Goals are the decisions we make that will help us reach a desired future outcome. Pursuing those goals successfully is a simple matter of making conscious decisions that align with your desired outcome. Anyone can decide on achieving their goals, it’s your commitment to the ongoing process of growth and self-mastery that will determine your eventual success. Whether you are setting personal goals or career goals, this guide will help you get one step closer to your goal.
- Set goals using the SMART method
- (S)pecific: Your goal should be clear and specific, otherwise you won’t be able to focus your efforts or feel truly motivated to achieve it. When drafting your goal, try to answer the five “W” questions: What do I want to accomplish? Why is this goal important? Who is involved? Where is it located? Which resources/limitations are involved?
- (M)easurable: It’s important to have measurable goals, so that you can track your progress and stay motivated. Assessing progress helps you to stay focused, meet your deadlines, and feel the excitement of getting closer to achieving your goal. A measurable goal should address questions such as: How much? How many? How will I know when it is accomplished?
- (A)chievable: Your goal also needs to be realistic and attainable to be successful. In other words, it should stretch your abilities but still remain possible. When you set an achievable goal, you may be able to identify previously overlooked opportunities or resources that can bring you closer to it. An achievable goal will usually answer questions such as: How can I accomplish this goal? How realistic is the goal, based on other constraints, such as financial factors?
- (R)elevant: This step is about ensuring that your goal matters to you, and that it also aligns with other relevant goals. We all need support and assistance in achieving our goals, but it’s important to retain control over them. So, make sure that your plans drive everyone forward, but that you’re still responsible for achieving your own goal. A relevant goal can answer “yes” to these questions: Does this seem worthwhile? Is this the right time? Does this match our other efforts/needs? Am I the right person to reach this goal? Is it applicable in the current socio-economic environment?
- (T)ime-bound: Every goal needs a target date, so that you have a deadline to focus on and something to work toward. This part of the SMART goal criteria helps to prevent everyday tasks from taking priority over your longer-term goals. A time-bound goal will usually answer these questions: When? What can I do six months from now? What can I do six weeks from now? What can I do today?
- Develop an action plan
Defining your goals can be relatively easy, however creating a plan to reach those goals can be quite challenging. Without a plan to make your goal happen it is all but a wish or a dream – that most likely will never materialize. An action plan is the detailed outline of the steps needed to achieve the desired outcome. The more detailed the plan with time, dates and specific actions steps needed, the better. Your action plan is your road map from where you are now, to where you want to go. To develop an action plan, mark the important tasks and requirements that you need to do and write down the setbacks that you are likely to face and plan a gradual solution as to how to overcome them. Also, break down your large goal into smaller manageable tasks, this will help you move closer to your end goal in an organized step-by-step manner without being so overwhelmed. Additionally, set deadlines for each task, this will allow you to prioritize the tasks based on their importance and urgency.
- Track your progress
Specify the measures you will be taking to track your progress, whether it’s by milestones such as the number of tasks completed, or quantitative measures like the amount of sales you reached, by measuring your results, you are gathering insights into whether or not you are making progress. To have a clearer idea on the progress you have made towards reaching your goal, mark down the tasks you have completed to recognize that you are one step closer to your goal. Similarly bring attention to the objectives you were not able to achieve and tasks that have been delayed and figure out what caused it and find suitable solutions for them. Later rearrange your action plan accordingly.
- Celebrate your achievements along the way
It is important to celebrate each success you achieve along the way of pursuing your ultimate goal, this will build your confidence and show you that your big end goal is slowly falling into place and encourage you to keep pushing. Whether it is treating yourself to your favorite restaurant or taking time to relax, this will make you have something to look forward to and create motivation, after all motivation is driven by success.
By following these steps you should be able to get closer to achieving your goals. And remember, you need to continuously take smart proactive steps in order to create the future you want for yourself. So, get started, keep going and achieve your aspirations.