How to Change Goals
“A goal should scare you a little and excite you a lot.” – Joe Vitale
Society has come a long way since British industrial psychologist Cecil Alec Mace first conducted experimental studies on goal-setting and laid out basic principles that are still in use. Indeed, today the concept of setting goals is commonly accepted as a foundation for achieving what you want in life, including success, happiness, sense of purpose and fulfillment. Still, many people struggle when it comes time to make a shift. Here’s some advice on how to change goals that may be helpful.
Look at the big picture.
It may be difficult to step back and take an unbiased look at the big picture when it comes to changing goals, yet that’s critically important when you realize current goals either aren’t working, cannot be achieved, or you’ve lost enthusiasm or motivation for them. Instead of first going for the short-term goals — the so-called “low-hanging fruit” — focus on what you want to achieve a decade from now. That’s the broad view that allows you to expand your range of choices to pinpoint goals that you really want to work toward. There’ll be time later on to work on 5-year, 1-year, 6-month, 1-month, 1-week and daily goals.
Write goals down.
Instead of trying to juggle goals in your head, thinking that the most important ones or incremental ones will always be top of mind, keep a written list that you can have handy at all times. The purpose of lists — any kind of lists, but particularly goal lists — is to serve as a ready reminder and a guide map to refer to in tracking progress, roadblocks, successes or missteps. Indeed, as a 2015 study by Dominican University psychology professor Dr. Gail Matthews found, successful goal achievement in the workplace is tied to writing goals down, as well as committing to actions to achieve goals, and being accountable for those actions.
Be sure goals are specific.
Goals that are likely to be successful are those that are specific and measurable. This is particularly important when it comes to long-term goals and those that require multiple stages to achieve, are time-consuming or progress over a period of years, and those that are multi-layered, complex and challenging. Setting specific goals also helps with time and resource management, two crucial aspects of effective goal planning.