Goal-setting is the key to great things. But the goal is the end game and it doesn’t mean that once you’ve set it you’re done. You have to take into account what you have to do to actually reach the goal you’ve set.
So, how do you set your goals? And how do you make sure that you’re able to achieve it?
Be SMART about it
Ask any management book – goals and objectives should be SMART. SMART stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound. Any “goal” that does not meet these criteria is simply a dream or a wish.
Take these for example:
I want to travel the world someday.
I want to travel the world starting with Europe on March 2016.
The difference between the two is that the first statement is unclear. The only clear thing is that you want to travel the world. But when? Someday is not specific. Where will you start? Not stated. This statement is open to interpretation and adjustment.
Now, take a look at the second statement. It specifically states that you want to start traveling the world on March 2016. What’s more, it stated that Europe is the first destination. The specific information in this statement (the starting point and the date) is now the clear base of your planning. You can plan out what documents you need to prepare, how much you need to save, and how long you have to do those things. It also becomes a measure for if you were able to achieve your goal (if it’s June 2016 and you’re not yet in Europe then you know that you did not meet your goal).
The first step to achieve your goals really is to make sure they’re SMART.
Be organized and write it down
You don’t have to be rigid about it but it is best to have a sense of organization. Once you have set your goal, plan out how you will achieve it. Create a timeline with milestones and checkpoints to let you know how far you’ve come and how much you have left to do.
It’s also best to write them down. When you write down your goals and your plans to achieve them, it becomes a contract to yourself; a pledge to actually do as planned.
Pencil it in
Some people use calendars, planners, and even spreadsheets. Prepare a calendar that covers the months and years you’ve planned to achieve your goals and plot down all the milestones and checkpoints you’ve determined. Try to be as specific as possible and don’t forget to always refer to it.
Write down your plans somewhere that you won’t overlook. Or better yet, set a regular schedule of when you would do a review of your plans and adjust them as you go.
No matter how SMART your goals are and how airtight your planning is, if you’re afraid to start, then you’re not getting anywhere. Step out of your comfort zone, try new things, and go to great lengths to achieve your goal. You need the kind of fearlessness that allows you to accept failures as opportunities for growth instead of crippling roadblocks. You have to be fearless about rejection, about new experiences, and about detours. Most of all, you have to be fearless about your goal.