Putting goals in writing and learning to formulate them logically and realistically can make the difference between success and failure. 

Goal setting is a powerful process for thinking about your future, motivating yourself and turning a vision of the future into reality.

The process of setting goals helps us choose where we want to go in life. By knowing precisely what we want to achieve, we know where we have to concentrate our efforts. We’ll also quickly spot the distractions that would otherwise detract us from our course.

In addition, properly set goals can be incredibly motivating. As we get into the habit of setting and achieving goals, we will find that our self-confidence builds fast.

Achieving goals is like a sporting event-no matter the playing field, a basketball court or the offices in an organization-those who score are the ones who move ahead and stay in front of the competition. They are the people who are successful and move up in the organization.

You need to ask yourself, “Will I be one of those successful people? Do I have what it takes to succeed?” 

There are steps you can take to ensure you are prepared for success. One of these steps is to put together a list of goals and objectives for both your professional and personal lives.

Goals serve as road maps. They are plans detailing how to get from point A to point B in a logical sequence. There are a few basic rules for goal- setting. In the book, Smart Moves, authors Sam Deep and Lyle Sussman, provide a list of 10 rules to follow when developing goals or objectives. For these 10 rules, I provide the list that the book discusses, and my interpretations of each rule.

1. Goals should be specific. Don’t set a goal to lose weight. Instead, set a goal to lose 10 pounds by a specific date, for example.

2. Goals should be quantitative rather than qualitative. Don’t tell yourself that you will read more. Set an objective to read 10 books by the end of the year.

3. Goals should be challenging, yet achievable. If goals are too aggressive they will have the power to be disappointing and discouraging. When your goals are so far-reaching and impossible to achieve, they will not provide a motivating force. Many organizations continually set far-reaching goals or objectives which are impossible to meet and demoralize their work force.

4. Individual goals should be linked to group goals. It is important to link your goals to the success of the team. Accomplishing individual goals will help everyone succeed. 

5. Goals should be planned with the participation of those they affect. Goals should have involvement from those they affect. This creates engagement and synergy among the team which will be highly effective.

6. Goals should reflect critical success factors. Critical success factors are those issues, behaviors, performance standards, and other elements that spell success or failure.  Put primary focus on these goals.

7. Goals should be mutually reinforcing. One goal should not have to be achieved at the expense of others. Goals must be taken as a whole in order to be really successful.

8. Goals should focus not only on ends but also on the means. The way goals are accomplished should not be separated from how they are accomplished. Maintain integrity, honesty and ensure that you protect your values.

9. Developing oneself and developing subordinates should be part of every manager’s set of goals. Sharing with and mentoring others is a critical part of everyone’s responsibility- especially critical for those in positions of authority.

10. Goals should be written down. If it isn’t written down, it won’t really serve as a goal. It certainly will not be a shared goal if not recorded and communicated.

The journey toward any goal is as important as the goal itself. It is not the trophy or reward, but the journey, and the things learned along that journey, that is important.