Almost every successful endeavor starts with a goal. If you don’t have a goal, you don’t know where you’re going. If you don’t know where you’re going, then you’re just reactionary and hoping to stumble upon something great; but lets be honest probability isn't on our side. I've found myself in this predicament time after time when it came work. The story is as old as they come; I would start work very enthusiastic but after time I would begin to dislike the environment & job duties. Like many others, I would work hard to achieve a promotion or find another job, anything really that might seem better.
Eventually, I had come to the realization the reason I wasn't feeling fulfilled or happy at work is because I would always work to achieve someone else goals & not anything I was passionate about myself. Now, I'm not saying you should ignore tasks or job duties or work because you don't feel like your getting anything out of it at the time. On the contrary, achieving goals can often be a struggle & take time to achieve. What I am saying is to think about where your passions lie & develop a plan to get there. In the example of my job, I began to think outside of the box. Before, I would look at work as a serious of tasks that needed to be completed. I began to look at the bigger picture for myself & where I worked at. That's when I came to the realization, that life should be a journey & every journey needs a destination. Here's a few tools you can use to map out your own goals.
1. Set your goals
Think about what your trying to achieve & why are you trying to achieve it. This is important, because a lot of times we don't really think about the what or why. This can cause the feeling of coming up short. For example; let's say your goal is to get a promotion. You figured out the what, but why do you want the promotion? Is it because it will help you feel more passionate, make more of an impact, or just want to make a little more money. It's important to access your goals, before you set them, because the goals you set may not be what you really want. If your goal is to get a promotion to make more money for example, you real goal isn't to get a promotion; it's to make more money! If making more money is your goal, then yes getting a promotion may help, but it's not the only way to achieve your goal. You might want to consider having passive income as another source of revenue for example. This will help you narrow down your goals and help with the planning stage.
Once you have a list of your goals, I would recommend writing them all down. Once they are written down pick a few of the one's that are most important to you. Ignore all of the others. Have you ever heard the expression "there's more than one way to skin a cat"? I don't know why anyone would want to skin a cat, but the same idea is true with achieving your goals. There's multiple paths you can take to achieve it & you'll probably take more than one path at a time. Setting 10 goals isn't going to help you, when you have 10 path's you have to take to achieve each goal. It's just a quick way to become overwhelmed. You may want to only start with one goal, depending how ambitious it is.
2. Create the plan
I'm a big fan of SMART goals & think it's a great way to help set up plans.
S = Specific
M = Measureable
A = Achievable
R = Realistic
T = Timely
When creating a plan, think of specific way's you can achieve your goal. Let's stick with the goal to make more money as an example, you may want to come at this with different approaches. Let's say one way is that you want some passive income; that's money you make with out putting in continues hours or effort. To do this, you decide to buy an index stock that pay's dividends. Next you have to decide how are you going to measure the success? Let's say just starting out, you want to make at least $20 dollars extra in passive income. You then need to see how probable it is to achieve this goals, do you have enough money to invest to get a $20 return on investment, did you do enough research into the company to see how much they pay in dividends are and if they have a good track record. If it is something that is achievable, how realistic is it to achieve your goal. $20 might be achievable, but if your looking at making a thousand dollars there's going to be a much higher risk & there may be other way's that are more realistic to achieve your goal. Finally; what is the time line you want to achieve your goal. Keeping in mind how realistic it would be. Is this a short term plan or a long term plan. If it doesn't look like your going to meet your goal when you want to meet it, you may need to re-access if it's a plan that is worth proceeding forward with or if you need to shake things up a bit to get there. For example; maybe your stock isn't doing so well but you've discovered a better investment opportunity to invest in.
3. Bring others on board!
Tell others about your goals, don't keep it a secret. There are things in this life, you won’t accomplish alone. Saying what you want out loud is the first step you can take to making an idea enter the realm of reality.
There’s so much that can be accomplish when others work towards a common goal. You can elevate yourself and others to a place of fulfillment. It’s a double edge sword though, because just as easily you can lead yourself and others into unhappiness and failure. The difference typically comes from what you want to accomplish and your perseverance in obtaining your goals.
4. Accomplish & re-access your goals
Once you achieve a goal, don't stop! Re-access your goals, you may have new ones or may want to revisit a goal you didn't address the first go around. Re-accessing is so important. Most advice you get will never fit you perfectly. Taking action & reflecting will lead to growth. The more this is done, the more likely you are to achieve your next set of goals.
For even more on setting goals, check out the books below.
By: Leopold Merkle