All Posts in Category: Goals


Vince Lombardi, the legendary football coach, emphasized to his players, “You’ve got to get it in your head before you can get it in your feet.” The same is true in business and inter-personal relationships. When you get it in your head – clearly, specifically, and succinctly, positive actions will follow.

Results come from actions and actions are determined by thoughts. When your thoughts are clear, you have a higher likelihood of getting the results you desire. At best, fuzzy thoughts produce fuzzy results. Usually fuzzy thoughts produce NO or POOR results. The clearer your goals, objectives, and expectations, the better your performance and results will be. The same is true for those you lead.

Clarity is important in one-on-one conversations, group presentations, training, writing goals, giving instructions, emails and reports, public relations, sales, customer service and most aspects of business and personal relationships.

Lee Iacocca, former Chairman of Chrysler Corporation, said, “You can have brilliant ideas, but if you can’t get those ideas across, they don’t do anybody any good.” To get your ideas across, carefully choose your words, phrasing, tone and inflection. How a word or phrase is spoken can dramatically impact your message and affect the thinking (clear or fuzzy) of your audience.

Just as weeds choke out a garden and don’t allow the plants to grow, your team members won’t grow and productivity and effectiveness will be diminished by “mental clutter” or fuzzy thinking. You can stamp out “mental clutter” by:

  1. Capturing your thoughts in writing;
  2. Having a written goals program with action steps;
  3. Distributing written expectations; and
  4. Clarifying priorities for yourself and those you lead.

Fuzzy thoughts and “mental clutter” are conditions that will drain your energy and contribute to worry, indecision, and procrastination. Clear thoughts will generate energy, stimulate action, and produce results. Clear thoughts will also enhance communication, increase motivation, and reduce mistakes and frustration.

Clear Thoughts Produce Clear Results    

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How to Keep Your Goals Alive

Set low goals and raise them gradually. This creates a sense of winning which will boost self-confidence, self-image, self-esteem, and enthusiasm for new and larger goals.

Break large goals into bite-size chunks. Large goals can be motivating and overwhelming at the same time. Breaking them into smaller goals will stimulate motivation without overwhelming you.

Keep score. What gets measured, tracked, and reported gets done. The way you keep score can be as simple as hash marks, a barometer, a graph, or other symbols.

Schedule specific action steps. When you put things on your calendar, in specific time slots, you are more likely to act on them.

Set priorities. Tackle the most important action steps first.

Make public commitments. Let people who support you and your goals know what your goals are and what you are doing, or have done, to achieve them.

Ask for help if you need it. In the same vein that you miss 100 percent of the shots you don’t take, you are not going to get much help with your goals unless you ask for it.

Use affirmations. An affirmation is a positive declaration stated as if it were true. Affirmations are tools to help you achieve a goal. They are not true or false. Your subconscious mind cannot tell the difference between fact and fantasy. It believes anything it is told. It is also a servomechanism that guides your thoughts and behaviors. You can program your subconscious mind to develop the thoughts and behaviors necessary for the accomplishment of your goals.

Affirmations need to be written and read daily or memorized and recited daily. For best results, use the personal pronoun “I” and state your affirmations positively and in the present tense. Using the personal pronoun “I” addresses your subconscious mind.

Stating your affirmations positively is important because your mind grasps positives better than negatives. For example, if you want to adjust your weight, it is better to say, “I weigh 160 pounds” rather than “I will lose 20 pounds.” Or, another example is, “I am enjoying record-setting consecutive safe days” rather than “I don’t want anyone to get hurt.”

Using the present tense takes advantage of the “act as if” principle. The subconscious mind responds well to positive, action-oriented commands. If you want to be happy, act happy; if you want to be enthusiastic, act enthusiastic; if you want to be energetic, act energetic.

Use visualization. Put pictures that symbolize your goal when it is accomplished in prominent places such as your desk, your bathroom mirror, your refrigerator, the dash or visor of your car, and/or any other place where you will see it regularly. Another technique is to create a “visualization board” out of poster board or cork board, and place it where you can see it regularly.

