Goal setting is something we all do in our lives. It can be personal like giving up smoking or losing weight. Or it could be a professional goal such as reaching a particular sales target, achieving a particular grade in your company or, if you are running a business, breaking into a new market for getting a certain number clients.

Usually at the beginning of this process there is some long-term vision in mind. People don't dream goals out of thin air, they come from an inner desire that is driving you forward. And this shows that you are a person who wants to move forward, who wants to progress. You don't want things to stay the same because if you did there would be no need to set goals.

So as you set your goals you have to begin with the end in mind. Detail exactly what it is you're trying to achieve. If it is a business goal it will have some sort of measurement attached to it, for example, number of widgets sold, percentage increase on turnover and so on. If you are in a corporate environment and someone is setting these targets for you the goal setting process is essentially being done for you because the measurement has been set. But this is that someone else’s goal and you have to make it your own if you are going to achieve the sales success.

If you are running your own business or setting a personal goal it is easy to skip the measurement part and keep your goal very general. Another word for this is wishy-washy. You may have experienced this if you've made New Year’s resolutions. A goal of ‘I'm going to lose some weight’ doesn't have much essence of measurement in it and is too vague -- that forgetting to stay exactly how much weight and in what time frame means that when you don't reach the goal it's less noticeable.

So refusing to set the measurement of the achievement of your goal may take away some of the pain of not reaching the goal, but it is also setting you up for failure. Making a distinct external measurable goal takes a bit more bravery because it will be obvious if you don't get there. But it is much more likely to be achieved. And this is what you want for your personal life and your business.

So here are some tips for goal setting:

* Make a goal specific and measurable (yes, I know you've heard that before but it's still true).

* If your goal is being set by other people reframe it so that it means something to you.

* Make the goal big enough for it to really matter to you but not so big that it overwhelms you (think of Goldilocks; the porridge has to be just right!).

* Tell other people about your goal so that you can be visibly accountable (choose people who will support you).

* Attach to your goal some element of fun and link it to your brighter future.

* Plan some non-goal-directed time as well so that you can be human and reach your goals!

(c) 2010 Liz Copeland

Author's Bio: 

Liz Copeland is the True Courage Coach. If you are on the brink of something big and want to move forward or if you are being forced to take a big step True Courage Coaching will support you. So if you’ve lost the job, your partner or your waistline and you want to get to step up and into your ideal future get started right away with your free True Courage Creation Kit at http://www.truecouragecoaching.com