When wanting to make a difference it helps to start with the ‘why’ and the ‘what’ before considering the ‘how’. That is, ensuring you have a strong enough reason why to make a difference and a clearly defined goal before thinking about how you might achieve this difference. Here are some quick tips to help you when defining goals.
1. Decide what you want. This is the first step in defining goals. Rather than focusing on things that you don’t want, or things that you wish to avoid, be definite about what you do want. Ensure you turn any negatives into positives.
2. Understand that goals are simply about defining WHAT you want. Leave HOW you will go about achieving the goal until later.
3. Record your written goals in a place where you will see them. This helps you to stay focused on the differences you want to make.
4. Decide on your success measures so you will know when you have achieved your goals. Be very specific about this and describe it in detail.
5. Align your work related goals to the objectives of the organisation so they are relevant to work priorities.
6. Ensure your personal goals are aligned with your values or priorities in life so that you have a strong enough reason why to go after the end result. Examine your core values to help you define goals that are relevant. The closer your goals are to the values that you hold, the more likely it is that you will achieve them.
7. Develop a strong reason why you want to achieve something. The more it matters to you, the greater your motivation will be to get started and to keep the momentum to achieve the goal.
8. Imagine that you do know what you want. If you are not sure what you are hoping to achieve, ask yourself the question: “If I did know what it is that I want to achieve, what could it possibly be?” Using your imagination to seek the answer to this question will give you clarity.
9. Determine a specific time by when you will have decided what you want, if you are not sure now. This means that you can create a goal for yourself about defining another goal. For example; you could plan a time and date in your diary to sit down and define a work goal that you want to achieve.
10. Imagine your goal will be audited on the exact date you specify. If you had to prove to an auditor that you have made a measurable difference, what evidence could you provide? Be really specific in your detail.
11. Define your goals by focusing only on WHAT you want. Goal definition is all about having clarity about the specific detail of WHAT is to be achieved, so remember to leave the HOW for later.