“a goal is a dream with a deadline.”
A common trait among highly effective individuals is the ability to set and follow through with planned goals. This helps keep work and balance in check and improves focus and concentration on what’s important. Rather than living life with no direction, if properly cultivated, goals help streamline your focus and enhances the tendencies of achieving success In any facet of life, be it career, relationship, academics or finance.
Without a definitive plan or no outlined expectation of what you want, life will bless you with unexpected occurrences that could better be averted if proper goals are set. You can create the outcome of your life rather than leaving it to chance and luck.
While most people might get excited at the thought of creating goals, setting up aims or even filling down a new year’s resolution, statistics show that very few follow through with it and most get discouraged and quit even before getting half way. This is because people tend to set unrealistic goals. Yes, there’s such a thing as unrealistic goal– goals which to a large stretch are insurmountable when measured with the available resources and abilities to accomplishing it. A goal isn’t an abstract expectation hoping your desires will land to you if you maintain positive thinking, a goal is following a consistent plan in bringing those expectations to reality. This involves effort and action not just mere hope.
The solution to solving the problem of setting unrealistic goals and avoid quitting along the way is to set actionable goals. These are goals that can be achieved when properly followed by planning and consistent effective actions.
How to set actionable goals:
1. List down all the goals that you want to accomplish.
Bear in mind that goals should always be sensible and should be accomplishable. Setting unrealistic goals are of no use. To avoid this,
First create two lists and name them LT and ST for brevity (meaning long term and short term goals). The LT goals must be brief and precise. It should contain the lists of goals you want to accomplish over a given period of time (probably over a month, a year or more). Much words or ambiguity shouldn’t be used here. Use bullet points or asterisk for this listings.
Secondly, Create your ST goals. This lists should contain the various actionable plans and steps you intend to take in accomplishing the LT goals. write down the most important goals at the top of the list and numerate them accordingly.
One effective way of doing this is by using “Task Cards” – Small movable chunks of paper that contains a written plan of your daily activities ( I wrote more about task cards here)
For example: If your long term goal for the month is to lose some pounds of weight, your ST goals (using task cards) should contain a list of exercises or workout sessions you plan on doing daily to accomplish this.
This will help set your priorities in place and help improve the precision of your focus. Check-mark each goals once accomplished.
2. Set up strategies
Nothing comes easy and writing and listing down your long and short term goals is only the beginning to accomplishing them. The next line of action is to set up your own strategies to see it through (it generally shouldn’t be prescribed by someone else). Find what works for you and stick to it. From the above example, if your goal is to shed some extra pound, your broad strategies should be dieting and exercising. It should consist of a healthy diet chart, a healthy way of life, and an appropriate workout routine.
3. Visualise your goals
What you haven’t seen in your mind will ultimately never materialize in reality. You must consistently play out your goals in your mind and see yourself accomplishing them at the stipulated time. You must do away with discouragement and negative thoughts of quitting.
Visualising or meditating about your goals will help direct your brain to put your body in the right position and altitude to accomplishing those goals. Your brain can’t tell the difference between a real or fake event. It only believes the large chunk of what you feed it.
4. Review your progress
Review your progress weekly to analyse how well you’re doing and how far you have reached in accomplishing your goals. If you notice you’re mot making significant progress, prioritise to find out the reason and resolve to taking the necessary appropriate steps in improving your performance. Do not be hesitant to try out new approach if your previous method isn’t quite yielding the desired result.
5. Practise self-motivation
In life the possibility of your plans happening the way we want is about 50%.
The other 50% means you may be encountered with failure and disappointments along the way but that shouldn’t deter you to keep trying. Self-motivation is a must to achieve goals and success. Motivational videos and podcasts are great ways to keep you steered and focused towards your goals.