What is a goal anyways? It is one of those terms that’s so over used, it has almost lost its meaning altogether to most of us. As an athlete, when I hear the word goal, I think of the thing I did everything in my power to score. As a forward in hockey in fact, it is what I focused on more than anything, mentally, emotionally and physically. Score more goals!
This is a great metaphor for what I am talking about today. Having a goal allows you to focus all your resources in one congruent direction, which is scientifically proven to exponentially increase your chances for success. The definition I love for a goal and thus, use with my clients is:
A goal is the ongoing pursuit of a worthy objective until accomplished.
Consider the individual words that make up this sentence. “Ongoing” means a process, because goals take time. “Pursuit” indicates a chase may be involved. There will likely be some obstacles and hurdles to overcome. “Worthy” shows that the chase will be worthwhile and that there’s a big enough reward at the end to endure the tough times. “Until accomplished” suggests you’ll do whatever it takes to get the job done. Not always easy, but essential if you want a life or career full of outstanding accomplishments.
To get where you want to go, you must start by establishing a benchmark for where you are beginning (the starting line) and where you want to ultimately end up (the finish line). Identifying this ahead of time will allow you to plan for success by using goals to track and measure your performance results as you go from point A (where you are now) to point B (where you want to be).
Goals are the power tool in your performance toolbox because they…
- Are the key to success and achievement on every level
- Are tools that establish a baseline for measurement of progress and development towards a desired outcome or result
- Enhance performance by aligning intention with action
- Allow you to design a plan for execution
- Help you raise awareness about what you want to achieve and why
- Help you establish a time-line using short and long-term targets for success
- Help you break down the steps that will take you towards the outcome you desire
Setting and achieving goals is one of the best ways to measure your progress and create unusual clarity about the destination and direction you are headed. Consider the alternative; just drifting along aimlessly, hoping that one day success will fall into your lap with little or no effort on your part.
Make every performance count!