The Goals Secret

The Goals “secret” is the something that is frequently omitted from most articles and advice related to setting and achieving goals. Yet I think it may be the most critical piece of the achievement formula, and it’s more important now than ever before.

    Yet it’s rarely mentioned as the critical element.

It’s critical to set goals that are SMART. It’s essential that you are properly motivated to reach your goal. It’s important that you execute your plan. But none of these things are possible if you don’t execute this well.

 I’ve called it a “secret”, but it’s really not. I just knew your curiosity would make it likely you’d read this page, and it’s important that you get this. The key to achieving goals that makes the difference is:

Staying focused. Maintaining awareness of your goal, and the benefits it will bring you, consistently. To put it another way, in the words of the Stephen R. Covey:

“The main thing, is to keep the main thing, the main thing.”

Reminding yourself frequently about your goal, keeping it “top of mind” to insure that you do something every day to move you closer to it, is essential.
It is critical to make sure that no matter how busy you are and how full your daily agenda looks, you remember:

  • What the goal is, and what benefit(s) you will receive that motivated you to select the goal in the first place (e.g. how great it will feel when you’re out of debt and putting those credit card payments toward other things), and
  • At least one critical thing that you will do today to move yourself closer to your goal

There are many ways to do this and I’ll suggest a few that work for me, but the best way is whatever works for you.   My favorites are:

  • Planning every day the night before, and including at least one item which will move me closer to my goal.
  • Reviewing my daily plan at least twice a day. First thing in the morning, and again sometime midday, just to be sure I’m on track.
  • Set regular reminders in Google calendar to send text message reminders to my cell phone. Kind of a gentle tap on the shoulder to say “don’t forget about this”.
  • Index cards where they will be seen frequently, like your car dash, computer screen, bathroom mirror or night stand
  • Keep some form of a daily record. Some like a journal; I just use a Google Docs spreadsheet to record activity, since I can get to it from anywhere

The competition for our attention now is greater than ever.   Work, family, TV, internet, email, voice mail, cell phones, instant messaging…. the list goes on and on.   And research has consistently shown that we don’t multi-task well at all.   Which makes it all the more important that you make a determined, consistent effort to keep your goal on your radar.

Summary of key points:

 1) The main thing is to keep the main thing, the main thing. Always.
 2) Distractions will try to steal your attention away from the goal. Don’t let them.
 3) Slow and steady wins the race. Stay focused so you can make steady progress, every day.