I started writing about goals in December 2017. It seems totally inexhaustible and I’m at it again. Goals form an integral part of our lives, they get executed on daily basis. As such, they deserve the best of our attention.
The challenge most times is that a lot of people write down goals that are not attainable. The reason is not farfetched from the fact they also don’t understand the characteristics of good goals.
I’ve studied the lives of most successful men like Bill Gates, Warren Buffet, Aliko Dangote, Michael Dell, and drawing insights from authors like Jack Canfield and Les Hewitt, I was able to conclude on this amazing checklist that everyone must consider before setting goals.
The trick is when you study, think and act like a billionaire, you’re more likely going to end up being a millionaire if you don’t end up as a billionaire.
1. Your Most Important Goals Must Be Yours
This may sound crazy and obvious at first thought, but at a second thought, it is not. On the average, everyone should have career, relationship, financial and health goals. Nonetheless, one salient question people have failed to answer is What do I really want?
Answering that question is the very first step to setting goals. Failure to answer this question correctly will make you set and prioritize goals that are not consistent with your utmost interest. There are a lot of things that influence goals. The media for one has done a very good job at making us set goals that we never thought was necessary.
Because of media publications, a lot of people bought the iPhone X even though they never needed it and was never in their budget. Such decisions have been made by a whole lot of us.
A friend of mine has been starving for over a month just to lose weight. Why? Simply because the society doesn’t want to accept her the way she is?
If you keep setting important goals because of what people think or say, or to impress others, you may end up being depressed on the long run.
2. Your Goals Must Be Worth It
While I was interning at an ICT firm in Lagos a couple of years ago, I realized that my knowledge on core ICT enterprise solutions was poor. The internship was to last for just 6 months, so I had to set important goals for myself.
Twice every week, when other employees had gone home, I stayed back at the office. Sounds awkward right? Well, that was the way it sounded in my head when I started it the first time. Each of those nights, I watched YouTube videos and read e-books related to those software I wanted to learn.
Also, since the organization was empty, I had all the time to experiment with the servers in the organization. After a couple of months, the results started trickling in. I became very proficient in systems administration and a couple of enterprise software.
Being important is not enough. If your goal is not worth it, you’ll not see the need to go an extra mile. Mark Zuckerberg dropped out of college because Facebook was worth it. Learn to focus on things that matters. Prioritize them and sacrifice your time and other resources for them.
There are two pains in life. One is the pain of discipline, the other is the pain of regrets. Discipline weighs ounces, but regret weighs tons when you allow your life to drift along unfulfilled
– Jim Rohn
Avoid regrets tomorrow by meticulously going through the school of discipline today.
3. Your Goals Must Be Specific and Measurable
A lot of people miss it at this point. You’re being very unspecific if you say that your goal is “to be successful.” Success means different things to different people, so you need to define it. For some, success means having a new car, or having a comfortable home or better still having a million dollars in the bank account.
You’ve got to define it. Saying you goal is “to lose some pounds of weight” is also not specific. You need to state how many pounds you want to lose and the time frame (in months or weeks) for measuring for progress. Also, you must state how to get it accomplished. A goal that is not specific and measurable is also unattainable.
4. Your Goals Must Be Flexible
This point seems off, but I’m not asking you to give room for distractions. Flexibility entails adjusting your goals and plans adequately when a dire need for that arises.
For instance, suppose you have a goal of losing 50 pounds in 8 weeks and you decided to do abdominal exercises and jogging every morning from 6:30am to 7:30am; you may need to adjust your exercise schedule if you get a very good paying job that requires you to resume work by 8:00am.
This means that instead of starting by 6:30am, you can start by 6:00am. Or you can as well, do the jogs in the morning and the abdominal exercises at night after work. Flexibility considers unforeseen circumstances. However, like stated earlier, flexibility is not a license for distractions or loss of focus.
If you must make adjustments to your goals, it should be for very important reasons.
5. Your Goals Must Be Challenging and Exciting
Have you ever thought so hard about a goal that you saw it play out in your dreams at night? Like for real, have you ever conceived an amazingly innovative idea that you wished you could scream it into the ears of everyone? Had there ever been a dream that was so challenging that you felt your whole life depended on it?
If your goals don’t drive you this crazy, I doubt you’ll have sufficient drive to pull them through. If your goals doesn’t excite you to the extent that a great sense of fulfillment envelops you at the thought of it, then I think you should have a rethink.
The reason why people lose the passion to go further and eventually settle at the shores of mediocrity is because there was never anything challenging about their goals. I’ll paint an illustration using video games.
After every stage in a game, the next stage is always more difficult. It is this continuously increased difficulty that makes users to continue playing the game. Users just want to prove a point that they can fight through to the end.
