If you take nothing else from this chapter, take this – If you just define your goals, learning goals or otherwise, clearly and have them written on a piece of paper which you keep close to you, your chances of achieving your goals increases significantly.
80% of your success comes from defining your goals of what you are going to accomplish. Interestingly 97% people don’t ever define their goal.In a research done at Harvard University, people who wrote goals were earning ten times than that of their peers.
The process of writing goals is simple – doesn’t take much time, is totally free and returns are enormous. There is no reason why people shouldn’t do more of it. But they just don’t.
If you are a student, your school does the goal writing for you. If not, the responsibility for your learning goals and other goals is solely upon you.
Here are some of the things you can do to set your goals
Recognize what’s important to you
First, you have to decide what do you really want from the learning process.
Do you want a great score on the test? improve communication? or add new skills?
Remember, if you have goals only then can you hope to achieve them.
Recognizing what’s important to you also makes you self-evaluate. Some people make random goals like earning a million dollars. You should be able to see yourself as having earned million dollars – and then what? What will you do with it? It turns out that that’s not the primary goal they had. They just wanted to travel, which can actually be done with much less.
Visualize, verbalize and emotionalize
If you can visualize, verbalize and emotionalize your goal, there’s a very very good chance you will achieve it.
Visualization is actually seeing you as if you have already achieved the goal.
Verbalize is being able to define clearly your goal. If you can’t write it, it means you have just a floating idea about your goal and there is no definite purpose.
Those who don’t know where to go, won’t get there. You just have to be clear on where you have to go. How to go there will come automatically over time if your what is strong.
Emotionalizing means that you give proper emotional reasons why you want that goal. Goals written with emotions are far more powerful than goals without emotion.
Write your goals
Write it down. If you have multiple goals, that’s OK as well. Just write all goals on a paper.
Write down what you want. Write down why you want it. Write down what you are willing to do to achieve it. Write down the problems you would face and write down you are willing to face the problems and work towards your goal.
Take your time to do it. You can take hours or even a full day to think about your goals, though it doesn’t take that long.
A goal if not written is really just a wish with no energy behind it, which keeps changing based on your current situation.
Unwritten goals tend to fade away with time. Written goals get achieved in time, and in ways, you can’t imagine.
Why do we write the goals?
Why does this work so well? As time passes, emotions fade away and we forget things. The motivation you once had may get replaced by excuses. Having written goals takes away the freedom of bending your theories and goals according to your present excuses.
A written goal anchors and steers you in the right direction when your emotions are swaying you in the wrong direction. However, if your goals are not in place, you would be making decisions not based on your long term goals but by the impulses and emotions at the time of making that decision – which may not be always in line with where you want to go.
It also helps you to focus your energy on the next goal once you have achieved the present goal. For example, some people write their goal to earn x amount of money to achieve happiness. But they are much more depressed even when they are earning 10x money. And they are still working hard to make more money when what they are running after can’t be earned through money. Reason? They forgot why they were running in one particular direction. Even after crossing the finish line, they keep running because they now know how to run but somewhere in the commotion and pressure of running, they forgot why they started to run initially.
The habit of writing goals can be the single most activity that will contribute to your success. Goal setting has been referred to in psychological, motivational, self-help books, research papers again and again.
Because it works. I have personally experienced it. You are reading this because I successfully accomplished one of my many written goals.
How will you achieve that goal?
This is my faviourite part. When you write your goals, you don’t have to mention how you are going to achieve it.
All you have to do is to believe that you can achieve that goal and not think of how you are going to do it. That comes later.
If you write the “how” part, that’s great. But if you don’t write it, that’s still OK. I didn’t know how I was going to achieve my goals. I just wrote them, and it just worked.