The Top 10 Ways To Set Better Goals and Reach Them Faster.

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1. To become more successful, set goals based on your Personal Values
Instead of Madison Avenue’s Values. There are over 100 Personal Values in the “value pool” and each of us has about 10 of these which ring true for us. When you know what’s most important to you (aka your values), you’re more likely to set goals that are you, and thus far easier to reach because they are an expression of your values instead of just some object that you are attempting to acquire because you were prompted by an advertising message. Discovering your values also helps to naturally filter out the “wanna-be” goals that really make no sense for us because they are not us. Start with Coach U’s TrueValues self-test.

2. Identify outcomes instead of just goals.
A goal can be fairly narrow and when if we fail to achieve it, we may feel like we’ve failed. For example, if you set a goal to bench press 300 pounds by January and you only get to 270, it’s hard not to feel like you didn’t make it. However, if you set an outcome to be in top physical fitness by January or to lift as much as you possibly can during each workout, you’re actually getting what you really want out of your routine instead of pegging it to an arbitrary measure. Pressing 300 doesn’t mean a heck of a lot other than bragging rights at the bar. Plus, you miss the real motivator which is daily success, not the striving for a future goal. Just by rewording your goal into an outcome, you’ll enjoy the process a lot more.

3. Identify character traits and personal qualities which you’d feel great to have.
Rather than set external goals such as making $1,000,000 or winning the next marathon, why not set goals based on who you want to become, as a person. These are called “who” goals in contrast with the “what” goals just mentioned. “Who” goals include goals like being a person who is creative, a good friend, compassionate, a great lover, a good communicator, full of integrity, always-honest, has a strong personal foundation, enjoys their work, saves money, is kind to all living things, etc. These “who” goals are really fun to work on and often replace a person’s need to “go accomplish feats” (aka, large “what” goals). Sure, “what” goals are great, but are more fulfilling when they integrate with your “who” goals.

4. Discover what motivates you in every part of your personal and business life.
Americans are motivated by external forces, ideas, advertising and pressures more than we are by the goals or wants that we have. It’s worthwhile to identify what makes you tick, what gets you crankin’, where the ideas for your goals come from and what has you drive yourself. Only with this self-understanding and awareness can you start making true choices about your life. And, when you are able to make choices, they are likely to be better ones and more quickly reachable, because they are yours.

5. To be healthier, begin a comprehensive program of Extreme Self Care, not just a goal to lose 25 pounds.
Losing weight should be the result of a fundamental change in your lifestyle, not just a goal to reach. Set a broader goal than just losing weight, such as practicing the 10 principles of Extreme Self Care (developed by the coaches at Coach University). By working on yourself at this level, the weight will come off on its own, because you’re focusing on all of yourself; key to sustained weight loss.

6. Coordinate a support system to help you keep on track for the goals that you have set.
Nothing worth accomplishing today is worth accomplishing alone. It is now routine to include as many supportive people in your “goal” as you wish, thus making the process easier and more enjoyable. Interdependence and Interdevelopmental are the approaches of the 90s vs the Independent Approach that has worked well since the USA’s inception. Hiring a personal or fitness coach, working out with a friend or spouse, being part of a fitness-oriented social set, etc., replaces the old-fashioned approach of determination and self-motivation. Sure, you can motivate yourself, but where’s the joy in that!

7. Remove the blocks which are delaying your achieving the goal or change.
Think Roto-Rooter. Better to unblock the pipes than strain yourself with a plunger or toss toxic chemicals down the drain. Think Chiropractic where the primary objective is to release blockages in the body’s electrical (nervous) system, thus prompting more natural healing. This rather than ingesting medicines trying to override the body’s natural process. If you’re having a hard time reaching a fitness goal, ask a friend or your coach to help you identify what’s in the way — it may be physical, mental, spiritual or emotional. Better to do this than to push yourself hard “around” the blockage.

8. Abandon the goals you’ve had for more than a year which haven’t been reached.
If you believe that we humans do what we want to do anyway, goals aside, you can safely assume that if you’ve not made substantial progress toward any goal that you set for yourself in the past year, better to toss it out because its likely become a “should,” “could” or “ought.” Once a goal has deteriorated to this level, attempting to keep it alive actually drags down the rest of your life. Why not set goals that come easily or that really appeal to you? Life’s too short for the shoulds, coulds or oughts.

9. Hang out with other people who already have reached the goal you most want for yourself.
This sets up your environment to motivate and support you, instead of you having to push or motivate yourself. Osmosis is a more effective, healthier and effortless approach than resolve.

10. A radical approach is to give up goals entirely and simply respond fully to what occurs during every day.
There is a tendency in this country to think that if you’re not creating a goal, reinventing yourself, designing your life, changing yourself, “working on yourself,” etc., that you’re being ignorantly passive, will get behind on life’s success curve or are a slacker. While this may be true, there is an approach in between these which works for many. The key is “responding fully” to your environment each and every day, instead of setting goals to get ahead. Fully responding means that you learn from each and every event during your day to the point that you make changes, stop doing things a certain way, and get your ideas from your environment instead of from “yourself.” Full responding doesn’t mean that you become light as a feather and are at the effect of problems, people or circumstances. Instead, it refers to the active process of “dancing” and affecting your environment, and taking your cues from it, by choice. The benefits of this approach are many, and include effortlessness, fewer problems or reactions, better personal balance, increased awareness, more flexibility in a changing situation and a flattened learning curve. However, responding fully is a learned skill that takes about a year to perfect. Working with a personal coach who has mastered this one is essential, due to the subtleties involved and the personal changes and shifts needed in how you approach life. But, once learned, this single life skill will likely become your favorite. [Author note: This particular skill transformed my training company from a hobby into a multi-million dollar business. I'll always be grateful for having been taught this one by my coach.]

Thomas J. Leonard, often known as the father of coaching, passed away suddenly on February 11th, 2003. His seemingly endless ideas included the creation of CoachVille, and the International Coach Federation, as well as numerous books, teleclasses, programs, and workshops on coaching. One of Thomas’ signature creative structures were these top ten lists, a way of organizing his thoughts in an easy to read format. Visit Best of Thomas to learn more about the many different works of Thomas Leonard