Creating and setting goals is great, but actually achieving them can be much harder. Using the proven goal setting exercises discussed in this article can help you not only in setting an achievable goal, but also in the individual steps and processes needed to achieve it.
The way we spend our lives, those seemingly small daily decisions, actions, patterns, determines our success, happiness or lack thereof. Having knowledge of goal setting is one thing, it’s another thing to put them into action and stick to them. Goal setting tools are a great way to help you set goals, track progress, and focus on what you’re trying to achieve.
- Regular meetings / reviews with your manager, coach, parent or teacher
- Join groups and meet people trying to achieve the same goals (such as sports teams, weight loss, / classes).
- Using goal-setting software to keep you up to date (Quest Depot and GoalScape are just a few)
- Put your goals and journal about your daily performance
- Use your phone to set up daily reminders or alarms to do your action item
- Inspirational posters and quotes around your desks and wallpapers set on your devices as friendly reminders
- Tell your friends and family what you’re working on so they can provide support (and it’ll also make it more difficult for you to quit on your goal)
- Visualization activities, including meditation, positive affirmations, and mindfulness
- Work with a coach, counselor or mentor who motivates you to stay on the right track
The right tool for you depends on your perception/learning style, your personality, limitations, and current abilities. We’ll elaborate on these goal setting tools below.
1. Goal Setting Journal
Keeping a journal allows you to record your progress, the setbacks you have faced and brainstorm ways to overcome them. As few as ten minutes a day to review and record your goals and progress will help you stay focused, motivated and more positive about your quest (Robinson, 2017). It’s re-affirming to see how far you’ve come in achieving your goals.
2. Digital Productivity and Goal Setting Tools
You’re on your devices daily, so why not use them to your advantage in achieving the best life possible? Quest Depot is a daily habit tracker app that allows you to focus on goals you’re hoping to achieve and check them off as you achieve them. It’s got a very appealing and intuitive graphic interface, built-in reminders and in-depth functionalities that incorporate best practices from goal setting, performance science, psychology and goal completion.
Not only can you create goals and track progress, but it also gives you access to professional coaching and a whole community of like-minded, success-oriented people. Quest Depot is unique in the social nature of its reward system, encouraging users to seek out “allies” to join them on quests and put in real money as incentives for successful completion of goals. This exceptional function is based on human psychology, and greatly increases users’ motivation and accountability to the goals they’ve set.
3. Visualization and Meditation
Both visualization and meditation have been proven to improve our sense of happiness and contentment, as well as overall well being (Meevissen, Peters, & Alberts, 2011, Peters, Flink, Boersma, & Linton, 2010). More specific research shows that visualization can help to encourage and improve goal-setting behaviors (Taylor et al, 1998). The Average Perfect Day and One Year from Now and some of the other exercises introduced in this article utilize visualization to assist goal setting.
Our emotions play a crucial role in our health, thinking, so it’s no surprise that they affect goal setting. Studies have shown that when we associate our goals with our values,and link them to emotional outcomes, we are more motivated to succeed and stay positive in the journey (Austenfeld, Paolo, & Stanton 2006).
Visualization and meditation help to improve goal-setting behavior by keeping our eyes on the prize, creating structured plans, and involving our emotions positively in our success. Creating mental images of our ideal future, how it looks and feels, also helps in setting goals. Oyserman, Byby, and Terry found that they asked participants to use visualization to improve their motivation to set the goals needed to create their vision in real life.
Meditation is a core component of visualization so it makes sense that it would also help aid goal setting. Meditation allows us to calm our thoughts and mind, and take stock of our current being and presence. It can be a useful tool when visualizing what you want your goals to look like, but equally beneficial when you might begin to feel overwhelmed. Meditation allows us to calm our distracted thoughts and notice our present. It can make it easier for you to visualize, and help when you start to feel overwhelmed.
Goal setting is a double-edged sword. If we’re not achieving them exactly as we think we should, the fear of failure can creep in and our self esteem suffers. Meditation can prevent these unhealthy negative thoughts from seeping through and zapping our motivation, enabling us to proceed with clarity (Chen, 2015)
Picture yourself vividly as winning and that alone will contribute immeasurably to success. Great living starts with a picture, held in your imagination, of what you would like to do or be.Harry Emerson Fosdick