Great question isn't it? The first thing people wonder after they sit down and set out meaningful goals for themselves over the medium to long-term is how the heck am I going to actually make this happen?
Goal achievement is a mixture of passion and dedication, science and magic…if you bring the passion, dedication and understand the science AND you have faith that the final piece will come (the magic) you will achieve your goals.
Let's say your goal is to develop a new breakthrough in a cure for cancer (substitute any mid-term to long-term goal here), but you can't quite see how this is going to happen over the days, months and years to come.
So how does this goal setting thing really work anyway?
I believe there are two major forces at work when you set goals…
1. By setting the goals, linking emotional pleasure to those goals (and pain with not achieving them) and reviewing them frequently you are clearing your mind to think in line with these goals so that opportunities are always recognized instead of squandered.
This is a BIG deal given how much noise we must deal with each and every day – without very clear direction to our mind there is virtually no chance we will see opportunities to work toward our goal unless we are crystal clear on what we are looking for. Think of this as a "filter" if you will of what information, contacts and opportunities come our way each day.
When we have no set goals there are opportunities all around us, but we don't recognize them because we do not understand how they relate directly to something we want. So, just by knowing clearly your goals this will help you "find" the pathway to get what you want.
2. Setting your medium to longer term goals allows us to enhance our plan by setting smaller goals (interim steps) on the way to the top of the ladder. So, what happens is that by setting the ultimate objectives you can plan backwards and at least set out on the right path. In my experience, you may only get your short-term plans 50% right as you learn and adapt along the way, but at least you are on the right course to more quickly find a way to get what you want.
That is the science behind how goal setting will work to help you achieve in life, the piece – the magic – is purely having the faith that the science (in lock step with the universe) will work. We've seen it work again and again with our goals and those we have worked with. The hit-rate is uncanny in terms of how goals do get achieved as long as they are backed by strong passion, are reviewed daily and you have faith that you will achieve your goals.
What is your experience with goal setting?