.
The optimal practice is to set a clear outcome and a specific deadline, then keep that in mind continually.
In one of my favorite books, “Keys to Success”, Napoleon Hill advocates having ‘definiteness of purpose’. Not approximate purpose. Definiteness.
This may sound simple, but it’s essential to get the importance of being as clear, specific and definite as possible about exactly what your goal is. Check out SMART Goals for some guidelines for putting clarity in your definition. Get specific about your goal, write it down, and use that as you begin to build your Action Plan in the next step.
Specific goal examples include:

  • Lose 15 pounds by June 1, 2012
  • Save $10,000 for a house down payment by Dec 31, 2012
  • Find and participate in at least one event at a charitable organization by the end of this month
Summary of key points:
1. Goal achievement increases significantly when the goal is clear and specific.
2. Virtually all experts agree on this point.
3. Being clear and specific helps you both track progress toward the goal, but also better visualize your outcome.