Goal setting is important. Sadly, most people go without setting goals, but they miss very good positive aspects of goal setting. When you set a goal, you go after it, you have a goal point to work towards on. You know where to concentrate your energies.
Goals create commitment, make you disciplined and give you a purpose. In this article I would like to give you a quick goal setting plan that I have tested myself many times and have found out this actually works. Great, no more wasting time, lets dive in.
Identify your goal
This is the first and the foremost step that is so obvious, but most people struggle at this very first step. It is easy to identify your dream, but your goal is something that you need to accomplish in order to achieve or fulfill your dream. You should identify the following things at this point to get started:
You have a dream or desire in life. You want to fulfill this dream. So identify what will make the dream come true. For instance, if you wanna get rich, find out your financial status now and identify one big thing that will make you fulfill your dream. This is for an example.
Your goal is something big and which requires doing many things as bits and pieces. Identify those things clearly. You know what you need to accomplish but do you know what will get you there?
Do you know which way to follow to reach your destination? If not, do a little research and divide your goal into reasonable parts/steps. It will be easier if you make each step a small and easily achievable one. This will help you stay motivated in the long run.
You must identify what skills and/or expertise are needed in order to do things which are part of this goal. If you find that you lack some of the skills or expertise you must prepare yourself to compensate for this lack somehow.
You can either learn the required skills or you can choose to outsource that particular bit. This decision purely depends on
(a) the complication of the skill; some skills can be easily learned while some others need years of practice. So it won’t be appropriate if you start learning the skill and get diverted from what you actually started to work on.
(b) the time limit of your goal; if you goal is a short term one and if you need to accomplish it in say a week or a month, it will be inappropriate for you to learn about your country’s economy.
(c) the time frame of your goal; this depends on which time of your life you are working on this goal. You age, financial situation, family commitments at the moment etc. may not be favorable to let you learn a new skill. You may have the time and the skill can be simple, but your situations somehow won’t let you.
In any of the above cases, it is wise to just outsource that bit so that you don’t get the accomplishment of your goal delayed for little steps.
Steps to follow
I’d call this figuring out the action plan. You must know, as I said in the first point, all the little steps you need to do in order to achieve the bigger chunk, your goal.
It is not only important that you know all these little chunks but it is also equally important that you know the sequence in which they should be executed. In short, construct your action plan for the goal.
Once you have the action plan, put it into a visual form or a to-do list. This is nothing but keeping your action plan visible, doable and re-checkable. Having your action plan in the form of a to-do list has many advantages, which is out of scope of this post.
You should do this by all means. If you have failed in accomplishing your goal, find out the reason. Find out what went wrong and where lies the shortage. If it took longer than you anticipated find out the reason.
Even if you have succeeded in your goal, you should analyze how did you succeed and what are the aspects that helped you to gain success. You should examine this with your to-do list or some visual form of the action plan. You should analyze every little step and think how you achieved it.
Did you come across any obstacles? Did you struggle to manage things at some step? What were the things that were very easy to accomplish and what were so hard. Could you have accomplished your goal faster or easier if you have followed a different plan? So on and so forth.
Go ahead and do a detailed analysis of each and every step. This will help you to have a successful goal setting strategy handy, in cases where you have to do something similar in the future.
Image credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/thatguyfromcchs08/2300190277/