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Setting Goals
by Dr. Beverly Potter

Benefits of Setting Goals

Provides a Target
Goals give you something to strive for, to aim at. Suppose you were learning archery but didn't have a target, so you just practiced by shooting into the air.  How successful would you be in becoming skilled in archery?  Chances are your progress would be slow. You need a target to shoot for.
Increases Personal Power
Establishing a goal helps overcome burnout
because it yields a sense of potency.
When you set a goal, you take command and define a target. You know which way to shoot and have a yardstick to measure improvement. The act of setting a goal alone enhances personal power. Because it is a reflection of you, your goal has personal meaning. Even a boring job can be meaningful by working toward a goal. Goal setting is an eternal source of personal power; once you know how to use it, it can never be taken from you. By combining goal setting and self-acknowledgment, you have everything necessary for self-motivation.
Provides Direction
When you have a goal, it is easier to know
which path to take.
Without a goal you are a ship at sea without a destination going around and around, never making headway. Each day you encounter choices or forks in the road.    Goals can help you make decisions. Goals act as beacons pointing the way. Certain elements make goals easier to achieve.

Creates Meaning

We all want to matter.  Money is not enough.  Motivation is maintained by working on projects that we find important, that fulfill a purpose we care about.  Setting goals is a way to create meaning.

Goal Setting Guidelines
Be Positive
State what you want to do.If you want to avoid or stop doing something, state your goals in terms of what you want to do instead of what you are currently doing.

Set a Deadline

Deadlines help you to bring the pieces together.  Goals with no specific completion time encourage procrastination and undermine motivation. But a deadline must be realistic if the goal is to be a powerful motivator. Unrealistically short deadlines can trigger panic and generate a burnout climate.

Be Specific

Suppose you have a target, but you can't see where your arrow hits.  Again, your shooting skill would develop very slowly.  You need to see where the last shot went so that you can adjust your next shot.  This feedback helps you measureyour progress towards the goal.
Measurability helps determine whether or not you have achieved your goal.  The more specific your goal, the easier it is to measure your progress.  Coaches, for example, use stop watches to time - measure - runner's performance.
Go to the Doing Level
A well-stated goal describes
what the goal-statelooks like.

Describe your goal on the doing level. Describe what you will be doing  (feeling? saying? having? thinking?) when you achieve the goal. Your goal statement should answer the following questions:

Will do what?
To what extent? (Under what conditions? To what degree?  How much?
    How long? How hard? etc.)

Create a Compelling Image

Not all goals are equal.  Some are dull, boring and have a repelling effect; others have a magnetic forcethat pulls you toward them, creating a target that is easier to hit.
A magnetic goal generates a compelling image in your mind
that pulls you toward it when you think about the goal.

Compose Your Goal

Write a goal-statement that contains the four elements of a powerful goal. Make sure that the goal-statement is 1) positive, 2) has a deadline, 3) is specific, and 4) has a compelling image.

My goal is to < write your goal here>:


Copyright 2000: Beverly A. Potter. From  High Performance Goal Setting:  Using Intuition to Conceive and Achieve Your Dreams by Dr. Beverly Potter, RONIN.  All Rights Reserved. This file may be downloaded for individual use.    Any other use requires written permission from docpotter.

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