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Goal Setting: Increase Productivity by Focusing on Your End Goal

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Goal Setting—Think about the path you are heading down. What is your end goal? What do you want to accomplish?

If you aren't sure, ask yourself: "If I achieved success on this project, task, or endeavor, what would that success look like?" Or, "If I arrived at the end of this path and was really happy, what would that happiness look like? What would my journey have included?"

Often times, we'll plan all of the steps to get us from A to Z on a particular project without first stopping and asking ourselves what we hope to achieve. Regardless of whether we are going on a trip to reconnect with a loved one, are helping out in our kids' classroom to be more involved in their education, or are volunteering at a homeless shelter to better our community, knowing the end before planning the beginning and middle is what will help us achieve the success we're after.

Simply put: You must know your end goal before setting out on the path to accomplish it.

4 Tips to Successful Goal Setting

Here's some simple ways to identify your end goals:

  1. Identify your values. Ask yourself: "What do I value most?" Examples could include reliability, honesty, and respect.
  2. Create your mission and vision. Creating a vision board and a mission statement are two great starting point. A family manifesto is also a great idea. I particularly like this one by Isabel from Alphamom. Start by identifying what, if you accomplished it, would have the greatest impact on you, what you want to be, do, and have. If you are creating a mission or vision for a project or for your family, expand that to identify what you'd want your family, for example, to accomplish. And, what you'd want your family to be, do, and have.
  3. Set your goal. Figure out what you will accomplish and by when. For example: "I will lose 10 pounds and increase my strength by December 31, 2011."
  4. Identify the Steps to reach your goal. Once you have identified your end goal and are clear on your direction, you are ready to create the steps to reach that goal. Based on the above example, some possible steps could include: "Work out 3 times per week. Meet weekly with a personal trainer to assess my progress."

What goal-setting process do you follow? What helps you achieve success when working toward a goal? How does identifying your values, mission, and vision up front make a difference?

Note: This content is based on Habit 2: Begin With the End in Mind from The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. Covey.
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An active part of the Mom It Forward team, Jyl primarily writes about parenting, social good, and all things travel related. In a past life, Jyl was an award-winning copywriter and designer of corporate training programs for Fortune 100 companies. Offline, Jyl is married to @TroyPattee; a mom to two teen boys and a beagle named #Hashtag; loves large amounts of cheese, dancing, and traveling; and lives in the beautiful Rocky Mountains. Topping her bucket list is the goal to visit 50 countries by the time she's 50.

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