There is much discussion these days about the importance of setting goals in order to achieve the things that we wish in life and numerous studies provide evidence that those who set goals achieve far more than those that don't. Brian Tracy puts the importance of setting clear goals beautifully with the analogy of someone shooting at a target in the fog.
Confusion sometimes arises when those of us who go about working towards goals start thinking about goal achievement and start analyzing how we go about it. This has lead to some discussion that it is the process, that one takes part in, that is more important than the goal. Using the same analogy given above this would suggest that it is the shooting in the fog that is most important, alright if you have a lot of bullets, plenty of time and don't really care if you hit the target anyway.
Applying this to our lives and the setting of goals to achieve outcomes it can be easily realized that we could go about our lives utilizing various processes as we all do, however, it is those of us that select predetermined goals before entering into a process and thus provide a direction and target for our energies that ultimately will achieve desirable outcomes quicker and more efficiently.
There are several methodologies available for setting goals, in fact the setting of a goal is a process in itself, and can only be performed if there is a goal in mind! Thus we have a self-reflexive loop set up that is, I suggest dependant on the intention of reaching a goal. I suggest that the process is an essential element of achieving a goal but not more important than the goal itself. The process is selected on the basis of the goal desired not the goal selected because a process is performed.
The process selection or development is an element of the resource requirement of the most well known goal setting criteria and of the "Well Formed Outcome" pattern in Neurosemantics that I have begun a discussion of below. This procedure lends itself very well to the development and setting of goals. I also offer some modifications that recent research has indicated will enhance the achievement of the goals set and offer some further suggestions from my own observations and experience.
Those of you who are familiar with Neurosemantics and NLP will be well aware of the "Well Formed Outcome" method of empowering us to move from a present state to a more empowering state, a goal state. Let us review the criteria and look at how we may use the method for setting goals other than desired states.
1) The desired outcome must be stated in positive language, we therefore state our desired goal in positive terms and language.
2) Describe the desired outcome goal in sensory based terms, what it looks like, feels like, sounds like and even smells and tastes like, in fact what is the experience.
3) The goal must be compelling and desirable.
4) The goal must be suited to your way of life and the way you want to live it,i.e. ecologically appropriate and balanced, it must fit in with the way you want to live your life.
5) You must state the context in which the acquisition of the goal wil be achieved; the where, when how and with whom the goal will be realized.
6) The goal must be able to be self-initiated and self-maintained, be realistic and not dependant on something or someone you have no control over.
7) You must be aware of and be able to obtain the resources necessary to achieve the goal; this is where the required process is most evident, together with the materials and information required to achieve the goal.
8) There has to be a set of criteria that you will compare with that will provide evidence that the goal has been achieved.
9) Although not in the "Well Formed Outcome" pattern there must be a realistic time factor set for the goal to be realized.
I would like to add that the following criteria are also essential in the setting of and achieving of a worthwhile goal:
10) An extension of point (4) above, the goal must be aligned with your values, beliefs and identity, these criteria being what makes up your inner sense of self.
11) Research has shown that the main factor in people not achieving their goals is that they did not take the cost (cost to self and relationships) of achieving there goal into account when setting the goal. You must have an awareness of the cost of achieving the goal in terms of your own identity, your relationships with others and your place in the world, and be prepared to pay the price.
12) You must develop a strong intention to achieve the goal, go forth ferociously and do what it takes and remember:
"Energy Flows Where Attention Goes as Determined by Intention"
I will investigate each of these criteria in depth in further discussions