One of the most beneficial habits you can create in life is goal-setting. As an executive coach, one of my biggest priorities with clients is to get them to set and write down goals on a daily, weekly, monthly, and annual basis. By setting goals they dramatically increase success.
We are all creatures of habit and actually operate over 85% of our daily lives through these habits. For example, we drive to and from work pretty much the same way every day. This is because our brains are trying to operate efficiently. Once we find the best route, it is logical to stick to it. It takes less time and energy to follow a familiar route than to try to learn a different way to accomplish the same task.
If you make a habit of goal-setting you can increase your success level by at least three times what it would be without that new habit. Goal-setting works for the simple reason that human beings are goal-seekers by nature. Starting from birth, we behaved or didn’t behave in certain ways for the purpose of getting a parent’s approval or attention. As we got older we did things to seek our friends’ approval, or worked hard to get good grades to get to the next level of school. It is very unlikely that someone would get a law degree, for example, if they did not believe that it was integral to achieving a desired goal.
Goal-setting has five important benefits:
- Defines Winning – Sports give us a great example of the importance of being able to define winning. Watching the score while rooting for your team to win is an integral part of the allure and excitement of any sport. How many people would want to go and watch the Miami Heat for 82 games with no scoreboard? Even when a fan cannot watch the game, you will find them checking the newspaper or online to see which team won and how the players on their team did.
- Keeps You Focused – The most common obstacle to success is that people naturally gravitate to the symptoms of poor focus; day-to-day “fire drills.” By having goals and visiting them daily, we are better able to prioritize.
- Makes For Better Decisions – In simple terms, how can you make a decision without knowing what you want the outcome (e.g. goal) of that decision to be? By setting goals you are in a better position to know how much time to spend on the decision, what information you need, and which alternative is best.
- Increases Self-Motivation – As mentioned above, we are goal-seekers by nature. Once a person has decided on a goal, self-motivation begins.
- Develops Self-Confidence – Once a person has set and achieved a goal, it increases self-confidence. Higher self-confidence leads to more goal-setting, and as the next goal is achieved the pattern continues.
A great example of the benefits of goal-setting is a lawyer I worked with who wanted to increase his firm revenue without working any more hours. He actually wanted to work less. Prior to hiring me there was no firm goal for monthly billing. All that was known was that more was desired. The first step in our process was to establish some preliminary goals for monthly billing that, in this case, was 50% more than current levels. Within 150 days this attorney doubled his billings and was working no more hours than he was previously.
Once a goal is established, an organization or individual is in a position to have regular discussions that can focus around where actual results are compared to a goal. When on target, thoughts and discussion should focus on future trends or obstacles that can throw us off track. When not on track, it is important to identify causes and develop action plans to get back on track.
There are many examples of organizations and individuals who found that our goal achievement process dramatically improved their careers and business. Review our website to understand how an executive coach or business coach can help you increase the success of your career and business, or contact Howard Shore at (305) 722-7213 or [email protected].