In all aspects of life, you can succeed through goal planning. We all have dreams and great intentions for improving our lives and achieving our goals. A goal is meaningless however, without a plan of how to get there. Each achievement is the end result of overcoming the steps required to move through to reach it. Goal planning is making the right moves towards your improved life.
The only way that you are going to meet your goal is to make a plan to get there. No matter how much you want to achieve your dream, it will only remain as a dream without a realistic plan.
The most successful business leaders and athletes who continue to achieve success all set goals. This enables them to plan what needs to be done in the short term to achieve their long term success.
Why set a goal?
Setting a goal helps you to think about your ideal position in the future. This will help motivate you to make your wishful thinking become a reality.
Many people feel as though no matter how hard they work, they do not seem to be achieving anything worthwhile. This is usually the result of not thinking enough about what you want to achieve from your life.
A good plan is required if you are making significant advancements in your life. You will need to identify the various stages that need to be completed and be able to assess the cause and effect of completing each stage.
A plan is essential for:
- Career advancement
- Business start up
- Becoming a freelance or self employed
- Managing personal finances
- Living healthily
- Developing a family
- Improving your education
- Pursuing leisure activities
- Helping with improving the lives of others
The planning stage need not be highly detailed or require time restrictions depending on the goal. Some planning processes however will require more detail and be time bound.
Assessing your goals
Think about what you are aiming towards and keep the goal in mind at all stages of planning. Your goals need to be realistic and well defined. By achieving each of the individual goals that you set yourself, you can feel as though you are progressing towards a bigger achievement.
Overcoming the daily or weekly challenges that you set for yourself will improve your self-confidence. You will be able to recognise that you do have the ability to achieve the smaller successes that add up towards a long term goal.
In order to create a realistic plan, you will need to think about what you are trying to achieve as a three stage process.
First think big. Create a goal that you plan to realise in the long term. This can be over the next five to ten years or longer.
You will then need to divide the big goal into smaller targets which you can manage over short time periods. Only once all of these smaller goals have been completed you will be in the position to reach your lifetime goal.
Next you need to plan how to begin working on achieving these goals one at a time. These may be completed over a week, a month or a year. At the completion of every stage , you will be making small steps in the right direction.
Using the SMART Method for Achieving your Goals
SMART is an acronym used by management consultants and motivational experts to help guide people towards their desired target.
Be specific about what the goal is that you are hoping to achieve. Ask yourself what you wish to accomplish, what is involved and how to go about achieving it.
If you set goals that can be measured, it gives you a sense of achievement. You can make assessments of how far down the path you have come from where you started from. Ask yourself how you can know when the goal has been achieved.
Ensure that your goals are achievable. If a goal is unrealistic, you will fail no matter how determined you are to reach it. Assess your current situation and decide what can you achieve realistically within those restrictions.
Be aware that your choice of goals need to be relevant to achieving the larger life goals. If you do not choose relevant tasks, you may waste your time trying to achieve something that is not helpful to the current situation.
By acknowledging the time that it takes to complete a specific task, you can create a plan that is realistic. Creating a deadline, helps you focus on completing your work within that time period and motivate you toward it.
Read more about SMART goal planning.
Read more about finding success through goal planning in these excellent books.
Setting Your Goals Effectively
The following tips can help you to present your goals in a way that they make sense to you and remain realistic.
When you set yourself a goal, be aware of your own skills and abilities within the environment. Some goals could be out of reach at this point in time and may require a first step which is more easily achievable.
Keep projects small
Accumulating lots of small manageable achievements will feel as though you are making more progress than if you take on tasks which are too overwhelming. Remember the more smaller tasks that you complete, the more opportunities to reward yourself for success.
Define your goals precisely. Set a date for when your goals should be complete by and a way in which you can measure the success of achieving it. Once you can be sure that you have completed a goal; you can gain the most satisfaction from it.
Plan in writing
Confirm your goals in writing. Once you have written your plan down, it has become a tangible document rather than fleeting ideas. You can then return to it at various stages to check on your progress.
Ensure that you set yourself goals which are under your control. Unexpected events in politics or the work environment could unravel your achievement if you are depending too much on their remaining consistent.
Know your priorities
Prioritise your tasks. It can become overwhelming to try and manage all of the jobs which need to be completed. Decide which need to be completed first before you move onto the next stage.
Keep task objective positive
Goals should be a declared as a positive achievement. Avoid stating a goal as a negative statement. Don’t write: “Try not to fail at…” Instead, you should be trying to: “Be brilliant at…”
Here are some goal planning ideas to get you started.
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