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Set Clear Goals for Success in Life

photo of bullseye goal setting at rickosborn.com executive wellness coach in Raleigh, NC

A big part of my every day existence is thinking of new ways to help my clients. You see, I’m in the business of offering something valuable to those who come to me for help. To fail to do so, would render me ineffective at being a good coach.

One hot topic that doesn’t sound so exciting at face value is that of GOAL SETTING. And while it may seem a clear cut and straight forward concept, I find that most of us, myself included, fail miserably at making goal setting an ongoing practice in life. Quite honestly, the one thing that keeps me on track with setting goals is constantly working at it with my clients.

Ok, so now that we realize that goal setting is neither a thrilling nor innovative concept, why is it so important? What is it about goal setting that moves us away from miserable, undesirable Point A in our lives and catapults us (hopefully with laser fine precision) towards that highly esteemed place of success, happiness and wellness – POINT B?

Well, to grasp this, I think it’s important that we all understand what exactly a GOAL is. According to Webster’s, “a GOAL is –the end toward which effort is directed.”

In my humble opinion, this definition brings up-

3 Simple Parts of Goal Setting:

  1. The End (the Bullseye) – AIM
  2. The Direction – FOCUS
  3. The Effort – FIRE

1. The End or “The Bullseye” in Goal Setting

Quite simply, when coaching people on goal setting, one of the frequent words that I find myself using is “bullseye.” We all know what a bullseye is and can easily visualize one at the center of a target. Whenever you aim at something, you aim at the target and specifically strive to hit the red dot in the middle or the bullseye. It’s an easy concept. Anyone who has ever played darts, shot a gun, or attempted to shoot a bow and arrow knows that you have to set your course by aiming, keep your hands steady and shoot at the bullseye. To do any less, will send your dart, bullet or arrow reeling in the wrong direction. The crosshairs matter. They are everything.

When setting a goal, it’s the same thing, but perhaps on a grander scale. And, it can be more complicated. BUT, the concept MUST remain simple –

  1. Set your Goal – Determine your Bullseye.
  2. Work steadfastly on getting to your Bullseye.
  3. Focus on your Goal/Bullseye.

2. Setting Your Focus – Direction in Goal Setting

If you’re going to go to the trouble of pointing that gun, shooting that arrow, throwing that rock, etc. then at least make sure that all of your effort is not in vain. If you don’t know specifically what you’re aiming at, then stop wasting your energy and effort and reevaluate. Otherwise, you’re playing the lottery with your life, your work, your relationships, your finances, your faith, etc. To not have clearly defined goals in all important areas of your life is like closing your eyes and shooting an arrow into the woods – hoping that you’ll hit something. The chances of hitting anything worthwhile are not very good, that is, unless you’re shooting into a herd of animals. And, how often does that happen?

With a properly defined goal – a carefully selected bullseye, your efforts then become laser focused and extremely effective, because you know where you’re going. Once you’ve determined what your goal or bullseye is, then start doing the legwork to keep things on target. These are things that will help you set that focus and direction. My suggestion is to ask for advice, read pertinent literature, rub elbows with those who have already traveled your path, share your vision with others, and ask someone to hold you accountable. Maintaining direction on the way to that bullseye can be difficult and even mysterious. Finding good resources will help you plot the most direct course to your goal. Otherwise, you may end up burning a lot of effort without real results.

Examples of Not Having Clear Goals

  • A man eats fast food every day, but hopes to be healthy and fit at 50.
  • A woman hates her profession but takes a promotion in hopes that a raise will make things better.
  • A man is cheating on his wife but can’t figure out why his business is suffering.
  • A parent works every weekend and can’t understand why his kids aren’t obedient.
  • A woman drinks alcohol every night, eats well, yet still is confounded why she’s gaining weight.
  • A man buys items on credit while only making minimum payments monthly.
  • A wife rarely speaks to her husband and withholds sex, yet expects to be married until death.

3. Fire – The Effort in Goal Setting

This, unfortunately, is where I believe most people tend to wander and get frustrated. Too many get right to the fire, effort or work of things without clearly understanding what the goal is. Don’t get me wrong, putting a lot of work and effort into life is important – immensely so. But, what I see a lot of are those who wastefully burn a lot of energy, time and effort without first determining, understanding and fixating on the bullseye. In other words, many seem to go through life without having clearly defined goals or good knowledge of how to meet them. They fire off in every direction, filling their days with “effort” but with no real idea why. That being said, “the fire and effort,” as important as it is, is virtually ineffective, and sometimes harmful, if not performed with a specific goal and clear direction.

Consistently (firing) doing the work required to keep things moving towards that bullseye, only becomes magical when combined with proper focus/direction. Without true direction, fire becomes nothing more than a stewing pot of misery and hopelessness. This is the state where I find many of my coaching clients. For whatever reason, many are churning in a pot of self-inflicted crisis, unable to see an escape from the cascading events occuring in their lives. It is at this point that we begin the process of change.

Begin with the end in mind

Beginning with the end in mind is exactly what we do when we set clear, direct goals for our lives. Instead of showing our cards, brandishing our guns, and playing our hands without purpose, we instead, become very clear and intentional in our planning. We see the end (the goal/bullseye) before we ever take a step. We become calculating and concise. We clearly envision where we’re going. We carefully strategize a plan that will carry us to that end. We become human beings full of purpose because we know where we’re headed. We begin each day with our goals in mind. The fire that we burn, that effort that we put forth, combined with our clear direction/focus becomes the magic that will transform our lives into something better. We no longer stew in a pot of misery because we know that our efforts are not in vain. No, our focus and fire efficiently move us to our goals – where we decide and want to be.

How about setting a goal today!

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