Be Precise

One technique which has helped me see my goals come to fruition is being precise in the way I express them. Being precise helps me visualise what I am trying to do which makes the outcome much more achievable.

For example, it’s much more empowering to say, “I will contribute seven hundred words a day,” than, “One day I’m going to write a novel.” Similarly, a statement such as, “I’m going to get fitter,” is less likely to inspire me to action (let alone an outcome) than, “I will run five kilometres at 6:30AM on Monday, Wednesday and Friday.”

Expressing goals in these precise terms makes them much more achievable. The task of going for a run tomorrow is much more tangible than the nebulous aim of getting fitter. Whereas I might actually get out of bed for the former, the latter will most likely see me hit the snooze button and roll over.

Once I have listed my goals in precise language, I also think about the obstacles that stand in my way and the steps I’ll need to take to get there. By doing this, I’m able to frame realistic and precise goals that are very achievable and move me toward your desired end game.

Doing this level of planning is also likely to motivate me to follow through on my goals. In doing this planning, I visualise how the achievement of the goal will make me feel and I also cater for contingencies, difficulties and a continual progression toward the end state.

Doing this in a realistic manner gives me a better chance of hitting my target.

Reference: Although this is a practice I have long followed, Heidi Grant Halvorson sums it up very well in Nine Things Successful People Do Differently, published by Harvard Business Review Press, Boston, Massachusetts.


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