How specific are you with your goals? We all know that when it comes to setting a goal, we need to be specific. In fact, the more specific, the better. This is because when we know exactly what kind of results we want, we are able to take specific and measurable steps to achieve them. In this article, you’re going to learn how to set specific goals and make them crystal clear.
But before we talk about being specific, you have to understand what goal setting really is.
When you set a goal, you are setting an intention for what you want.
You are giving yourself a specific result to achieve within a specific time frame. You are giving yourself a destination you want to reach and how to get there.
This is why being specific with what you want is important.
The Benefits of Setting Specific Goals
We all know that we have to be specific with our goals. We even say that one of the main reasons people fail to achieve what they want is they are not being specific enough.
A lot of people say that they want to be happy, they want to be rich, and they want to healthy. But these are vague goals that are not specific.
When people set these kinds of goals, they are bound to fail because they are too broad and general.
Here are the 3 advantages of being specific when it comes to setting goals:
1. Being specific gives you the ability to focus
Yes, when you are being specific, it allows you to focus better. For example, saying that you want to exercise to lose 10 pounds is more specific than just saying that you want to lose weight.
When your goal is specific, it gives you greater focus. You will know what you need to do when your objectives are specific.
If your goals are broad and vague, you may feel overwhelmed and have no idea where to focus.
2. When your goals are specific, they drive you
“Clarity is power,” said Tony Robbins. And yes, he is absolutely right. When it comes to achieving something you want, being specific gives you more motivation.
Which of the 2 scenarios below excites you more?
- To have a 10-day holiday, or
- To have a 10-day holiday in Hawaii, take the Jurassic Park tour, ride a helicopter circling the island, and enjoy the white sandy beach while sipping the famous rainbow drink.
So, which one of the goals above sound more exciting to you? The choice is obvious, the second and more specific goal, isn’t it?
This is the power of clarity. When you are specific with your goals, you become more motivated to achieve them.
And this is why we often encourage people to set specific goals – they drive you!
3. Setting specific goals give rise to a more viable and actionable plan
Do you know that one of the key reasons you want to be specific with your goals is you want to have a better plan?
You see, when you are vague and you blur with what you want to accomplish, it is difficult to come up with a plan. It will be difficult for you to formulate an action plan when things are not specific.
You cannot come up with a blueprint of a house if you don’t know how the house is going to look like, right?
For instance, if your goal is to get rich, what should you do or what is your plan? Well, there are a lot of things you can do to get rich. You can invest in real estate, start a business, build a website and sell something, get into sales, invest in the stock market, etc.
But when you are specific like if you set your goal as to earn your first $100,000 from real estate, then you can clearly formulate a plan.
See, when your goals are specific, it becomes easier for you to create an action plan to get there.
How to Set Specific Goals and Achieve Them
Now that you understand the importance of having specific goals, but you may ask, “how can I make my goals specific?”
Setting goals doesn’t need to be complicated. You can make your goals specific and to-the-point by following these 5 guidelines below:
1. Make Your Goals Measurable
First, make sure your goals are measurable. You want to make sure what you want to achieve is quantifiable. Meaning, you can measure the results.
Goals such as ‘to be happy’ or ‘to become rich’ are not measurable. How do you know when you’re going to be happy?
Ask yourself this question: What has to happen in order for me to [goals/results]?
For example, if you want to live a happier life, ask yourself, “what has to happen for me to feel happy?”
Your mind will then search for answers. You will come up with something quantifiable like “when I’m smiling”, “when I make my wife laugh”, or “when I’m able to enjoy playtime with my kids”.
For instance, when you’re able to have undisturbed playtime with your kids, you’re happy. Hence, it gives you an idea of what you need to do to achieve your goal, which is to be happy.
This is how you make your goals specific and crystal clear, by making them measurable.
You can’t manage what you can’t measure.
2. Identify the Lead and Lag Measures
Another powerful way to make your goals specific is to identify the lead and lag measures. To fully grasp the concept of lead and lag, I suggest you read my guide below:
How to Use Lead and Lag Measures to Achieve Your Goals
Many times, we focus on the lag measure. For example, getting rich is a lag measure. Losing weight is a lag measure. To increase sales from X to Y is also a lag measure.
A lag measure is something that you can’t control and work on.
Instead, you need to focus on the lead measure.
A lead measure is something you can work on that will give you the result you want, which is a lag measure.
Take a look at this picture below and you will understand better:
For example, if your goal is to lose weight, losing weight is a lag measure. What you need to focus on and work on is not on the lag measure. You should focus and work on the lead measure, which is exercise and diet.
When you exercise and stick to your diet plan, you will achieve the lag measure.
The same goes for every other goal you want to achieve.
If you want to build a successful blog (lag measure), you should focus and work on publishing quality content (lead measure) and marketing your blog (lead measure).
If you are in sales and you want to double your sales in 3 months (lag measure), you need to focus and work on prospecting (lead measure) and improving your sales presentation (lead measure).
Therefore, identify your lead and lag measures for your goals. And work on the right measures to produce real results.
3. Create a Game Plan
You can’t be specific without a game plan. Many people set goals, but they don’t have an action plan.
This is like saying they daydream about building their dream house, but they don’t have the layout plan or the blueprint, yet they keep chasing the contractors and other parties to get their house built.
Sounds ridiculous, isn’t it?
Yet, this is exactly what is happening to most people. They have goals, but they don’t have an actionable plan.
Again, I have covered a huge detail of how you can turn your goals into an actionable plan in this guide below, you should read it:
How to Turn Your Goals into Actionable Plans
Remember, your action plan is the key to achieving your goals. It helps you to be specific and more importantly, your plan shows you what you need to do to produce results.
Just like having a vacation overseas, you can’t just find out which country you want to go, you need a plan, an itinerary for your trip.
Thus, if you don’t have an actionable plan yet, create one right now.
4. Track Your Progress
Do you know that tracking helps you be specific with your goals too? You can’t track something vague.
When it comes to tracking, it means you need to have a scoreboard. Like watching a basketball game, there is a huge scoreboard to show the score for both teams and how much time left.
And you need to constantly update your scoreboard.
In the best-selling book, The Compound Effect, Darren Hardy wrote:
“Do you know how the casinos make so much money in Vegas? Because they track every table, every winner, every hour. Why do Olympic trainers get paid top dollar? Because they track every workout, every calorie, and every micronutrient for their athletes. All winners are trackers.”
I hope this inspired you to track your goals and progress. By the way, The Compound Effect is one of my top 10 success books. You should get the book.
5. Review Your Results
Besides tracking, you must also review and evaluate your goals regularly.
You have to understand that goal setting is not something you do for once and then forget. It is something you need to do consistently.
How do you master a skill? Through improvement and repetition.
And how do you master and achieve your goals? Through tracking and reviewing them.
To achieve your goals, you must find out what works and what doesn’t, and then improve your action plan to become more effective.
Sadly, most people don’t do so. They write down their goals once and then go on and live their life. And soon enough, they forget about their goals and eventually quit.
Never let this happen to you. Review your goals once a week or at least once a month.
So, should you set specific goals? And after going through this guide, I believe you know what you need to do to make your goals specific and crystal clear.
Remember the 5 ways to make your goals specific:
- Make them measurable.
- Identify the lead and lag measure.
- Make a game plan.
- Tracking your progress.
- Review your goals often.
When you are being specific, you are setting yourself up to win.
This article was written by Shawn Lim.
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