Recently, we discussed the four primary components of a goal in detail, so now let’s look at the importance they play in our future goal setting. The best way to do this is to build a goal, and investigate the negative effects of not including the various qualifiers we discussed last week. For our example, let’s start with:
“I’m going to visit the Grand Canyon.”
Great! We have an Action, a “what,” something we are going to do. That’s it though, that’s all we have. The reason goals are so useful is that they give people a reason to push themselves towards a particular accomplishment. The problem with a simple goal like this one is that it doesn’t have that “push.” There is nothing in this goal that drives a person towards achieving it.
When qualifiers are left out, they don’t go away, they just take on a state of being implied rather than defined. The goal, with its implied qualifiers actually reads:
“I’m going to visit the Grand Canyon eventually, at least once.“
Pretty vague. Doesn’t exactly portray any real sense of determination, does it? It also doesn’t set us up for constructive goal revising. With this goal we’ll ask ourselves “Have I gone to the Grand Canyon, at least once, yet?” and the answer will be “No, but I said “eventually” so there is still time,” and we are left with no reason to revise anything.
Now, if we add or rather define a qualifier (remember, undefined qualifiers don’t disappear, they just become implied), this simple goal takes on totally new life:
“I’m going to visit the Grand Canyon before I’m 40.”
Wow! All we did was define a simple Deadline and we now have a goal that will actually drive us toward achieving our Action. Now when we evaluate our goal we will be getting closer and closer to that deadline, which will drive us to act.
What about a Quantity? Or a Method?
“I’m going to visit the Grand Canyon 6 times before I’m 40, by setting aside $30 dollars a week.”
There. Replace your original, Action only goal with this new qualified goal and I’m pretty sure you’ll be going on a lot more vacations. This goal will drive you to look at how far off your Deadline is, how much of your Quantity is still to be met in that time and a Method of how you will accomplish what you are striving for.
It allows you to assess if your Method is effective enough as you approach the Deadline and perhaps modify one, or both of those qualifiers as needed.
Ultimately, the more you qualify your goal, the more effectively it can drive you to succeed, and the more readily it can be revised to be attained in the future. Obviously, not all goals are created equal. Sometimes you will need to replace your Deadline with a Frequency, for example if you wanted to visit the Grand Canyon once a year, or make ten sales every month. Along with your Frequency you might want to add a Duration, determining how long you want to maintain the Action.
The important lesson to learn is that the different aspects of your goals are important keys to your success. When a goal seems out of reach, don’t despair, simply reevaluate, revise and retry.