What’s the first thing you think of when you hear the words “goal setting”? You might think of the often over-used advice such as ‘set big goals’, ‘write down your goals’ and even ‘put your goals where you can see them’.

None of that is bad advice. But there’s something missing.

You know that setting goals is important to your success. The problem isn’t that you’re not convinced of the importance, but that you don’t have a process for setting goals.

That changes today.

During the last 15 years of working with top leaders and achievers, I’ve noticed a recurring theme. They all follow a process for setting goals.

Up until this point you may have set goals in a casual way. More like a list of “wants” rather than actual goals. I understand that because for years that’s exactly how I did it.

Just because you have a list of ‘hopes’ in your mind, doesn’t mean you have clear set goals.

When I developed a process for setting goals, I noticed a much higher rate of achievement.

As you take time to define and set your goals, follow this 9-step process:

– CLARITY: Write down exactly what you want to achieve. The more specific and defined, the better. There’s a difference between goals and wishes. Take the time upfront to give your vision clarity.

– BENEFITS: Why you want to achieve your goal is more important than how you’ll do it. Make a list of every benefit you (and others) will receive by you achieving this goal. When the reward is strong enough, you’ll push through challenges and obstacles to make your goals reality. Most people fail to achieve their goals because they don’t have a strong enough reason to fight through the challenges.

– DEADLINE: Napoleon Hill once said “A goal is a dream with a deadline“. 94.2% of goals have no deadline attached to them. That’s a true statistic I just made up.

– SACRIFICE: What will you have to give up to achieve your goals? Regardless of what you’re wanting to achieve, sacrifices will need to happen. You may have to give up sleep by waking up earlier to get a strong start to the day. You may have to give up Friday nights hanging out with friends because you’re goals are waiting. Knowing the price you’ll have to pay to achieve your goals is a significant step towards obtaining them.

[bctt tweet=”If your goals don’t scare you, they aren’t worth it.”]

– CHALLENGES: Make a list of the challenges and obstacles you know you’ll face. More will pop up, but start with what you know. By knowing what’s coming, you can figure out the steps you need to take. This process also reduces anxiety as challenges don’t seem as daunting on paper as they do in your head.

– ACTION PLAN: A goal without a plan for obtainment is useless. You need to list out the steps you must take to reach your goals. Like listing out your challenges, you may not know every step right away. That’s okay. Sometimes the action steps evolve over a period of time.

– ANCHORS: If your goals are big (and they should be) then you’re going to need some help. Make a list of people who’s co-operation will increase your chances of success. Also, begin thinking of how you’ll recruit their help and support.

– TRACKING: One of the biggest problems I see when it comes to goals is that people aren’t measuring their progress. If you’re not tracking your progress along the way, you have to idea how close or how far away you are from making your goals reality.

– WHO, NOT WHAT: When setting goals, everyone asks themselves WHAT they need to do to achieve them. Not a bad question to ask, but you’re missing the most important one. Don’t ask WHAT you need to do to be successful, ask WHO you need to be. The thoughts and habits you have today are either guaranteeing your success or your failure. What kind of habits does the person who’s already achieved your goals have? That answer is where you want to start.

So there you have it. A true process for setting goals that you can follow over and over again.

You may have failed to achieve your goals in the past and as a result, are under the belief that goal setting doesn’t work. I can assure you that having no direction and plan of attack won’t help you either.