I’m sure you’ve heard the tale about the Harvard study on goals. The one in which two groups of Harvard graduates were asked about their goals. One group had specific goals. The other didn’t.
Years later when the income levels of the groups with goals was compared to the group that had no goals, the group with goals had more income.
People use this to prove that having goals itself leads to higher levels of achievement. And I’d have to say I agree.
Setting goals DOES lead to more achievement. Just the fact that you are thinking seriously about the future means it’s more likely you’ll take productive action.
There’s a saying that goes “for a ship with no harbor, not destination is the right one.” And it’s the same with people that have no goals.
Without a goal to guide you every path is wrong.
So how do you make sure you have clear goals?
Use the following formula.
First, don’t just have a goal, start with a dream that’s a little less specific. (I know this may seem contrary to most advice you’ve gotten but keep reading.)
Second, find out what is it that really excites you about this dream. If your dream is to sail around the world ask yourself “Why do I want to do that? What will that get me that I don’t have now? How will that make me feel?” Then write all of that down.
Third, find a role model that has done what you want to do. They can be someone famous or someone who lives next door. Anyone who’s actually lived the dream will do.
Fourth, set a specific, measurable goal that would be proof you’ve lived the dream. So for sailing around the world you’d have a list of each port your boat landed at and photos of each location.
When you’ve followed the above steps you’ll now have a goal, and know exactly why you are achieving it.