10 rules for setting goals that can change your life

Mitch Meyerson seems to have a bit too much energy. He’s written more books (mostly on guerilla and online marketing) than you have thank-you notes, and I suspect that he somehow pumps out how-to downloads while he power naps. The good news is that his advice is warm, encouraging and spot-on. Start with this advice from his 2005 book Success Secrets of Online Marketing Superstars. It could realign your whole life.

In the book he interviews Mark Victor Hansen, co-author of the best-selling Chicken Soup for the Soul series. Together they tackle how to get around to those really big goals you somehow haven’t touched yet. The saccharine can be a little off-putting, but read closely. I suspect that my own sensitivity to his “I can sell you anything” approach is just resistance in disguise.

Mitch starts by asking just three questions:

1) Do I have clear, written and measurable goals for my business and personal growth?
2) Have I created specific action steps required to achieve each goal?
3) Do I regularly track and measure the progress of each of my goals?

Then he shares Mark’s tips about goal setting:

1) Your most important goals must be yours.

Not your spouse’s. Not your child’s. Not your employer’s. Yours. When you let other people determine your definition of success, you’re sabotaging your own future.

2) Your goals must mean something to you.

When you write your goals, you must ask yourself, “What’s really important to me?” “What am I prepared to give up to make this happen?” Your reasons for charting a new course of action give you the drive and energy to get up every morning.

3) Your goals must be specific and measurable.

Vague generalizations and wishy-washy statements aren’t good enough. Be very specific!

4) Your goals must be flexible.

A flexible plan keeps you from feeling suffocated and allows you to take advantage of genuine opportunities that walk in your future door.

5) Your goals must be challenging, exciting.

Force yourself to jump out of your comfort zone to acquire that energy and edge.

6) Your goals must be in alignment with your values.

Pay attention to your intuition, your gut. When you set a goal that contradicts your values, something inside will twinge. Pay attention.

7) Your goals must be well-balanced.

Make sure you include areas that allow time to relax, have fun and enjoy people in your closest circle.

8) Your goals must be realistic.

Be expansive but don’t be ridiculous. If you’re four feet tall, you will probably never play in the NBA. Also, be sure to allow yourself time to get there.

9) Your goals must include contribution.

Unfortunately, many people get so wrapped up in pursuing their goals that they don’t have time in their lives to give something back to society. Build this into your goals program.

10) Your goals need to be supported.

Either [selectively] share a few of your dreams with a number of people, or share all of your dreams with a select few people. In either case, you’re creating a web of support and accountability for yourself.

Open your mind to all the possibilities. Start each goal with “I am” or “I will.” Don’t even think about restricting yourself!

Read the whole post at his blog, Mastering Online Marketing.

I originally posted this article on Here it is Tomorrow Again, a blog I published between 2009 and 2011.

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