What is a goal?
I bet you have trouble defining that in one sentence. I’ve studied goal-setting for years and I can’t do it in a single sentence.
Oh, I’ve heard the clichés. The cheesiest one is “A goal is a dream with a deadline”.
While such clichés aren’t “untrue”, they are incomplete.
A goal can take many forms.
It can be a high-level vision, like “I want to be attractive” or “I want to be rich”. (By the way, I’m not saying these are good goals, or well-structured goals, or admirable goals – but they ARE goals.)
A goal can be something really miniscule and in the moment, like “I want to get to the airport on time,” or “Just ¼ mile more to finish my run.”
Goals can be something you set for yourself or something someone else sets for you (like something your boss puts on your plate).
They can be short term, long term, or anywhere in between.
You can write them down or you can think them or you can share them.
Some people set goals to start habits; others set goals to stop habits.
We can go on and on (and we will, over the course of months, on www.goaltriangle.com) about the various kinds of goals. And we’ll show you how to structure them and monitor them.
But for something to be a goal, all you need are these essential components:
1) It starts in the mind; you must be able to picture it or think about it
2) A goal has to be clear enough that you can write it down (you don’t HAVE to write it, though you should; but you must be able to write it)
3) You have to want to do it (either because you want the benefits or you want to avoid the pain of not doing it)
4) It involves being, doing, or having
5) It is not an impulse; primal drives are not goals
6) A goal applies to the future; it might be 3 seconds from now or 3 years from now but you can’t change the past and the present is transient
7) Goals require action by someone or by some force; serendipity is not a goal
The BEST goals are much, much more than this list. And I'll be covering how you come up with GREAT goals in upcoming articles. In the mean time, sign up for the free weekly newsletter on the upper right of this page.
What would you add to this list?
- Achieving Goals
- Advanced Goal Setting
- Goal Basics
- Measuring Goals
- Setting Goals 101
- Success and Related Info