As a matter of fact, I don’t play any video game in which all the stages have almost similar difficulty levels; I’ll end up being bored. Set challenging goals, but ensure they are attainable.
6. Your Goals Must Be Realistic
Does this contradict what I said about making challenging and exciting goals? Certainly not. Note this:
Most times, there are no such thing as unrealistic goals, only unrealistic time frames.
Your goals should be challenging but should not be farfetched from reality. Realistic goals are time bound. Buying a $250,000 worth car in two months is totally unrealistic within the stipulated time frame if you earn a basic salary of $20,000 and do not have any existing investment or saving.
Achieving this goal means you have to adjust the time frame beyond two months, and will have to invest in some ventures with high return in investments (ROI).
On the other hand, some goals are just figments of imaginations and cannot be actualized due to certain restraints like laws, government policies and industry challenges.
7. Your Goals Must Be In Alignment with Your Values
If you don’t have core values that you stand for, anyone can toss you around.
There must be something you believe in and hold unto tenaciously. Every goal you choose to set must be x-rayed in the light of these values. For instance, if you believe so much in God, you shouldn’t set goals that in loggerhead with your relationship with him.
I have a big issue with the saying: ”the end justifies the means.” No! That’s wrong in certain contexts. The fact that something eventually turned out right doesn’t mean that the steps taken to actualize it is right.
For instance, assuming you want to make $50,000 within a fortnight for a very important project and a friend gives you a foolproof plan that will help you defraud unsuspecting internet users. Assuming also that the plan went through and you got your cool cash and the project executed, does the smooth execution of the project justify the fact that you stole to get it done? No.
Such a goal has broken your walls of integrity, honesty and sincerity.
Life is way beyond financial success. If you don’t live for something bigger than you, you’ll die for something less than your dignity.
– Nonso Nwagbo
8. Your Goals Must Be Well Balanced
Before my paternal granny died in 2014, I can remember vividly that she always looked forward to seeing me, my siblings and my cousins. At that point, she was no longer concerned about her business, money, and all the other stuff people crave for.
The one thing she cared about the most was family. Unlike a football game, life is very short and has no extra-time. Life isn’t going to give you the chance to achieve career goals when you are 80 simply because you were pursuing academic titles while you were younger.
In the same vein, there is no special time for you to focus on your family – say 5 years after you’ve got your business established. Nah. You need to balance your goals now. Don’t focus too much on one area of your life, thereby allowing other areas suffer. The result of such action is success without fulfillment.
Folorunsho Alakija, a one-time richest black woman properly showed how blissful balance can be. She runs a Christian devotional, owns a charity organization, have a family she spends tangible time with, manages her oil empire, goes on vacation and still have time to visit family and friends.
9. Your Goals Must Have the Capacity to Give
If you’ve taken time to check out the profiles of Bill Gates, Warren Buffet, Carlos Slim and other billionaires in the world on Wikipedia, you’ll notice that they are not just billionaires, they’re also philantropists.
One crucial principle everyone must imbibe is the give back principle. The society, people around you and life generally should be able to reap out of the abundance you have. Unfortunately, this is where a whole lot of people miss it.
You may want to wonder what this has to do with goals. The truth is: everything. You are reading this article because I pursued a dream of being a writer. I’m earn cool cash as a freelance writer, but I also affect lives by giving free nuggets to my readers on Notemast.
Though updating this blog on regular basis gives me recognition and better job offers, but it doesn’t relegate the fact that lives get blessed through it and I also make out time to groom young writers on this same path.
Have you also noticed that although Bill Gates have given billions of dollars to charity, he is still among the third richest men since the last 10 years? Giving back doesn’t make you lose. It helps you focus on your goals because you know there are people studying and expecting fruits from your achievements.
You must not necessarily give out money, it could be time, expertise, advice and mentorship. And yes, even if your goal is to lose weight, you can show others how to do that after you must have achieved it.
10. Your Goals Must Be Supported
There are three different perspectives to this, but all of them gears towards achieving your goals. The first perspective is to share your goals with the entire world. The rationale is that when you have the entire world watching, you won’t have any option other than to see it through.
Another perspective is to keep the goals to yourself. Work in silence, allow your success to speak for itself. This style is adopted by a lot of people that are quite conservative and it works for them.
However, the seemingly best perspective is to share your goals with a few trusted people who you can always fall back to when the going gets tough. Whether it is a business idea or a dream or goal, sharing make it easier to accomplish. Two good heads are always better than one.
Meticulously sticking to this checklist will give you tremendous results. I’ll be very glad if you could use the comment box to share with us your view of the checklist and how it has impacted your life. Life is too big not to share.