The key principles of goal setting

Writing down goals, Tribeca Financial

Table of Contents

The secrets to goal setting and achieving your goals

We all want to live happy and fulfilling lives. But we also know that can be far easier said than done.

Goal setting is one proven way that can help us get to where we want to go.

Goals provide purpose, direction and motivation. They give you a target to strive for, they may force you to make new skills, change or move out of your comfort zone and improve yourself to achieve them.

A goal is like your Google Maps – it sets out your starting point, destination and the best way to get your there.  A well-planned and achievable goal can also allow for unexpected forks in the road, allowing you to adjust to the changing circumstances in your life to keep you on track.

So how do you go about goal setting and setting yourself up for success?

Start with your five Ls

Choosing a goal that you truly want to achieve can be difficult. In fact a 2017 study revealed that 73% of Australians struggle to plan out their lives. Of these, 36% admit that they don’t know what they want from life.

Often, the desire to keep up appearances causes us to create goals that we have no real intention or desire to accomplish. If we create goals without really understanding why we’ve chosen them in the first place, we’re setting ourselves up for failure.

To identify what you truly want from life, a great place to start is by thinking about your five L’s – life, love, learn, laugh and legacy. This means looking at:

Tribeca Financial Five Ls - Live
What does your life look like, now and in ten years time?
Tribeca Financial Five Ls - Love
What are your important relationships? How will you nurture them and add value to them?
Tribeca Financial Five Ls - Learn
What are your passions that you’d like to get better at, or things you’d like to try in life?
Tribeca Financial Five Ls - Laugh
What are the things that make you happy? It could be travelling with friends, painting, baking – anything that makes you smile – or even better, laugh.
Tribeca Financial Five Ls - Legacy
What do you want to contribute or give back to society or those around you?

Once you’ve got these figured out, you can then create a statement which encompasses all of your responses. These will form the basis or the “heart” of your goal setting. Any goal that you create should help bring you closer to at least one of your answers for your five Ls.

To learn more about our financial and goal setting tools click here.

Make them SMART

You’ve thought about your five 5 Ls, so now you’re in a great position to start crafting your own goals. The best way to do this is to make them SMART.

SMART stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Timely. You’ll find that your goals are easier to accomplish if you keep these five principles in mind when developing your personal goals.

SMART goals take much of their inspiration from the thoughts and ideas of goal setting gurus Locke & Latham, who in 2009 published their book A Theory of Goal Setting and Task Performance which detailed the five principles of effective goal setting. These five goal setting principles focus on:

Specific goals put you on a direct course to achieving your goals.
How much an individual is attached to their goal will impact achievement.
Challenging goals can improve performance through increased self-satisfaction.
Task Complexity
Overly complex goals may become overwhelming.
Goal setting is more effective in the presence of feedback.

To further build on these principles, the theory of SMART goals was created to offer an easy and practical approach to successful goal setting. Goals that are SMART have a much higher chance of being achieved, as they are simpler to understand, monitor and keep you on track. Here’s how they can help set you up for success:

Goals need to be clearly defined, rather than vague, to put you on a direct course and stay motivated. For example, instead of expressing a retirement goal in general terms such as “living by the beach”, it is better to be more specific, with clearly defined goals such as “owning and living in a unit in a fully serviced 5-star resort complex in the heart of the Gold Coast”.
Ideally, goals should have a quantity attached to them so that their progress can be observed. For example, instead of “improve my fitness”, a measurable goal would be to “complete a 10km run”. This way, you can measure progress and will know when you have achieved your goal.
Goals should be challenging, yet achievable. Locke & Latham identified that a “challenging goals can improve performance through increased self-satisfaction, and the motivation to find suitable strategies to push our skills to the limit”. On the flip side, a goal which is too difficult to accomplish can be discouraging and could lead you to giving up all together. This means that your goal setting will need to consider any aspects that may hinder you, such as your financial situation and time restrictions before finalising your goal.
There’s no point in creating a goal if you aren’t dedicated enough to finish it. Your goal should be important to you and benefit you once completed. This will help you remain committed to reaching it, even when facing obstacles along the way. Ask yourself, why do you want to achieve this goal? Is it really something that you want to accomplish?
A well thought-out goal needs to be given an end date for when you would like to complete it by. To keep you on track, milestones at key times can help you to objectively determine the degree to which a goal is being met and how you are progressing.
Want to Add a Good Life list into your goal setting?

Stay on track

Thinking about your five Ls and applying SMART principles will certainly go a long way to helping you create and achieve goals that are achievable and meaningful. But it can be hard to stay on track, especially if life throws a few curve balls.

Setting goals, Tribeca Financial

So here are a few tips to help maintain the motivation and focus for your goal setting:

Make it small
Taking on a goal can seem overwhelming, so it’s always helpful to break it down into bite-sized portions. Map out some small milestone achievements you’ll need to hit in order to reach your overall goal. It’ll make your goal much easier to tackle, won’t leave you discouraged and is a great way to keep tabs on how you’re progressing.
Write it down
This might appear simple, but there’s a lot of evidence to back this up. You’re actually 42% more likely to achieve your goals simply by writing them down on a regular basis.

So, put your goal in writing to make it official and remind yourself to complete it. There’s also a great sense of satisfaction you’ll get from ticking off milestones and that end goal when you reach it!
Tell a friend
It’s easy to give up if no one knows what you’re doing. Our tip? Tell someone about your goal and make it public. Research has shown that you increase your chances of achieving success when you share your goal with someone else and keep them informed of your progress. Often, just the knowledge that you will make someone proud is enough to give you the extra incentive and motivation to keep you on track towards reaching your goals.
Check in
Sometimes life will get in the way and create roadblocks, blocking the path to your goal. Get past these with ease by checking in. Regularly pencil in some time to check in on your progress and make sure you’re on the right path to achieving your goal. This can be done quarterly for long-term goals, and more frequently for short-term goals. If you discover you’re falling behind, use this time to adjust your plan to stay on track towards your goal.

Live your Good Life

At Tribeca we focus a lot on helping our clients set and work towards their financial and lifestyle goals, that’s because both play a major part in shaping the life people want to live.

For more ideas and tools for goal setting you can download our free Goal Setting eBook.
And if you want help visualising how you can achieve your Good Life, or are curious to find out how your goals can be realised, feel free to give us a call on 1300 388 285 or book in a free 15-minute consultation here.
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