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Goal Setting Success - "Horizon" Goals and Activity Goals
Here's my question: Is the horizon a real thing or a mental construct?What happens as you sail toward the horizon?It continues to move away.
You can never 'get there.
'As you continue to sail toward the horizon it is difficult to see how far you have gone.
But what if you look back over your shoulder at the shoreline?It's very easy to see how much progress you have made.
What does this have to do with goal setting?We all need to set big, lofty goals to inspire us and to motivate us.
We need a strong purpose to help us through the difficult times and give us a reason to continue to strive for something better in our lives.
But there will be times when we seem to be making little or no progress toward the goal, because by a daily measure of progress our steps can seem so minuscule.
The big goals are what I call 'horizon' goals.
At times it may seem like we're just not getting any closer and they may even become a demotivator instead of a motivator.
That is why it is important to create 'activity' goals that will move you in the desired direction.
It's not enough to have just the big lofty goals and hope that somehow, magically, all the powers of the universe will align themselves to help us get there.
We must define the actual activities that are required to achieve the goal.
What are the things that we need to do on a daily, weekly, monthly basis in order to make it happen?We can measure the activities.
We can know on a day-to-day basis whether or not we doing what we committed to do and are staying on track.
We will know whether or not we are making any progress.
Those daily activities that are required are like the shoreline.
We can see where we are relative to where we started.
As a result, it is much easier not to become discouraged.
What makes it work for us is that we have a reference point - where we started - to measure against.
And the point is that we need to measure.
Measurement in and of itself can be a motivator.
Let me give you an example.
Suppose for the next year, at all sporting events, we remove the ability to measure the outcome.
We take down all the goal posts, the baskets, the bases, the nets, etc.
For one year you will have no way of knowing who is winning.
How exciting will it be to watch or participate in those events?Sounds pretty boring doesn't it?What keeps the game exciting?It is the ability to measure and see how you are doing.
There is one other reason we need to measure.
Suppose you know exactly where you want to go (your goal) and you have the activities required to get there well defined (the map) - you need to know where you are relative to the goal and the activities, so that you know what and how much more you need to do.
You can have the best map in the world - but if you don't know where you are on the map, the map is worthless to you.
I encourage folks to always have a 90-day plan -- that they review every week.
Why 90 days?Why not a 1-year, 3-year or 5-year plan?Because 90 days is about as far out as most people can envision and define specifically what it is they intend to do to achieve their 'horizon' goals.
If you review it every week (measure your progress) you can make the small adjustments required to stay on track and be as effective as possible.
We all need 'horizon' goals, big goals to motivate us.
But, just as important is defining the activities required to get there, and then measure those activities frequently.