When you think of successful goal setting, what kind of picture comes to mind? Do you see yourself with all the things that accompany wealth like a luxury home and fancy car? Do you think of the respect and prestige you’ll receive once you finally make your mark on the world? Or perhaps you imagine the sense of pride you’ll experience when your accomplishments are acknowledged by those who doubted you.
Certainly, successful goal setting can bring all of those benefits and more. But as great as those benefits might seem, they cannot come close to matching the benefits that take place internally.
Successful goal setting is an inside job
While being successful is often viewed outwardly as a rather mechanical process of setting and achieving goals that ultimately produce a variety of tangible assets. That’s just the part of the experience that others are likely to notice. The greatest benefit of repeatedly going through the goal setting process is what happens to the inner person along the way. When we look at successful people there is a tendency to focus on all of the external trappings, but success is really a journey of self discovery. It’s a journey that leads to, and grows out of, personal changes that take place on a core level.
Unfortunately, it is all too easy to get so sidetracked by the glitz and grind that we forget to appreciate what’s happening internally. When we constantly dig into our creative, problem solving resources in an effort to move toward and accomplish our goals, it changes us. The personal growth that accompanies goal setting causes our view of what is possible to continually expand. And being aware of these internal changes adds another dimension to the value of goal setting.
How to focus on the personal growth value of goal setting
If you want to make sure that you enjoy these internal benefits on your goal setting experiences, it’s important to maintain your focus on the following:
1) Continuously expand your vision of what is possible for your life. A successful person knows that they are capable of much more than most people think is possible. While they may start with smaller goals to build momentum, they know that those goals will grow in magnitude as they progressively overcome their own limitations.
Be sure you are always open to unconventional and creative ways to expand your horizons. If you keep your focus on the point just beyond where you think your capabilities might end, you’ll soon discover ways to go beyond those imaginary boundaries.
2) Stretch your comfort zone at every opportunity. In addition to believing you are capable of more, you should strive to prove it to yourself as often as you can. Don’t just dream big and plan big – act big! Push yourself outside your comfort zone and trust that your internal resources will lead you to new and exciting opportunities.
With every step forward, your self confidence will grow and so will your resourcefulness. We all have untapped abilities. The only way to access those abilities is to push ourselves into a place where we actually need to use them. That place is almost always outside our current comfort zone.
3) Let your personal growth show in the person you become. Rather than trying to impress others with what you can do, have done, or acquired, let your character and demeanor convey the true depth of your personal growth. The outer trappings acquired through successful goal setting may be impressive, but in reality, people of character care more about who you are as a person than what you have.
The inner journey is what counts
A truly successful person doesn’t need to say a word about their accomplishments because it’s part of who they are. Their inner personal growth is always evident in subtle but powerful ways.
The greatest thing about focusing on the internal aspects of goal setting is that external success then becomes the natural expression of your internal state. Of course, by then, those external things just seem like a nice bonus compared to the personal growth that you’ve enjoyed along the way.
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