Have you ever gone to the grocery store without a list of items you need to buy? If you have, then you know the drill. Coming home with everything you need is a crap shoot. Chances are that even if you got some items that you needed, you also filled up your cart with ‘impulse buys’—those chips, cookies or gossip magazines that distracted you from the reason you came to the grocery store in the first place.
Trying to achieve your goals without a ‘to do’ list is like heading to the grocery store without a grocery list. It causes the same problem to arise: you set out with good intentions to achieve your goal, but accidentally veer off course due to the many distractions that come your way. If you’ve got goals, you need a goal list. Read on to learn how to create a better-than-ever-one!
Know Your Big Picture First
The ‘big picture’ is the overall goal you set out to accomplish. Otherwise known as a ‘long term goal’ its purpose is to give you something to strive for, no matter how long it takes. Without knowing this, it’s hard to stay on track.
Begin by asking yourself, “What do I want my career to look like this time, next year?” or “How much money do I want to make by the end of this year?” or even, “What are my biggest and most important personal goals?” When you have the ‘big picture’ established, you can then begin to plan actionable steps you need to take for each one.
There’s two different types of goals, and only one will set you up for success. For example, if you’ve come up with an idea for something you want (such as a car, or the means to make a living doing something you are passionate about), that’s merely an idea. But, if you are specific and intentional about what you want (knowing what that car looks like and feels like, or the duties you’ll perform in a passionate career that would fuel you creatively and mentally), that’s a goal.
Your ‘big picture’ goal should be written out in as much detail as possible. In what ways will your life change once you reach that goal? How does it feel to have it in your life? What type of change will it bring for you—more happiness, passion, peace of mind?
Create Three Actionable Steps for Each Goal
Your list doesn’t stop after you’ve gotten specific, because achieving goals require action. For each goal you have on your list, ask and answer for yourself the following: what are three steps I can take this week to get closer to reaching my goals? Make this question a ritual, a start to every week. So, every Sunday afternoon as you’re waiting for the laundry to run through the wash cycle, take out a piece of paper and answer that question. Write down three step you can take this week to work towards your goal. Before you know it, you’re on your way to living the life of your wildest dreams, most passionate career, and happiest life.
And the Secret to Never Giving Up on Your Goals is…
…a descriptive, to-the-point reward system that will keep you going mentally, creatively and intellectually even the going gets tough. Some goals might take you a week to achieve, while others make take a year. So, the secret to keeping the momentum going (in order to achieve milestone after milestone) is giving yourself small but consistent rewards for all your hard work along the way.
Small, weekly rewards for committing to improving your personal or professional life through goal setting (treating yourself to take out from your favorite Chinese restaurant for example) will keep you on track, and forging ahead on that bright future you’ve been working so hard for.