How to Set Goals in 5 Simple Steps - Outward Bound

How to Set Goals in 5 Simple Steps

Change is hard – you’ve probably noticed that! At the end of your Outward Bound experience, you’re probably at your most enthusiastic and inspired to develop new behaviours and become a better person. However back in the reality of day-to-day life it’s sometimes difficult to actually stick to these new behaviours and achieve your goals.

So what can we do to make change easier? Research[i] conducted on 5000 participants from around the world identified key techniques that people used most frequently to achieve their goals. These five techniques significantly increased the likelihood of people successfully achieving their aims:

Technique 1 - Have a plan

Chunk your big goals down into a series of sub-goals which are concrete, measurable and time-based. If you don’t have any idea of where you’re going, you’re just going to wander around lost. Or as author Zig Ziglar once famously remarked “people tend not to wander around and then suddenly find themselves on Mount Everest!” A dead-line is also important as it helps create some urgency to take some action.

Technique 2 – Go public

You are more likely to be successful if you tell your friends, family and colleagues about your goals. Apparently people are more likely to stick to their views and promises if they have gone public. Think about sharing the goals you set at Outward Bound, even if it was a while ago!

Technique 3 – Remind yourself of the benefits

Those who ended up making and maintaining permanent changes to their lives tended to frequently remind themselves of the benefits associated with achieving those goals. Frequently remind yourself of the “why” your goal is important.

Technique 4 – Have rewards in place

Make sure that your sub-goals have a reward attached to it. It will give you something to look forward to and provide a sense of achievement.

Technique 5 – Put them in writing

Make your plans, progress, benefits and rewards as concrete as possible by expressing them in writing. Keep a hand-written journal, use a computer, cover your fridge or noticeboard with graphs or pictures. A participant from one of my courses told me how she laminated her goals onto A3 paper and then put copies all around her flat, including the bathroom.
Following these five techniques can help make your goal a reality. And as author Mark Victor Hansen once said “By recording your dreams and goals on paper, you set in motion the process of becoming the person you most want to be. Put your future in good hands — your own.”

Haven't been on Outward Bound yet? Discover how it is designed to transform your life and help you reach your goals here.

[i] Source: “59 Seconds” by Professor Richard Wiseman

5 simple steps to set goals

Haven't been on Outward Bound yet?Discover how it is designed to transform your life and help you reach your goals here.


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About Tania Gough

Tania has held a range of human resource management and consultancy roles in the New Zealand public and private sectors in the last twenty years. She has extensive experience working with organisational teams facilitating goal setting, problem solving and team development. She also regularly facilitates our Outward Bound Navigator Leadership Programme.

Tania is passionate about helping different generations in the workplace value each other and work together for more productive outcomes. Her learnings and experiences have inspired her development of a programme for Gen Y’s entering the workforce.