“If you want to live a happy life, tie it to a goal, not to people or things.”– Albert Einstein.
I am sure you hear so much about the importance of personal goal setting, especially at the beginning of the year. However, setting goals can become frustrating and unsuccessful if you do not have a detailed plan and action steps to your destination.
According to a study by the University of Scranton, 92 percent of people who set New Year goals do not achieve them.
But should you give up on setting goals just because you failed to accomplish them in the past? No, not if you want to be successful.
Goals give us the drive to chase after our dreams, and people without them are not as successful as they hope to be.
If you had set goals before but struggled to achieve them, I am introducing you to something different this year. Here are 4 critical personal goal setting questions you should ask yourself first before choosing your goals.
These questions guide you in the right direction of successfully following through with your goals and achieving whatever you want to.
Personal Goal Setting Questions: 4 things to know before choosing your goals
What is Personal Goal Setting vs. New Year Resolutions?
Goal-setting is a process of determining what you want and taking active steps while setting timeframes to achieving your desired results.
The first 3 months are of any New Year is always exciting because most people are ready to start afresh and have a new beginning. I call this the ‘‘ self-development season”, where we all have big plans and dreams and are willing to put in the work for the things we want to accomplish for the year or next couple of years.
While Some people like calling these new year plans “resolutions,” I instead refer to them as goals because resolutions by definition are decisions you make to either do something or not, while setting a goal is a personal effort to identify what you want and go for it until you get desired results.
When I was younger, my resolutions were vague plans I simply mentioned to family and friends. Still, there were no processes to guide me to achieve them, therefore getting no results.
It’s not until I started writing down things I wanted to achieve and setting specific timeframes and intentions that I noticed results.
That is how I started the personal goal setting trend and never looked back.
So, goal setting is mainly to help you focus on different areas of your life, ranging from adopting a healthy lifestyle to being free from debt.
Depending on your definition of success, personal goal setting is when you get to choose short-term and long-term goals that fit your needs and, in the end, make you feel accomplished.
Most people set daily goals, quarterly goals, one year, 3-year, and 5-year goals.
Are these goals important to me?
One of the main reasons why personal goal setting doesn’t work for everyone is because sometimes, we do not take the time to fully understand who we are and what is important to us.
So, Before you can be successful at achieving any goal, you need to ask yourself, Is this actually what I want? Is it worth my time and resources?
You need to appreciate and recognize the importance of what you are setting yourself up for.
Because as humans, it’s only natural to either forget or pay little attention to certain things we do not have an interest in or are not important to us.
Without interest, there is no motivation. It will be easy to put the goals in the rearview and give up.
Give an example; maybe your goal was to start cooking healthy meals daily to lose 10 pounds in 4 months.
But your friend convinces you that eating home-cooked meals is not enough. She instead recommends getting a membership to the gym she goes to.
You sign up for monthly payments at the gym, but 3 months down the road, you lose interest in the gym.
Meanwhile, the gym keeps deducting their monthly fee from your account. Months go by, you stop cooking as well because your friend thinks it’s not worth the effort.
So not only are you losing money that could be used in food shopping, but you are not eating healthy either.
Your loss of interest is mainly because the goal was to eat healthy food, not going to the gym that your friend suggested. Also, going to the gym is not as important to you as eating healthy. This will leave you feeling disappointed in yourself.
But we do not want that!
“If something is important enough, even if the odds are against you, you should still do it.”– Elon Musk.
Goals are supposed to help you stay focused, motivated, and give you the courage to reach your destination.
It is crucial to recognize that personal goal setting should be unique to you, fit in your definition of success, and hold the values you do.
Read more here on why personal goal setting is beneficial.
How many goals should I set?
The number of goals will depend on how much resources you have available, how much money, and time you are willing to invest.
If you set too many goals, you might get overwhelmed, leading to scattered thoughts and less productivity.
If you set a few goals, you might feel tremendous or under-accomplished.
So, what’s the right number?
There is no right number.
While others might recommend setting three quality goals each year, some recommend choosing 1 or 2 from each aspect of life; Financial, personal growth, Career, Relationships, and Health.
It all depends on where you are in life.
Suppose you are new to personal goal setting. In that case, the 2 most important things are to set realistic expectations and prioritizing your goals.
Let no one tell you what you can or cannot achieve but at the same time, be very mindful of what your capability limits are.
Start by Writing down your goals on paper in their order of importance, beginning with the most significant one.
The next step is to evaluate the available resources you currently have and what else you can acquire in a specific timeframe.
Say you want to start your own company, but you also want to buy a house. You will need to look at how spending a significant amount on the house will affect your ability to put money towards your company.
This requires you to prioritize. If a house is your priority, then you might decide to lower your housing budget to pour more money into the company savings account.
Then set a timeframe for both goals. Do you want a house in a year from now? Should you start your company two years after buying a home as you save more money?
Once you have the answers, then you are ready to start working on your most important goal as you move down the list. This will help you analyze how efficient you are.
How much of myself am I willing to give?
Practical personal goal setting involves more than deciding what you want to achieve; you also have to put in the work.
Suppose your goal is to be financially independent. In that case, you must be willing to gain control over your finances by changing your daily spending habits, living on a budget or beneath your means so you can save more and start investing; or maybe sacrifice your leisure time for a second job to pay off your debt.
In case you are looking for a better job with a higher income, you should be willing to work longer hours, pay for short courses to gain new skills, or even learn a new language.
Setting goals is a process. Though many people know what they want to achieve, they are not prepared to go through the process, especially if there is no clear plan to get where they want.
Personal goal setting requires full dedication and the purpose of giving your whole being to the process. Do you want to start a family? Do you want to Travel? Buy a house? Or retire early?
You must give up immediate benefits to achieve bigger goals in the future. You must have a plan and be willing to go through the process to accomplish these big goals.
I hope you find these questions helpful in your personal goal setting journey.