In a 1970s TV show, Flip Wilson’s character, Geraldine, said, “What you see, is what you get.” The same is true with your goals when you visualize them. The passenger side mirror on your car has a statement etched on the bottom portion that says: “Objects in mirror are closer than they appear.” The accomplishment of your goals will be closer than they appear when you use good visualization techniques.

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What do you want more of?

What do you want less of?

What do you want to improve?

Where do you want to go?

What do you want to do?

What do you want to learn?

Who would you like to meet?

What position would you like to hold?

What would you like to own?

What are your family goals?

What are your financial goals?

What are your mental goals?

What are your physical goals?

What are your social goals?

What are your spiritual goals?

What are your professional goals?

What are your personal development goals?

What are your earning goals?

What are your savings goals?

What are your investment goals?

What are your business goals?

Who would you like to help/serve?

What kind of lifestyle do you want?

What debts would you like to pay off?

What do you want to do for your children?

What do you want to do for your siblings?

What habits would you like to develop?

What would you like to do for recreation?

What kind of vacations would you like to take?

What kind of relationships do you want?

What skills would you like to develop?

What would you like to do for your community?

What is your passion?

How much would you like to weigh?

How much money would you like to earn?

What specific habits would you like to develop?

What specific habits would you like to change?

What kind of home would you like to own?

What improvements would you like to make in your current home?

What new hobby would you like to begin?

What pressures, stresses, or worries would you like to eliminate?

What civic activities would you like to get involved in?

What organizations would you like to join?

What spiritual qualities would you like to develop?

In what ways would you like to improve communication with family members?

In what ways would you like to improve communication with business associates?

If you had three unlimited wishes, what would you wish for?


The saddest words of tongue or pen are these…it might have been. John G. Whittier

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Goal Setting Principles and How to Apply Them

Goals need to…

Be written. Writing crystallizes thought and crystallized thought motivates action. Also, a short pencil is better than a long memory. When your goals are written, you can refer to them, communicate them, and create a front-of-the-mind awareness.

Be specific. The mind can focus on the concrete better than it can the abstract.

Be personal. You are more likely to take action on your own goals than you are someone else’s goals. When setting business goals, make sure you tie your “ownership” to each goal.

Be positive. Set goals on what you want to happen rather than what you don’t want. Focus on growth rather than just survival; retention rather than turnover; quality rather than defects; and safety rather than accidents.

Be measurable and contain a method for keeping score. Imagine that your goals are a sporting event. What will you put on the scoreboard during the contest or in the box scores the next day?

Be tangible and intangible. Whenever possible tie a tangible goal to each of your intangible goals and an intangible goal to each of your tangible goals. For example, if your tangible goal is to increase sales and/or profit by a specific amount, your supporting intangible goal might be to become a better coach so your people will perform better. The intangible goal to be a better coach can be supported by tangible goals that let you know that you are a better coach – for example, giving more positive feedback and less criticism or negative feedback.

Be long-range and short-range. Long-range goals give you direction and purpose. Short-range goals provide ongoing motivation and, many times, are steps toward long-range goals.

Have some stretch. If goals are too easy, they won’t motivate you and you may get bored. If goals are too difficult, they could cause stress and discouragement. For example, during a ring toss game, those who stood close and made almost every toss, soon got bored and quit. Those who stood too far away and missed almost every time, soon got discouraged and quit. Those who stood at a challenging distance were the most motivated and played the longest. Your reach should exceed your grasp for optimum motivation.

Contain action steps. Action steps become short-range or bite-sized goals and create motivation and momentum. The completion of each action step can be cause for celebration.

Have a timetable, including deadlines. Deadlines increase focus, concentration, and stick-to-it-tiveness. Use them to your advantage.

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Helping Team Members Become Goal Directed

One of the most important motivational techniques of a successful leader is goal setting that involves all team members. Without specific goals and carefully written plans to attain them, the success of your organization is left to chance. The future of your organization is far too important to be left to chance.

