As an executive coach, much of the work I do is helping executives and business owners bring clarity about the possibilities for their organization and themselves. So often when we start working together executives’ goals are vague and ambiguous. Without clear goals, the executive may have a roadmap but no precise destination and accompanying directions to get to her goals.

Making Goals Powerful
You probably have heard the story of the study done with Harvard Business School graduates who had goals. The story basically supports the contention that written goals are more likely to be achieved than those that aren’t written down. Actually this study never took place, however a Dominican University study provides evidence that accountability, public commitment, and written goals together enhance the rate of goal achievement.

So, not only is it important to have goals written down but a person must publically announce them to people important to them. These people can act as an accountability mechanism for tracking their progress.

Goal Development
Your goals should be written as a SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Time-bound) goals.

Be Specific – A goal that is described in specific terms has a much greater chance of being accomplished than one described in general terms.

Make it Measurable – Developing specific criteria for measuring your progress toward the attainment of each goal will help you to measure your progress, and stay on track to meet your target dates.

It should be Attainable – When you identify your goals, you begin to figure out and visualize how to accomplish them. You will develop the energy level for goal attainability including: new and existing attitudes, abilities, and skills to reach them.

Make it Realistic – In order for a goal to be realistic you must be both willing and able to work towards the goal. Be sure that every goal represents substantial progress. Your goal is probably realistic if you truly believe that it can be accomplished.

Create Time Sensitivity – Goals should be grounded within a specific and clear time frame to create a sense of urgency in accomplishing the goal.

And ,when developing goals, make sure that they are stated in the positive not negative. Writing goals in the positive creates forward energy and movement.

Goal Success
Now that you have your specific goals written down, who will you share these goals with? I recommend choosing more than one person and that the people you select be individuals who will be supportive as well as keep you accountable to your goals.

Keep your goals visible. Reviewing your goals frequently will help you release the energy, creativity and the drive to attain them. Tracking your goals provides you with a sense of accomplishment when you meet your goals.

Create a habit of asking yourself daily, “are the decisions you are making getting you closer or further from your goals. The more your remind yourself of your ultimate goals, and make the choice to move in the direction of attaining the goal, the more likely you will be successful.

And finally, don’t forget to celebrate your accomplishments! Creating and attaining goals take a lot of discipline and hard work. How do you plan on celebrating once you’ve crossed the finish line?

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