Goal Setting - The Edge

Goal Setting The EdgeI have always been fascinated with the performance of high jumpers as they soar effortlessly over the bar. What really amazes me is during any one event, the officials keep raising the bar, until the winner of the competition is declared.

Do you think an elite high jumper is able to soar over the bar as it is raised higher and higher during a competition without setting and focusing on specific goals?

I was fortunate to have enjoyed a long and successful career with a Fortune 500 company that stressed goal setting as a key business practice. Goal setting proved to be the edge in not only business but in my personal life as well.

Like the high jumper, you no doubt want to raise the bar with respect to important areas of your life; finances, relationships, family, career, health and fitness, etc… and goal setting can help you get there.

Very Few People Set Goals

In the book, “What They Don’t Teach You in the Harvard Business School”, Mark McCormack tells about a study conducted on students in the 1979 Harvard MBA program.

That year, the students were asked, “Have you set clear, written goals for your future and made plans to accomplish them?”

Only three percent of the graduates had written goals and plans; 13 percent had goals, but they were not in writing; and a whopping 84 percent had no specific goals at all.

Ten years later, the members of the class were interviewed again, and the findings, while somewhat predictable, were nonetheless astonishing. The 13 percent of the class who had goals were earning, on average, twice as much as the 84 percent who had no goals at all.

And, what about the 3 percent who had clear, written goals and plans to achieve them?

They were earning, on average, ten times as much as the other 97 percent put together.

With these kinds of results, why is it that so many do not apply the principles of goal setting on a more routine everyday basis?

What Prevents People From Setting Goals?

One of the main reasons is most do not know how to define what a goal is nor do they understand how to write a specific goal.

It is quite simple. A goal is something that you are striving for. It is the end-result of your actions. You first begin by visualizing what you want (goal) and work back words from the goal describing what you plan to do (actions) to accomplish it.

An example of a possible end-result (goal) of a yearly training plan, involving exercise, mental and emotional preparation, nutrition, etc… could be the completion of a marathon. If you were to visualize this specific end-result, you could state it as follows:

Goal: To achieve the completion of the New York City Marathon in a time of 4 hours, in November of 2012.

Actions: Anything that you plan to do to enable you to accomplish your goal. For example: Run 30 minutes, Mon and Wed; 45 minutes on Thurs at a pace of 8 mi per hour with a 1.5 hr run on Sat at a pace of 10 mi per hr (Week 4 of Training Plan).

You pick a target, figure out what needs to be done in order to hit it and execute the plan. By taking action and sticking to your plan you will accomplish the end result, in this case- finishing the marathon.

Quick Goal Setting Exercise

In future articles, I will touch on why the consistent practice of goal setting provides us with The Edge in life, as well as provide some practical and useful tips on how to write effective goals.

For now, try this quick exercise: take out a sheet of paper and write down something you dream about accomplishing (your goal or end-result). Read it over and over again. Imagine what steps you would have to take to achieve your goal. See yourself accomplishing the goal and feel the difference.

Working backwards from the end result is an easy exercise you can use to dismiss any obstacles that might get in your way.

Here’s to achieving The Edge.

Coach Mike

Click Here and Start Earning Your Beer