When setting goals, clarity is important because it allows you to visualize a specific outcome or result rather than a vague idea of it. Clarity also helps you set and achieve goals because it leads to efficiency and more confidence in your own skills.
If you are serious about achieving your goals — any goals — then you want to have all the fundamental tools to make it easier for yourself.
These could be discipline, a clear deadline, a roadmap, and a big enough dose of motivation.
However, there is one element that’s absolutely key. It’s probably the most important. You have to get this one right.
In fact, get this one right and your chances of success will instantly skyrocket. Even if you get everything else wrong.
You read it in the title: it’s clarity. Before you set goals, you want to be crystal clear about what it is that you’re trying to achieve.
You want to be able to visualize a certain result, be specific about it, see the details. The more specific you can get, the better.
Power of clarity in goal setting
The goal of “making more money” is a very good example of how lack of clarity and goal setting are basically two opposite ends of a spectrum.
Affirmations and goals that are very vague, in general, tend not to work. They are more like wishes; they are so vague it’s basically impossible for you to even visualize them.
So when people say they want to be wealthy, or rich, or have a certain amount saved up, what they don’t realize is they are asking for money itself.
Not freedom, not a new house or car, not the ability to travel around the world, or stay at the best hotels, or contribute to a special cause, or live life to the fullest.
But money itself. More digits on their bank statement, more pieces of paper, more zeroes. Which doesn’t mean anything.
It may sound counterintuitive at first, but it’s true. More money, more success, more friends, more happiness — these things are nothing but words regurgitated by your mind.
Why you need clarity in goal setting
1. You need to know what you want
First of all, what is it that you want? Think of the example above. If you have the goal of making more money, what is the amount, and most importantly, what are you going to do with it?
Most people don’t set goals at all, so naturally they never spend the time to think about what they’d like to experience and accomplish in life. That’s obvious. But you could be setting goals and still have no idea!
That’s what happens when your goals are too vague. Nothing wrong with having a general idea of what you’re trying to accomplish (e.g. more freedom, better health), but eventually you have to be specific; you have to have clarity.
2. You need to know why you want it
Know your why, find your why. I’m sure you’ve heard it already. Perform an easy task that you think is totally useless, that you think doesn’t lead to any type of growth, progress, or enjoyment; that’s going to be a very hard task.
Perform a seemingly very difficult or repetitive task, but one that you know is going to get you closer to your dream — that’s going to turn into a relatively easy task.
When it comes to setting and achieving goals, few forces are as powerful as knowing your why — how the money, freedom, abundance, and progress that you’re working on will make your life (and other people’s lives) better.
3. Clarity leads to efficiency
This is another big one. The third reason clarity is so important in goal setting is that by being clear on what you want, you naturally go straight to what you want… and nothing else.
No time wasters. No unnecessary tasks. No distractions. When you are clear on what you want to achieve, and you know you want to achieve it ASAP, then you’re not going to focus on things that are not priorities.
You’re not going to be busy for the sake of being busy. You’re going to turn into a goal-setting, goal-crushing minimalist. Ever had a goal that turned out to be easy, but you made it hard? That’s what happens when you’re not totally clear on what you want.
4. Unbelievable = Unrealistic
You may be into visualization, affirmations, and manifestation techniques and all that, or think it’s complete nonsense. But I think you’ll agree that being able to picture what you want, in your mind, is pretty important.
If you can’t be specific about a certain outcome or result, it means you cannot believe it. If you cannot believe it, it means you cannot achieve it; you think it’s totally unrealistic.
You certainly don’t want to set goals that are too small, but you must be confident. Even when luck is involved, you don’t want it to be the main factor — you want to be confident in your own skills; you want to see your goal as doable, achievable. Clarity helps you do that.
5. Being inspired by others
Lastly, when you are 100 percent clear on what you want, you can then model others — people who already have what you want. Whether it’s material items, a certain state of mind or level of health.
Once you visualize your goals with great clarity, you can then look at those who have been successful, and ask: what did they do to get there? What did they not do? Did they make any mistakes during the process, and if so, how can I avoid them?
Let’s go back to the “more money” example. There are infinite ways to make more money. So if that’s what you repeat in your mind, who are you going to model? You don’t know. By contrast, if your goal is to own a successful business, then at least you know who you should be learning from.
Goal setting questions for more clarity
- If you had to make your goal as unique and as original as possible, what would it look like?
- If your current goal can be described with a single phrase, what would be a more accurate, more detailed description of it, e.g. two paragraphs?
- (If this happens to be a relatively common goal) What will you be doing differently? Is there anything you don’t need to do?
- If a genie grants you a wish, what do you tell him? Imagine every single word you use makes a big difference
- (Imagine you have already achieved your goal) If you were to take a picture of your achievement/new life, what would it look like?