Best Practice Methods for Goal Achievement
What is your deepest wish? Do you want a professional breakthrough or a beautiful athletic figure? What are you doing to make this a reality? Whatever your dreams may be, continually setting new goals and striving for something is part of a happy and fulfilling life. But why do so many goals remain unfulfilled?
In this article, you will find the golden thread on the way to achieving your goals, learn about critical success factors in the goal realization, and proven methods that will help you turn your dreams into reality.
#1 See the Big Picture: Vision and Life Purpose
In our performance-driven society, we continuously set goals. However, have you ever felt that there is still something missing when you achieved them? This may be because you may not know the true motivation for your goals. A vision and a purpose in life are often missing! Therefore, it’s important to think about the “WHY.”
- Why do you have this dream?
- Why do you want to achieve your goals?
- What is the purpose that keeps you alive?
It is crucial to focus on your life purpose and vision in order to turn your dreams into a reality. In addition, scientists have confirmed that people with a life purpose, who set high goals for themselves, live longer!
Your purpose in life is based on your values and principles. Describing who you want to be and what you live for. For example,
- healing people
- helping people
- being a good mother or father
- sharing knowledge
- making people feel better
- making a world a better place
The Japanese concept Ikigai (“a reason for being alive”) can help you to figure out your life purpose. Life purpose is the purpose, that makes your life worth living, that motivates you to get up early every morning, that lets your heart sing. Taking a closer look at the Ikigai concept you will find an intersection of the four key areas:
- What you love,
- What the world needs,
- What you can be paid for and
- What you are good at.
Think about every key area and write down key words to each area. Meditation can be very supportive in this process. Be compassionate with yourself!
When you know the purpose behind your dreams, you will have a clearer picture of your future.
A vision is an overarching goal and describes where you see yourself in the future. Where will you be in 5, 10 or even 20 years. For example, “I am a successful author of a bestseller,” “I have a big family, and live a happy and healthy life.” This vision can change over time, while your purpose in life stays stable. Both determine your behavior and influence your daily actions and decisions.
When you are clear about the big picture (your life purpose + your vision), you will automatically focus on it instead of focusing on the difficulties you have along the way. You will unconsciously find the best way to reach your goals. You’ll then be in the right place at the right time in order to meet the right people. You will be able to overcome any difficulties as your big picture is what keeps you alive. It makes you strong and persistent.
Remember, it is crucial to see the big picture (life purpose + vision) to inspire you to give the best of yourself every day!
#2 Create a Vision Board
A powerful technique of goal achievement is to visualize your big picture:
on paper! By imagining your vision on paper, you start to realize your ideas. This way your subconscious is attuned to the realization of your goals.
If you want to look at your life holistically, think of the different roles and areas of activity that make up your life. You can use the ancient Chinese “Bagua” chart. The Bagua is a structural grid used in Feng Shui for living areas to activate the energy flow in people’s fundamental life areas. According to this there are nine areas of life, each of which are assigned a cardinal direction and an element.
Now divide your vision board into the nine Bagua sections and record your overarching goals (your vision) for each area of life.
When creating your vision board, you can live out your creativity using images, inspirational slogans or quotes, and pictures of yourself.
Your vision board should motivate you and appeal to your emotions! Use the given colors and elements from the Bagua chart during the visualization. According to Feng Shui, the specific colors can activate the energy in the areas and support the progress in the goal realization. Make a new habit and look at your vision board on a daily basis. Take a picture of your vision board and put it on the screen of your mobile phone and your computer. By doing this, your goals will always remain visible and cannot simply disappear or be forgotten.
Get some inspiration of these vision board examples:
#3 Commit to One Goal at a Time
Progress is the best motivation! Therefore, intermediate (short-term) goals are necessary, as you will be able to celebrate achievements on the way to your big picture. The next step is to derive specific goals that are in line with your life purpose and your vision. That’s how you make sure you’re actively shaping your life, not just following the expectations of others!
