Do you have hopes and dreams for yourself? Do you have specific goals that you wish to achieve in your career, education, finances, or perhaps with your relationships? If you haven’t thought about setting goals in any intentional way, then follow these 4 effective tips to reach your goals.
WHY ARE GOALS IMPORTANT?
Reflecting on your accomplishments and setting specific goals for yourself is crucial for your personal growth and ultimately for your sense of happiness and fulfillment. As young children and even into our adolescent years, hopes and dreams for ourselves were very easy to make. I remember dreaming about being a rock star and living in a great big house. Can anyone relate? Well, somehow over the years, life stresses can sometimes cast a shadow in front of these hopes and dreams to the point that they no longer hold a priority for us or even seem possible to achieve. Also, let’s face it…some of these dreams may not have been so realistic.
Learning how to make specific goals will help you to stay on track in reaching your hopes and dreams. Setting goals forces you to be accountable to yourself. Instead of watching your life pass you by, you have the opportunity to intentionally reach your goals.
I love the saying by Les Brown, “Shoot for the moon, even if you miss, you’ll land among the stars.”
TYPES OF GOALS:
I believe that goals fall into 3 main categories: Achievement, Lifestyle, and Relationships. Within each category, we will have long-term and short-term goals. At any point in our lives, we are probably working on 2-3 goals simultaneously; some are short and easy to achieve and others take years and require a lot of persistence and motivation to fulfill.
- Other long term goals
- Health and wellness (physical, emotional, cognitive)
- Hobbies and interests
- Creating a home
- Family (parents, siblings, children, extended)
- Employees and/or co-workers
- Community memberships
4 EFFECTIVE TIPS TO REACH YOUR GOALS:
Throughout my life I have used these 4 effective tips to help me set goals and take specific steps in achieving them.
- Review Your Life– This means that you need to review the three different categories of goals and evaluate how you’re doing in each category. Be honest with yourself and begin to identify specific 1-2 areas in your life that you would like to improve on. What are you proud of in your life? What makes you happy? What will make you more fulfilled? What’s not working?
- Be Specific– The key here is the word specific; name your goal, i.e.: research colleges that offer graphic design diploma part-time programs. The goals that you set for yourself must be specific and targeted. You also need to be sufficiently able to achieve the goals. They need to be possible. Of course, this doesn’t mean that the goals will be easy and quick to achieve. Some are long-terms goals and may take several years to accomplish. However, you must be able to define the goal very clearly which will help you to map out systematic and reasonable steps that you will need to take in order to achieve your defined goals.
- Create a Backward Design: Once I know what goals I want to work on, I begin by identifying what the end goal will be, i.e.: complete program courses/requirements to graduate with a graphic design diploma. I then record all the steps that I need to take to make this goal achievable. If I continue with the example of receiving a graphic design diploma, some of the steps that I will list will look like: secure financing, get babysitting on class nights, update personal computer, organize homework/study time, research different college programs, meet with a college counselor, etc. What you’re doing here is creating a checklist that will help you take tangible steps towards your goal. An important part of this step is to include timelines or milestones to help you stay on track with your goals and keep you focused on your end-goal. Timelines keep you accountable!
- Reflect and Revise: Periodically, you will need to reflect on your progress in reaching your set timelines towards your goals. How are things going? How are you feeling? What’s working or not working? This is crucial because you may need to make some adjustments with your plan. If you’re not honest with yourself and take this step, especially with long-term goals, then you may end up feeling burnt-out and unmotivated.
These 4 effective tips are the main strategies I use when setting and reaching goals for myself.
ADDITIONAL TIPS TO REACH YOUR GOALS:
- Write down your goals (journal, computer, blog, etc)
- Create a checklist of steps
- Share your goals with others; this will help you to feel accountable and feel motivated
- Acknowledge and celebrate reaching milestones (even the teensy little ones)!
- Stay positive and optimistic!
What strategies do you take when making goals for yourself? I would love to hear what works for you!