Musselman Development

The Power of Defining Goals, Ideals, and Standards

5 mins ·

Through personal experience and reading both the observations of others and the histories of successful companies, I have come to an undeniable truth. There is nothing more powerful in changing your life (aside from pursuing faith) than clearly defining the goals, ideals, and standards of the ideal that you wish to achieve.

Many men thought the ages have told themselves that they want to be a better man whether it be for themselves or for those they love. Sadly though, in the current age there is less and less guidance from those around us to point us in the correct direction. Most of what we see on the internet is either designed to keep us scrolling or to make money off us while providing a rehash of advice given by those in the past. I can see the effect that it is having on my own generation, and it is a bit disheartening. Due to that fact I have decided to sit down and share what I have learned so far in hopes that I can hopefully change the life of at least one person.

To start off I want to state that change is not easy, but it is always worth it. If you stick to working hard on the self-improvement strategies that I share hopefully it will make it a little more accessible and a lot less daunting.

As a first step I want you to go to a place that is secluded and quiet. You will be doing a good portion of thinking (and praying for guidance if you are religious). The first step in any plan is to have an end goal. That end goal in our case would be achieving the ideals, goals, and standards that we are about to lay out. With them, we can start planning the steps needed to move towards them. I want to restate the importance of this step. This is the person or business you are trying to become. There is no goal to lofty if you are willing to put in the work for it. In embarking on the journey of self-improvement, defining goals, ideals, and standards as clearly as possible is vital. This initial process lays the foundation for effective progress and transformation in the future.

The next step in the process is Breaking these overarching aspirations into actionable steps is where the power of SMART goals comes in.

Smart goals are: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound objectives that will provide structure to your aspirations, enabling incremental progress. To transform a goal into a SMART goal, you must first make it Specific by clearly defining what exactly needs to be accomplished. For example, instead of saying “I want to learn a new language,” a specific goal would be “I will dedicate an hour a day to practicing Esperanto vocabulary and pronunciation every day.” Next, ensure the task can be measured by establishing tangible criteria to track progress and success. For instance, if the goal is to “enhance digital marketing skills,” a measurable goal could be “increase product orders by 25% within a three-month time frame through finding and implementing SEO improvements to the product pages.” Make the goal Achievable by setting realistic objectives that are within reach. Instead of aiming to compete in a body building competition without training, a more sensible goal could be “complete a body building competition in six months with a safe, consistent, and well-planned daily training schedule.” Ensure its Relevance by aligning it with your goals, standards, ideals, and objectives. If the overarching goal is career growth, by setting a goal to “attend two networking events per month” you can quickly find yourself with a large network before you know it. Lastly, make it Time-bound by setting a specific deadline or time frame for completion, adding a sense of urgency and focus to the goal-setting process. For example, “complete a coding project within four weeks” sets a clear time limit for accomplishing that goal.

By setting SMART goals aligned with your envisioned future, you can navigate the path of self-improvement with focus and clarity. If you stop reading here you will see great improvements using this alone but if you want to really turbocharge your progress keep reading, as this is a recent tool that I just learned about: The 12 Week Year.

Transitioning from mere goals to S.M.A.R.T. Goals is great but to achieve truly effective execution there lies a demand for a change in mindset regarding time management. Embracing the concepts found in the book and framework “The 12 Week Year” by Brian P. Moran and Michael Lennington offers a paradigm shift that emphasizes the intensity and intentionality of each day. By compressing annual goals into shorter intervals, daily actions become more purposeful and impactful, ensuring that no moment is wasted in the pursuit of personal growth. To put it in plain language, most of us waste a substantial portion of our productivity and energy. This is because we evolved to focus on today and our brain realizes that we do not have a deadline close by, so we slack off a bit more. If we shift the deadlines to be a lot closer and happen more often, we accomplish and achieve much more.

As a recap, write out what your future vision for yourself or your company. It should include but not limited to your goals, ideals, and standards of the way things are done. Next turn them into S.M.A.R.T. goals, and then shift the end dates as far forward as you reasonably think you can achieve them in. The last part will take some trial and error, but that is OK, but by marrying the clarity of long-term visions with the precision of short-term objectives, individuals like you or me can take a proactive approach to self-improvement. While these three tools are a great starting place for now, I feel that more can be done to flesh this advice out, so please come back for updates. If you have questions, please feel free to contact me using one of the methods in the author’s box below.