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Mark Raciappa
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                     Effective Goal-Setting

                                            By Mark Raciappa


            Before we formulate goals, it is imperative that we get ourselves into the right frame of mind.  A powerful exercise is “Above the Point of Power/Below the Point of Power”.  Those who live “below the point” Blame others for their troubles, make Excuses for why things don’t turn out as expected, and Deny that they have any control over their outcomes.  These folks are the “victims” in this world and really have never “gotten out of BED”.  Those who live “above the point” take Ownership of their ideas, are Accountable for their behavior, and Responsible for their outcomes.  These folks are the “victors” in life and use their positive values as the “OAR” that propels them.  It is imperative that we commit to being “above the point” to set meaningful and achievable goals.


            Meaningful goals must be in SMART format: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Result-oriented, and set in a Timeframe.  Every goal must pass this ‘5-way test” if we are to position ourselves for success.  For example, a goal of “I’m going to get organized” has virtually no chance of success.  It’s too vague (not specific enough), not measurable (how will you know it’s been accomplished?), no outcome (what is to be gained?), no deadline (by when?).  How about this: “I will develop a new marketing plan for my business with strategies and timelines by April 30.”  Now all you have to do is “map” the pre-requisite steps in the time allocated and get to work!


            There are 6 important questions you must ask yourself as you prepare:

  1. What do you want? (specific)
  2. Why do you want it? (vision)
  3. Why do you not already have it? (achievable) 
  4. What are the benefits sought? (result-oriented)
  5. How will you know when you’ve achieved it? (measurable)
  6. How long will it take? (time)


In order to achieve different outcomes, we realize that we may have to do some different things, that is we may have to CHANGE.  The Formula for change is:


D x V + F > R.  D represents dissatisfaction with the way things are.  V is vision for how things could be better coupled with the belief that if we take action it will make a difference.  F is the first step that will be necessary.  All of these must combine to overcome (be greater than ) our natural human Resistance to change.  There are 2 main reasons that people stay where they are (don’t/won’t change): FEAR, which is acronym for False Expectations Appearing Real and Self-Sabotage.  5 keys to embracing “change” are:


  1. Expect it to be Good
  2. Use it to Grow
  3. Get involved
  4. Be flexible
  5. Own it!


Having considered all of the “inputs”, there are 6 keys to Planning:


  1. Think it through (Find some quiet time and get focused)
  2. Write it down (3 % of people have written goals-they control 98% of wealth)
  3. Make it SMART
  4. Read it twice daily (Affirm & Remind)
  5. Get someone to hold you accountable (MOST important)
  6. Adjust quickly (Things change-be ready to move).


The successful accomplishment of our goals implies:

  1. That we know what we want (not as easy as it sounds);
  2. That what we want exceeds what would happen without action and effort;
  3. That we possess a high level of commitment to achieving them.


A few examples will help to illustrate this.  For those of you that are married (or have been), think back to the period of time which elapsed between the onset of your engagement and the actual wedding ceremony.  You and your fiancé were laser-focused on consummating your wedding vows on the appointed day, place and time.  You pushed through every obstacle that popped up (invitation, food, music, flowers, etc) because of your insatiable desire to achieve the goal.  Now, recall your last family vacation.  The reservations are made, plans are set, the family is ready.  What happens during the last 2-3 days before you leave?  You are a machine taking care of last-minute details, work assignments, tying up loose ends, etc.  You are more efficient and productive because of your determination to get done and get gone.  In either of those examples, you know what you’re capable of when the chips are down.  Decide on what you want, set the goal(s), and apply the commitment necessary to achieve what you want.

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