Goals are great. If you’ve put in the work figuring out what yours are then they are really useful. They give clarity, motivate you when you’re stuck, remind you of what you are working towards, and enable a level of focus that’s hard to achieve if you are taking a ‘winging it’ approach. But how to get started on achieving them? Here are 4 steps to work through to achieve any goal.
But first, how do I know what my goals are?
I’m afraid this part is down to you. I recommend getting a big piece of paper, a pen (a nice one, because writing with a nice pen makes us happy right?) and doing a bit of a brain dump. Get it all down. Try having a think around the questions below….you might find it hard to get going, but as you do you’ll find more and more things come up.
- What do you need to feel financially secure?
- Do you have the people you need in your life? Who is missing from your life now?
- Are you doing all you can to maintain your health?
- Who do you aspire to be like? What are they doing?
- What’s your dream job? Are you ready for your dream job now?
- Where do you want to live?
- What do people do that makes you feel envious?
- What do you want your life to be like in the future?
- What is missing from your life at the moment?
- Where do you want to go?
- How would you like people to describe you?
- What would you like to get rid of?
How do I turn this into ‘goals’?
Once you have a list/mind map/page of scribbles, you need to prioritise. Look for themes in what you have written, perhaps you can merge some of them together.
- Which ones jump off the page?
- Which are most important to you?
- Are there any ‘quick wins’? Anything that is minimum effort maximum output?
- Is anything urgent?
Next attach figures or measures – how will you know when you’ve achieved it? It’s important that you feel a sense of achievement, so you recognise your progress.
Then attach deadlines to your chosen ones, to stop them rumbling on for ages and fizzling out.
There you have it, goals. Once you have (any number of) goals that are important to you, you know why they are important, you have a measure and a deadline, it’s time to get working on them.
The 4 step plan to achieving your goals
Just because you have a goal, doesn’t mean you are guaranteed to achieve it. You need to put in the effort. It’s worth mentioning here that goals can change, and don’t be afraid to walk away from something that’s not working for you any more, or if you change your mind. Be sure though that you are making a conscious decision to park the goal, not give up because its tough. You’re going to have to make time for this, but it’s worth it for the outcome.
Step 1 – Where am I now in relation to this goal?
What is the current situation? Be honest with yourself, are you anywhere near? It’s fine if not, but it’s best to know up front how much work it’s going to take to achieve it. Forewarned is forearmed. Have you done any work already? Is there anything you need to do first? Have you got the time to work on it?
Step 2 – Where do I want to be?
Build a really clear vision of your goal. How can you define success? What will achieving the goal give you? How will it feel when you’ve nailed it? Why is this goal important? What does it look like, what does it feel like, what things will you hear? What will you be able to do? What will you not have to do any more?
Step 3 – What is the gap between steps 1 and 2?
What exactly needs to happen to get you from where you are now, to achieving your goal? How will you do it? What time will it take? What skills do you need? Who can help? When can you work on it? What do you need to do?
Step 4 – What steps will I commit to, that will close the gap?
This might be one big fat chuck-everything-at-it life changing event, or it could be a series of incremental steps moving you towards your goal. It depends on the goal, where you are now, how big the gap is, and how much you are able/prepared to gamble. It needs to be achievable in your life right now. But you have to commit to it, and start straight away.
One final thing…..
With goals, think quality not quantity; it’s better to have one really great goal that is important to you and that you can focus on, rather than a few ok-ish ones that are less meaningful.
Good luck! If you have any questions let me know, I’d be happy to help, and there’s no obligation.