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In our professional and personal lives, we are constantly writing goals to try and motivate ourselves and direct our behavior. Perhaps your goal is to complete a certain amount of work in x-time, perhaps it is to increase profits by so much, or maybe it’s to get into great shape and lose fat.

Either way, goals are a big part of our lives for most of us. Only problem is, a lot of us don’t know the best way to write these goals if we want to actually achieve them and this creates problems.

The Problem With Most Goals

The goal of ‘losing weight’ or even ‘losing X pounds’ is one that you’ll see commonly and that is similar to the goal of ‘growing profits’ in business. Either way, this is an example of an abstract goal that has no structure and that has very little chance of coming to fruition.

The problem with goals like this is that they are a) vague and b) largely out of your control. If your goal is to increase profits or get into shape by next year, what does this involve doing on a daily basis? It’s all too easy to not be productive towards that goal daily because you probably think you can worry about it later – or because you don’t even know how to go about achieving it. At the same time, the fact that earning more profit depends on external factors like market conditions means you might blame those things rather than giving it your best – and it means you’re likely to become disheartened when things don’t go immediately to plan.

How to Write Goals Correctly

A much better plan for getting into shape is to follow this goal: work out at least four times a week. Now you have a goal that is completely within your control, that is completely concrete and that you can very clearly fail or succeed at. And if you stick to this goal, then eventually you’ll find that your body shape takes care of itself.

The same goes for business: instead of making your goal be ‘raise profits’, it should instead be ‘do at least one thing every day that expands the business’ or ‘invest X amount of money into marketing’.

Make sure that your goals are closer to plans rather than vague desires and you’ll find they are considerably more effective as a result.