“The reason most people never reach their goals is that they don’t define them, learn from them, or even seriously consider them as believable or achievable. Winners can tell you where they are going and what they plan to do along the way. – Denis Waitley.
When we set goals it helps us to improve our performance. It gives us a target to aim for. A sense of direction. A benchmark against which to measure the progress we make. And what else we need to do to stay on track.
The thinking we have to do to write a goal is even more important than setting the goal. As it leads us to look at all the options. Compare them against each other and select the one that best fits our purpose. The quality of our Personal Development Plan depends on just how well we do this. And how well we plan to implement it.
Then the work we do to reach the goal stretches and develops us. It is this process that leads to our personal development.
Personal Development Goal Statement
A goal statement will get you off to a great start. This is a statement of intent. To begin you need to look inward to see what you want from your life. Do this in the four main areas of your life. Covey (2004) tells us that these are: 1. Physical Intelligence. 2. Mental Intelligence. 3. Emotional Intelligence. 4. Spiritual Intelligence.
For example, my goal statement is: 1. Physical Intelligence – To be as physically fit as a person of me age should be. 2. Mental Intelligence – To develop my mental intelligence to a level in keeping with the lifestyle I wish to enjoy. 3. Emotional Intelligence – To become more sensitive to other people’s needs and better at responding to them. 4. Spiritual Intelligence – To upgrade my personal values and learn to articulate them and close the gap between what I think and what I say.
Write a Big Hairy Audacious Personal Development Goal
A BHAG will give you a single target to aim for. For example, Hewlett-Packard’s BHAG is: Be one of the best managed corporations in the world. Taking my cue from them I wrote myself the following Personal Development BHAG. “Be one of the best self-managed people in Ireland.”
Sounds crazy doesn’t it. But it did help me. For personal development is about managing yourself. It put it right up there at the top of my agenda. And it passes the BHAG test as follows: 1. Do you think you have a 100% chance of achieving it if you are fully committed to it? If your answer is yes then it isn’t much good. A 50% to 75% chance is ideally what you need. 2. Do you need to take a really big step in your capabilities to achieve it? Your answer has to be yes for it to work. And force you to improve beyond your wildest dreams to achieve it. 3. Will you know that you have achieved it in 25 years time? will you be able to look back and say. Yes I really achieved that. If you wouldn’t know you achieved it. It is not a real BHAG.
Write a SMART Personal Development Goal for each area of your life
SMART goals are specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and time bound. Go to Setting Goals to learn how to write them. The advantage of SMART goals is that they state your objective in a way that helps you to achieve them. When you make them specific it narrows the focus to what you want to achieve. Being able to measure them allows you to see what progress you make with them. Having them attainable and realistic gets you down to the basics. And making them time bound sets a deadline that puts them firmly on your agenda.
Here are examples of my SMART Goals for each of the four areas of my life.:
1. Physical Intelligence: To achieve the targets I have set for my physical fitness, alcohol intake, weight reduction, and restful sleep each week.
This is an overall goal. And it is built on individual goals for each of the four areas. So each area has its own smart goal. For example, the goal for my alcohol intake is. To drink no more than 17 units of alcohol each week.
2. Mental Intelligence: To develop my mental intelligence through spending at least ten hours reading, ten hours writing and ten hours thinking abstractly each week.
3. Emotional Intelligence: To show greater sensitivity to the other people in my life and learn to read their emotions accurately each day.
4. Spiritual Intelligence: To achieve a higher level of integrity, a greater understanding of moral issues and reflect these views in what I think, say and write each day.