Goal Setting for Success
Psychologist, Viktor Frankl, observed that,
“Life can be pulled by goals just as surely as it can be pushed by drives.”
When you are committed to making a change in life, strategic goal setting is crucial to success. Time spent on goal setting will, as Frankl described, help pull you towards your goal. Once you appreciate how crucial effective goal setting is for success you will want to utilise the power of goal setting every time you decide to make a change.
A popular model used by coaches to support goal setting is the GROW model. This model talks you through each step of the goal setting process. The GROW model also invites you to anticipate possible obstacles and prepare solutions to overcome them. If you are new to goal setting then the GROW model is a great place to start.
So what exactly is the GROW model?
Goal setting requires a goal
G = this is where you describe your goal. Successful goal setting means putting pen to paper. Why write your goal down? Mark McCormack, in his book What They Don’t Teach You in the Harvard Business School, describes a 1979 study done with Harvard MBA students. Students from the class of ’79 were asked,
“Have you set clear, written goals for the future and made plans to accomplish them?”
Only 3% of students had written goals, 13% had goals but had not written them down and an incredible 84% had no goals at all.
Fast forward ten years and the class was interviewed again. The 13% of the class who had used goal setting but hadn’t written goals were earning twice as much as the 84% with no goals. What of the 3% of the class who had written goals? On average, the written goal setting 3% group were earning ten times more than the other 97% combined.
What a great reason to write down your goal! Measurable goal setting is essential because you will need to be able to measure progress and success along the way. Also consider the timeframe you will allow yourself to reach your goal. Incorporate the timescale into your goal.
Goal setting needs to be realistic
R = Is your goal Realistic? At this stage of the goal setting process you will be examining what steps need to be taken to help you achieve your goal. You may find that your main goal actually involves lots of smaller steps or sub-goals. Consider what you have tried before and how effective past methods have been. How is your timescale shaping up when you consider these sub-goals? If necessary, revise the timescale for achieving your goal.
When considering how realistic your goal is, it’s essential to ask yourself, “how motivated am I to succeed?” Strong motivation will keep you focused when the going gets tough. If your motivation is low, question whether the goal you have chosen is right for you. Examining your motivation, consider how well your goal fits in with other goals. Is this goal a good fit with other goals or is there conflict? If conflict exists, decide what is most important to you. What lifestyle are you working towards? What will help you achieve your dreams? What leaves you feeling demotivated and despondent? Which goals energise you? Adjust the conflicting goals accordingly.
Goal setting considers options and obstacles
O = What are the available options to support you to achieve your goal? At this stage of the goal setting process try to consider as many options as possible. Weigh the options. Choose the option that is the best fit for you and which will successfully propel you towards your goal.
The O in this goal setting model also allows you to consider any obstacles you may encounter. What are the potential difficulties? Thinking about obstacles now can prevent events, people or circumstances from derailing your efforts in the future. What can you put in place now to ensure success when obstacles arise?
Goal setting points the way forwards
W = This is what you will do or the way forwards. Pull together the what, when, why, how and whom of your goal setting process. At this stage you are action planning.
Throughout the rest of the GROW model you have thought about your motivation, how realistic your goal is, any possible obstacles and how these will be overcome. The final stage of the goal setting process enables you to incorporate all of this into your action plan. Consider periodically setting time aside to review your progress. Most importantly, don’t forget to celebrate your accomplishments along the way and take time to savour your success when your goal is achieved.
Want to find out more about goal setting? Take a look at Matt Cutts’ Ted Talk, 30 Day Challenge: