Where do you see yourself in a year? Where do you see yourself in five years? Who has been asked this question during a job interview? I have! Most companies will ask these questions because they want to get to know you and what your vision is. This will help them decide if the job is a good fit for you. When was the last time you evaluated if your life is a good fit for you? Do you know what you want out of life and how you are going to get there? If you aren’t sure what you want, you probably don’t have a purpose or plan set forth in your day-to-day activities to get to that ambiguous place. Goal setting and following through on those goals will help you to achieve the life you’ve always wanted and build self-confidence along the way.
Think about setting a goal to travel the world… It’s one thing to book a flight and get to the destination and yet another thing to visit all the sites you want to see once you arrive. What if you only have a limited amount of time in a certain location? You want to make the most of it, correct? Say you want to compete in your first fitness competition. What are all the steps that you have to take to get there? What are all the steps you have to take to do well? Setting goals effectively and having a plan to achieve them is critical to getting what you want out of life. My 7 steps to setting goals and achieving them can help you achieve your wildest dreams within scope, on time, and under budget.
The key to setting goals is deciding what you really want to do. You shouldn’t take on too many goals at the same time. It’s just not possible. Having too much on your plate to achieve can be an easy way to burnout or set yourself up for failure by trying to juggle too much at one time, you won’t be able to do anything well. You can get better at juggling goals over time and biting off little pieces every day to get moving in a bunch of different directions at once, but if you are new to goal setting, start with a maximum of 3 goals so as not to get overwhelmed.
How should you be setting your goals? The answer is with pen and paper. Get out a pen and paper and write down what you want. See what you want to accomplish in your head and put it into words on paper. Now let’s refine that vision. Goals have to be specific to be attainable. Goals like, “get in better shape,” or “be happy,” are not well-defined goals. Goals like, “lose 10 pounds by July,” or “increase one rep max by X lbs in 6 months,” are goals that can be tracked and achieved based on data and on a timeline. Some people like to tell a friend or confidant what their goals are to keep them accountable… that is where a coach can come into play. A coach or mentor can help you strategize how to achieve those goals while holding you accountable for them.
Goals have to have a timeline. There is a reason that school is set up in semesters or quarter systems with midterms and finals. Otherwise, when would you complete the class? You wouldn’t take a class that covered an unmanageable amount of material in the time allotted just like you wouldn’t set a goal that you didn’t have enough time to achieve. You also need to be able to clarify exactly what the end goal is in that amount of time. Don’t be bashful. Think big. Go big or go home.
Once you know what you want to accomplish and when you want to accomplish it, you are going to have to figure out how to get there. This may take some research and consultation of resources/mentors. After doing some research you may find that you goal is not challenging enough, or you may find that you were a little over zealous in your initial timeline… adjust accordingly.
Setting goal milestones or establishing mini goals to get to the big goal helps keep the process on track. These goal milestones are like mile markers. They tell you whether you are on track to accomplishing your specific goal within the timeframe you have set for yourself. Goals should not be changed, but based on your progress towards completing your mile marker achievements, your methods or timeline can be readjusted. No one is perfect at estimating the exact time things will get done, especially if they’ve never done it before! As a project manager, things come up all the time that are roadblocks to work getting done and workarounds have to take place to complete the project within scope, under budget, and on time. This is where you have to be flexible in your methods, but don’t give up on your goal.
Enjoy the process – the journey is the destination. You are more likely to achieve a goal if it is intrinsic vs. extrinsic and if you continue to remind yourself why you started and refer back to that when the goal hunting gets rough. Remember, you are embarking on a new challenge/adventure, there are bound to be tough moments… be tougher. Don’t get discouraged but learn to face the challenges that arise and work through them with the confidence that you will persevere. If you want it, get it!
There isn’t one size fits all in this life. Everyone is different and every goal for every person is achieved differently. That’s what makes life so much fun! If something isn’t working, try something else. However, don’t be the person that jumps around from goal to goal never actually accomplishing anything. If you want something, stick to it. With dedication and persistence, you are bound to make it happen!
Accomplishing goals should feel liberating and build self-confidence. Remember that you are working hard to achieve exactly what you want! Always refer back to your written down goal and that vision of you accomplishing it in your head. The goal shouldn’t change but the methods may change along the way depending on circumstances and our ever-changing lives in this dynamic world. Don’t forget that the journey is the destination and enjoy the process knowing it is getting you closer to achieving your full potential. And lastly, constantly reevaluate your ways. We are here to learn, grow, achieve, and continuously improve our methods and lives. Human beings love to create… why shouldn’t you create the ideal environment, life, body, and mind for yourself? Once you have tackled your goals, start the process over… exceed your initial goals with new ones and become a goal setter, not a settler.