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How To Set And Achieve Your Goals

• By Dr Patrick Liew •

What is success? To me, it is the deliberate accomplishment of worthwhile goals over a specified time frame.
Success, therefore, begins with goals and goals define success. Successful people are driven by goals and they take massive and continual actions to achieve them. Goal setting compels them to go further and faster in life. It helps them to focus and channel all their resources in the right direction. Goal setting is a key to managing a successful life. It is a logical and fulfilling approach to living a purposeful life.

Define Your 5Cs Goals

Goal setting begins with the choice of worthy goals. Goals that help you serve a high calling and for a worthwhile cause. The following are the 5Cs of worthy goals:

1. Goals must be concise.
A goal that is clear and well defined is already half achieved. With clarity, you will have a greater sense of strength, control and direction.

2. Goals must be clear.
Do not, for example, say you wish to make a lot of money. State specifically how much money you plan to earn. Write it down. This is in line with an Oriental proverb which says ‘The palest ink is more enduring than the strongest memory.’ Preferably, you should be able to carry it in your wallet so that you can review it regularly. Your goals must be expressed in terms of measurable results. In that way, you can monitor your progress and improve accordingly.

3. Goals should be challenging.
Douglas Edwards, a pioneer in sales training commented, ‘If you don’t believe you can achieve the goal, you won’t pay the full price for it.’ Besides being achievable, goals should be inspirational and motivational. It should challenge you, stretch your mind and bring out the best in you. Goal setting will become a meaningless exercise if you cannot give it your total commitment. It will not drive you to take action if you are not passionate about it and you don’t have faith that your goals will come to pass.

4. Goals should be controllable.
Achievement of your goals depends on how intensely you want to turn it into a reality and your desire depends on how easy it is to recall your goals. You should make it a point to remember your goal and strategy to achieve it at all times even if you do not refer to the written plan. In addition, you should be able to map out the goals with a schedule. There must be a specific time frame for achieving the appropriate activities, key performance indicators, and sub-goals.

5. Goal-setting should be continuous.
Goal-setting is not a one-time affair. It goes through an iterative process of correcting and changing itself for the better. It should be constantly updated to stay relevant, effective, and beneficial to you and others around you.

Develop Sub-Goals
The Chinese have a saying, ‘The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.’ Then one more step… and one more step… until you achieve your goal, if I may add. By developing sub-goals, it will also help you monitor your progress and ensure you are moving in the right direction. For instance, you must determine what you must do by the first week. Then by the first month, these are what you must achieve….

Determine A Compelling Purpose
To achieve your goals, you must have ­compelling reasons to want them. If you do not know the ‘Why’s for achieving your goals, you will never find out the ‘How’s. Your purpose will drive your performance and pursuits.

Whatever the compelling reasons you have for achieving the goal, they must be vital, passionate and sustainable to you. These qualities will cause you to jump out of bed every morning to work hard and smart to achieve your goals.

Prepare Yourself
Barriers. To succeed, you need to know why you may fail. You need to know what will prevent you from achieving your goals and take every possible action to overcome them. Your barriers may be the lack of knowledge, bad habits, bad company, speaking skills, procrastination, fear of failure, etc.

Price. Success comes with a price. You must make sacrifices, discipline yourself, and persevere through the long, narrow, and winding path towards success. When you persist, the price you pay now will be worth a satisfying and fulfilled life in future. Take action now… give up eating unhealthy food, stop unproductive activities, end toxic relationships.

Learning. Have the passion to be always learning. You need to upgrade your knowledge, skills and other resources to play at a higher plane in life.

Craft Strategies

You need to constantly ask yourself, ‘How can I achieve my goals?’ Explore all options by answering questions that begin with why, what, where, who, when, and how.

You have to evaluate the resources that you have. Your time, money, and energy, how best can you deploy them to achieve your goals? Decide what you have to do every single day to achieve your goals. What kind of a lifestyle you need to have so as to achieve your goals?

In addition, determine how you can leverage on systems, technologies, people, tools, and other resources to achieve more and get better results. You should not only take the right action but also take these action correctly.

I love to teach because that is the best way to learn and improve myself.

Share your goal-setting journey with like-minded people. Help them to duplicate and improve on your success and achieve even better results. The more you inspire others to be better than you, the more inspired you will be to improve yourself. It will increase your motivation to achieve your goal.
You need to set appropriate Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) that will help you chart your progress, help you take corrective action, and help you make progress. For example, you set targets for how much weight loss you want, how many books to read, how many people will you train, etc. You must continue to take every action to learn and improve your knowledge, attitude, skills, and habits (remember ‘KASH’).
Make time to do some role play and practise your skills. Solicit 360-degree feedback from competent and caring parties to help you improve and achieve your goals.

A lot of goals live and die shortly after they have been set. For goals to be achieved, they must be driven by a growing desire and this desire must be kept alive and burning until the targets are achieved. Goals must become a vital, integral and desirable part of your life. Goals must be constantly visualised using all five senses. The clearer you see, hear, smell, taste, and feel how joyful and rewarding it is to achieve your goal, the faster it will be achieved.

Use aids; including pictures, photographs, and words placed in strategic locations to remind you of your goals.

You can also record what it means to achieve your goal and listen to the playback regularly so as to stay motivated. Request positive people to help you stay motivated in achieving your goal.

Avoid ‘energy vampires’ who will suck your energy, distract you, and keep you away from achieving your goals. Work through the goals with your friend or as a team. Hold each other accountable every step of the way. Adopt successful people as your mentors. Like they say, ‘You cannot fly with eagles if you mix with turkeys.’ Interact with these top performers, learn from them, and model after their positive actions.

Communicate your goal daily through SMSes, emails, social media, and telephone calls to people who will be able to give you positive encouragement, feedback, and other forms of enhancements. Surround yourself with a team of goal-driven performers. Synergise and leverage on them to achieve better results.

Place yourself in an environment where there are minimal temptations and maximum motivators to drive you towards your goal. You should also reward yourself when you reach each sub-goal. By celebrating your achievement, it will motivate you to set more and better goals. Success breeds success. It will spur you to do more for your life.

After you have planned the actions to reach your goal, you must act. You must master the courage and commit yourself totally to your goal. Remove all fears, uncertainties and doubts that will hold you back. Continue to strategise and take massive action to turn your goal into a reality.

You must take the first step and then prepare to take the next better step. Do not be sidetracked until you have completed your action plan and achieve your goal.

James Russel Lowell, a famous poet once wrote, ‘All the beautiful sentiments in the world weigh less than one single lovely action.’ Remember, if you keep walking on the same path, you will always reach the same destination. Therefore, you must ­apply purposeful and never-ending improvements to go on to a higher level of success.

Successful people will always do the things ordinary people will not do, and will not do the things that ordinary people will do. In the words of Paul Myer, ‘Whatever you vividly imagine, ardently desire, sincerely believe, and enthusiastically act upon, must inevitably come to pass.’