Does goal setting work? | © Fola Daniel Adelesi

When I teach people about planning for a year and setting goals for themselves, one of the questions that usually come up is ‘does goal setting work?’ I can confidently say that even when I have forgotten about some of the goals that I set before, those goals still become achieved at the set time.

As far back as 1996 when I was a first year student in a secondary school, I remember saying to my colleagues that I will become the Senior Prefect when in my sixth year. My friends laughed at me and they thought it was impossible. Eventually, I became the senior prefect when I got to the final year in secondary school. At some point it looked like it wasn’t going to happen. A few things happened that made me think it was over. Eventually, it happened.

I also remember that in the year 2008, I told someone I was going to get married in the year 2012. The person I was dating is different from the person I eventually got married to. Again, several things happened and it didn’t look like the 2012 goal was going to become a reality. The first was that my then fiancé and I went our separate ways in 2010. So I needed to start all over.

If you understand the Nigerian system, you will know that a lot of people don’t have short dates and run to the altar. Eventually, my youth service that I was supposed to have started in 2008 came through in 2010. I went for it, met my wife there in July 2010 and got married March 2012.

When I bring it down to a few smaller things, I remember the issue of a phone that I wanted buy. At the time I say the commercial, I had no money to buy the phone so I collected the handbill that advertised the phone. Some months down the line, after I had forgotten completely about it, I went into a store to buy a phone. They didn’t have what I liked so the only that I felt was good enough happened to be that same phone I had always wanted to buy. Guess what, I didn’t remember I had always wanted phone until I got back home and I saw the handbill I collected several months back in the drawer of my desk while cleaning up!

My wife and I got married in 2012 and we moved to an outskirt of town even though we had options to stay in the main town. As soon as we got into that new house, I set a five year goal for us to relocate to another place. So it means we were going to relocate in 2017. Sometimes in 2015, the urge to move out became very strong and we made some moves. When I went back into my office within the house, I saw that goal again. Then I said to my wife, ‘do you realize that I had actually set a goal for us to move out of this place by 2017?’ Now we have started working on that and we have one more year to hit that goal. Interestingly, people have been giving me some information that will help make the goal a reality.

I have given you a number of my personal experiences to let you know that goal setting works. You will also see that in the examples I have given, I had even forgotten about some of them but I still went on to achieve them only to see them written down somewhere.

That should tell you if you are really serious about a goal and you set it, you can hit that goal. When a goal becomes a part of you, it goes beyond what you have written on paper. It gets into your mind and starts living there. It goes into your subconscious when you even sleep and dream. I even think that the goal becomes a sensor in your head that gives you a signal when you are doing things that align with the goal and another signal when you are doing things that don’t align with the goal.

Don’t take goal setting for granted. It works and it makes your life a lot more organised and productive.

 

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