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Jul 17 2012

Is Goal Setting Hocus Pocus?

wizard, hocus pocus magic, goal setting


“A goal properly set is halfway reached.”

(Abraham Lincoln)

Is goal setting hocus pocus?  Well, I am not a magician and thankfully you don’t need to be to achieve your dreams.  You are bringing about some change in your life by following a process and not by magic.

Once you have gone through the creative stage of identifying all the things you want, pick the one you want to focus on first.  This worked well for me when I wanted to go travelling.  Since then, I have tried to work on a few goals at once but it turned out to be overwhelming and demotivating.  Here are a few tips to help you with setting goals:

  1. The goal you have chosen might seem really big and overwhelming because you just don’t know where to begin.  If that is the case, you need to break it down into sub-goals.  One way to help you identify the sub-goals is to think of all the parts that make up the main goal you have chosen to focus on.  My main goal was to travel to different continents but there were some sub-goals I needed to focus on that would help me achieve that.  Without achieving them, my main goal wouldn’t have come to fruition.  Two of the sub-goals were money and health and fitness.  I needed to have the money to travel the world and I needed to be fit to backpack and trek to places such as Macchu Picchu, which was another goal of mine.
  2. It’s important to state your goal positively because what you focus on is what your unconscious mind will work on getting for you.  For example, rather than stating you want ‘To lose …’, you would word it something like this: ‘To weigh …’ or ‘To fit into …
  3. ‘The goal should be measurable.  If you can’t measure it, how do you know you’ve actually achieved it?  Taking the example above, if you said ‘To lose weight…’ that’s very general.  What would you ideally like to weigh?  Maybe you want to fit into some clothes that are hanging up in your wardrobe.  In which case, it would be ‘To weigh 10 stone…’ or ‘To fit into my favourite pair of size 10 jeans…’.
  4. Once you have identified and documented your main goal and sub-goals, you need to think about when you want to achieve them.  By that I mean write down a date when you would ideally like to complete each goal.  If it’s something you really want, you will have an idea of when you would ideally like to achieve it by.  As Napoleon Hill said, “A goal is a dream with a deadline.”  So, if you want it to be a goal and not merely a dream, set a date.  This will give you a timeframe to work towards.  It will also help to focus and motivate you.  Setting goals is not about what you could, should, or might do, it’s about what you will do to make it happen.  Without committing to a date, it will remain on ‘Someday Isle’ (someday I’ll…).  Make sure the date is realistic and you believe you can achieve it in the timeframe.  If you don’t believe you can, you probably won’t.  Don’t set yourself up to fall at the first hurdle.  Remember, the timescale is a guide.  You might find that you reach it before or after that date.  I originally gave myself a year to get organised and arrange everything but I left within 10 months of my initial thought of going travelling.  I could have done with a bit more time because I hadn’t finished arranging everything.  I bought my RTW ticket so all the flights had been booked.  I could have changed the date of the initial flight and, in hindsight, I should have to give myself more time to finish arranging everything before I left.  I didn’t and it caused me and my parents a big headache during my first couple of months away.  I’m sure you’ll agree that things don’t always go as planned so please, please, please don’t beat yourself up about it or get deflated.  Give yourself the time you need so reset the timeframe and if that means changing your leaving date then do it.  This is supposed to motivate you and it’s important that you have everything sorted out so you and your family don’t have the stress of dealing with things once you’re far away.
  5. Staying on the point about being realistic, you must believe you can achieve the goal you have set.  If you don’t believe you can, you probably won’t  because you have set yourself an impossible task in your eyes.  As Henry Ford famously said, “If you think you can do a thing or think you can’t do a thing, you’re right.”
  6. How motivated and committed are you to achieving your goals?  As Tony Robbins says ‘Reasons come first, answers come second’.  Why do you want to achieve these goals?  You need to be really motivated because things get in the way of what we want sometimes.  It’s your motivation and commitment to the goal that keep you going.


Continue with this process and then check out the next post when I discuss how to stay motivated and focused on your goals.

<Get Your Goals Out Of Your Head And On Paper

Motivation Is Key>

photo credit: ξωαŋ ThΦt (slowly back…) via photopin cc

About the author

Teresa Keane

Teresa has been to almost 60 countries. She started travelling independently at the age of 38 when she gave up her job, rented out her house, put her possessions in storage and spent a year travelling the world. It changed her life. She now creates, publishes, & promotes online travel content and is an experienced freelance trainer & EFL teacher.

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