It begins with you. Unless you are goal-directed and create a goal-setting climate in all levels of your organization, most of your other leadership efforts will be in vain. You can’t effectively set goals for another person, but you can create a climate that encourages and develops goal-seeking attitudes. There are four basics of directing the goal setting of others:

First, team members must choose their own goals. To accomplish any goal, people must have a genuine commitment to it. When personal goals can be realized by accomplishing organizational goals, a higher motivational climate will exist.

Second, make it a challenge. Encourage team members to set goals and stretch themselves to do more than they have accomplished in the past. If a goal is to be motivating, some risk will be involved. Low goals don’t inspire people to use their full potential and be all they can be. Goals that are set high cause people to stretch, reach, grow, and use more of their full potential. As a result, they achieve more.

Third, establish a personal development philosophy. When you expect your team members to grow and develop more of their talents and abilities, you can also expect and accept shortcomings. After all, if your team members already had all the qualities you possess, they would probably already be in your position or in one comparable to it. Be willing to make allowances for occasional shortcomings, and avoid being too demanding. You will grow personally as you help your team members grow, and in effect, you will multiply yourself by building their leadership capacities. If, on the other hand, you have no tolerance for their shortcomings, you will in some form communicate this rejection to them, and they will gradually cease to set goals. The results will be the opposite of what you want to accomplish.

Fourth, give feedback on performance. Just as you’re better able to motivate yourself when you have periodic feedback on your performance, team members also need to know how they’re doing. Give them frequent feedback and make it as specific as possible. In doing so, you recharge the motivating forces that originally set them on a course toward their goals.

Goal setting is a prelude to action. Goal setting is dynamic. When you and your team members set and achieve goals on a regular basis, you increase your chances of success. At the same time, team members grow, develop and begin to use more of their talents and abilities.

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Benefits of Keeping Score

Keeping score generates excitement for players and fans. Score keeping improves individual and team performance; enhances concentration and focus; helps coaches and players make better decisions; helps prevent and solve problems; dentifies opportunities for training; and makes it easier to accurately project outcomes.

Keeping score provides early warning signals. The gauges on the dashboard of your vehicle provide a form of keeping score. They indicate how much fuel you have, how well your engine is performing, and whether it needs maintenance. The odometer indicates how far you have driven –overall and on a given trip. A thermostat is used to keep score on the room temperature and adjust the heat or air conditioning accordingly. In business, it is crucial to have a method of keeping score in place that provides early warning signals so you can make the appropriate adjustments.

A doctor uses a person’s vital signs to keep score on how the body is performing and if any attention is needed. Scales help people know if they are maintaining their desired weight. What are the vital signs for your business? Can you identify and measure them with the same degree of accuracy as a blood pressure gauge or a set of scales?

Keeping score helps break goals into bite-sized chunks. This promotes confidence when people think and say,“I can do that.”Knowing that you are winning at small goals helps build momentum and increase your opportunities to accomplish larger goals.

Keeping score provides trends and direction. Where you are now is important. Even more important is what direction you are moving and at what speed. Knowing trends and direction helps reduce the chance of surprises and uncertainty. increased certainty enhances confidence and increased confidence promotes increased success.

Keeping score helps you celebrate successes. One response to seeing the score is, “Hooray!“When you reinforce “Hooray,”progress and success are reinforced. Reinforcing progress and success creates a motivational environment that leads to more progress and success.

Keeping score can help you take corrective action. Another response to seeing the score is,“Oh no.”Following“Oh no”situations with a corrective plano faction of additional training and coaching reduces future “Oh no’s.”

Keeping score enhances change. Keeping score creates insight and insight precedes change. When you know where you stand and what direction you are heading, you can set new goals, adjust your behavior, and produce new or better results.

Keeping score improves accountability. When a good score keeping system is in place,people can run,but they can’t hide.

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