A new year means new resolutions. Resolution is a synonym for the word goal. How many times have we set goals at the beginning of the year and then they dissipate into thin air after a few weeks or maybe even a few months? A lot of times we don’t reach our goals because we have set too high of an expectation on ourselves. It is good to shoot high, but be realistic. If you expect more than what you are capable of, then you’ve set yourself up for failure.
One of my resolutions for this year is to journal daily for self reflection and improved mental health.
Steps To Setting Attainable Goals
1. Identify Your Goal
What do you desire? Think about your life 1 year, 5 years, or even 10 years from now. Where do you see yourself? How different will your life be? You don’t set a goal just to set one. A goal is something you desire, something you want to obtain or achieve. Shoot high, but be realistic.
My desire is to quit my corporate career and work as a full time writer within the next five years.
Now that you’ve identified your desire, ask yourself is it SMART. Is your goal specific? Can it be measured? Is it attainable & realistic? Did you set yourself a time frame? If you answered no to any of these questions, then you may want to narrow down your goal.
2. Brainstorm Ways To Achieve Your Goal
Think about how many roads are between your home and the nearest grocery store. How many different paths can you take to reach the grocery store? Each path takes a different amount of time to travel and spends varying amounts of fuel. If you are like me, you probably take the straightest path. It takes the least amount of time and spends the least fuel. How do you know the path you are taking is the best one? The answer is experience. You know the area. You know how long it takes you to drive from point A to point B. You know if there will be roadblocks or obstacles that you will slow you down or get in your way. When choosing a path to travel to reach your goal you need to treat it as if you were going to the grocery store. Find out which path works best for you. One way to do this is to model after someone else who has already achieved the goal that you are going after. Research and find out which paths have taken to reach the same goal.
When I first started this blog, I posted A Day In The Life Of A Writer. In that post, I talked a little about how some of the authors who inspire me spend their time. They have already achieved the goal that I am shooting for. Each one took a different path, but they ended up at the same destination.
3. Make A Plan
Now that you have identified your goal and thought about the many different paths to get you there, you need to decide which direction you will travel. Choose the path that works best for you. Visualize each step on that path before you make your final decision. Are you going to have to give up something to reach your destination. Is it worth it? Even though you are traveling to the grocery store, obstacles may still pop up on the way. Think about what could happen as you travel down the path and how you could avoid potential setbacks.
4. Take The First Step
Now it is time to put your plan into motion. You know the direction you are going to go, and you are prepared for obstacles that may hinder your path.
“The hardest part of reaching your goal isn’t the first step but the subsequent steps you take after you’ve started down the path.”@CynthiaBrandel
How do you stay motivated to continue walking down the path? You could use affirmations. Take a dry erase marker and write your affirmation on your mirror or put a sticky note beside your computer monitor. Put your affirmation where you will see it often.
5. Track Your Progress & Assess Your Results
What is the point in setting a goal if you don’t follow through and track your progress? Tracking will help you to see how far you have come and if your efforts are paying off. If you haven’t made any progress then you need to reassess the steps you are taking to reach your destination. Remember that there are many paths to reach your goal. If the one you are on is not taking you closer to your destination, then change paths. Nothing is definite. Don’t limit yourself to taking only one path. Sometimes the shortest path is not the better choice. A bullet journal is a great tool to use for tracking your goals.
6. Revise Your Plan
Continue working toward your goal even if it takes you longer than what you had intended. Celebrate the small victories and think about all that you have accomplished since you started. Remove the obstacles in your path. If something is keeping you from reaching your goal, then try and eliminate that from your path. For me, antisocialism is an obstacle that I struggle with. It is not easy for me to make connections with other people. I know this is an obstacle that is keeping me from reaching my go. So, I purposely make it a point to interact with others on a regular basis.
7. Repeat Steps 5 & 6
Whether you are taking small steps or giant leaps toward your goal, you will still need to periodically track your progress and revise your plan. As long as you continue forward, you will eventually get to where you want to be. Be persistent and develop a can-do mentality.
If you become overwhelmed or disheartened, remember why you started down this path to begin with. Think about what reaching your goal would mean for you and how it would change your life. Then, with a new determination, start down the path again.