Looking at all nine areas of your life, you will inevitably come up with many specific goals. But keep in mind that you have limited capacity and can´t focus on multiple targets equally. Setting too many goals is often the reason why people do not achieve any of their goals by the end of the year. They have planned too much! Ask yourself which area of your life currently has the highest priority for you, needs a leap forward, or a wind of change. Focus on 1 or maximum two goals that have the highest priority right now. Commit to focus all your energy on achieving this one goal! Once you have completed this, move to the next important goal on the way to your vision.
This singular goal orientation is perhaps the hardest of all. It is about setting priorities and using your capacities in a targeted and focused manner. Be aware that if you are working on 5-6 targets at the same time, you are progressing much more slowly than when working on 1-2 goals with the same resources available. Don’t forget to do a quality check to see if the goal fits the well-known SMART principle (link: https://www.projectsmart.co.uk/smart-goals.php). This will ensure that your goal is clear and measurable, which is essential for realization.
#4 Win the Inner Game
As W. Timothy Gallwey says, before you can win the outer game, you have to win your inner game. This means that to realize your goal, you need to achieve it in your mind while being entirely convinced of your success. No doubts. For this, you first need to get rid of the ballast. We are all struggling with inner blocks and worries that prevent us from achieving our goals. Often, we tend to worry unnecessarily. The reasons for our fears could have different backgrounds.
- It could be bad experiences in a specific situation that we have had.
- We could have negative expectations because we have read something negative.
- We may have adopted some negative attitudes, beliefs, or prejudices from our family or friends.
All these inner blocks and worries slow down the progress to succeed! What you have to do, is to become aware of the blockages and get rid of them.
- What fears do I have about my goal?
- What good (or bad) can happen when I reach my goal?
- Are my fears justified? (Mostly they are not!)
Write your answers down, and then tear it up and let it go mentally! Getting rid of your inner blocks and worries has an emotionally relieving effect.
At the same time, you should visualize the fulfillment of your goal mentally as often as you can. Meditate daily and imagine what it will feel like when you reach your destination. What will be better? Paint it out in the most beautiful colors and feel happy!
Note: In addition to the vision board of your life vision (using the Bagua chart as described above), you can create another vision board for the specific goal you are currently focusing on.
#5 Commit to the Plan
Now the physical work begins! Make a realization plan for your chosen destination. Make the plan as accurate as possible. If necessary, do some research. What do you need, and in what order, to implement your goal? Plan each step and document everything in a structured action plan. Commit to the plan!
Set a fixed follow-up appointment according to your chosen rhythm (daily or weekly, for example, every Sunday). Check your progress and enjoy the steps you have taken. Over time, new opportunities may arise, or frameworks may change. It may be necessary to adapt your plan. Do it, do not stick to an outdated plan!
#6 Work Efficiently
According to the Parkinson’s Law, “work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion.” Do not to fall into this trap. Set yourself radical and ambitious deadlines for goal achievement as well as for the single activities on your action plan. This way, you are forced to leave your comfort zone and move faster!
Do not spend too much time on trivial things. Otherwise, you’ll never finish! Do you know the Pareto principle? This principle states that 80% of the results are achieved with 20% of the total effort. For the remaining 20% of the results, you need 80% of the total effort. Choose a pragmatic and results-oriented approach to completing tasks! Find out which 20% of your time will lead to 80% of the result and concentrate on that.
Now you are well equipped to achieve your goals. Follow the slogan, “The way is the goal” and enjoy every step on the way to fulfilling your dreams!
If you need help with targeting and guidance on the way to the goal, contact a professional and experienced coach.
Patrick L. Hill, Nicholas A. Turiano. Purpose in Life as a Predictor of Mortality Across Adulthood. Psychological Science Vol 25, Issue 7, pp. 1482 – 1486. First Published May 8, 2014. https://doi.org/10.1177/0956797614531799
W. Timothy Gallwey. The Inner Game of Tennis. The Classic Guide to the Mental Side of Peak Performance. 2008. p. 124-134.
Karola Berger. Feng Shui – Leben und Lebensraum harmonisch gestalten. 2005. p. 20-23.
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