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Saturday, February 18, 2006

Goal Setting: If I Don't Know Where I Am Going - How Do I Know If I Got There?!

Setting goals is the first step in achieving them. Without a mark to hit, you never really know what you're aiming at. In fact, most of us set goals without even realizing it. Maybe it's our goal to wake up tomorrow morning at 6:00 a.m. for work. Or perhaps we have a goal to watch the latest episode of our favorite show on TV this week. The truth is, we set goals every day. Goals and dreams are close relatives. Your goals in life will constantly change. Your previous goals could have consisted of going for that "A" in biology...or maybe just getting up in time to make the biology class! Now your goals can take you to a rewarding and prosperous future with the help of a few of the guidelines.
Your Dream/Goal List
Let's do a dream list of everything you've ever wanted. Ask yourself, what would you do with your life if you had unlimited time, talent and money? What do you want to do, be, see, have or experience--to learn, change, create, improve or eliminate? This is a starting point -- a place to begin pulling out the important ones -- the ones that may become goals. You also should have a current handle on where you are in the various areas of your life. Now it's time to do some sorting and filtering of the items on your Dream List. Now we begin to focus in on those things that really inspire you to your highest and best.
I'm a firm believer you can accomplish anything you want in life.
Notice I did not say EVERYTHING you wish to accomplish; I said ANYTHING. If someone else has already done it, you can do it, too. If NO ONE has done it, you can be the first. Nothing is impossible. I didn't say, however, that it would be easy. Only you can decide whether or not your goal is worth going for. Your determination will make it work. But it has to be something big enough and important enough to be worthy of your best. Out of the dozens of items on your Dream List, you will want to select twelve. Write these goals down in your journal or on a 3x5 card. From this list of 12, you'll further narrow it down to three. These are your top three key goals. The goals you'll be devoting most of your efforts to achieving. This process is not something you do in 15 to 20 minutes. This requires some concentrated and focused attention. Try carving out three hours over the course of the next week. An hour at a time would be great.
Don't Think it -- INK it.
I could spend a lot of time selling you on the power of writing your goals down. Instead, in the interest of time, I'll ask you to trust me. Verbal agreements are legal and binding. The problem is, they're open to too much interpretation. There is too much chance for 'he said -- she said,' issues. As a result, for any important agreement, we create written documents to help us make sure everything is clear and nothing is forgotten over time. And what could be more important than our dreams and goals? If you're serious about accomplishing your aspirations, you've simply have to write them down. Remember: 'With a written agreement, you have a prayer; with a verbal agreement, you've got nothing but air.' Write your goals down, CLEARLY. Write them in the PRESENT tense: 'I now have, I now am, etc'. Write them where you'll see them often, like the bathroom mirror or refrigerator. Write them in color or cut out pictures. The next step is to formulate a strategy for reaching your goal.
Action Plan:
Make a list of everything you have done in the last month to achieve your goals. Next to each item, make a mark. Write "A" if it is an action. Write "T" if it is a thought. If you don't end up with at least 80% of your time spent on positive actions, promise yourself that you will make a change. Don't think about making a change. Do it.
Now some KEYS to successfully begin:
Take responsibility for the current condition of your life. If you don't have what you want, it's nobody's fault but yours.
Figure out what you want and set specific goals. Write them down.
Write a long and a short-term plan to develop the skills you need and achieve those goals.
Work at least 50 hours a week following your plans.
Spend the first few hours of every day completing the Important-but-Not-Urgent tasks on your to-do list.
Develop a network to help you. Do this via phone calls, e-mails, and personal notes. Use that network whenever you can.
If and when you feel like giving up, persist.
(Please notice that most of these tasks involve actions, not thoughts.)
Now it is time for Your Proclamation: What I will do to Reach My goals
I will design a "Goal Agreement" with myself for any goal, no matter how small or large. A goal, no matter how small, will be treated with great respect because I know goals help make me a better person ---the person I want to be.
My Goal Agreement will be written down and I will date the "Goal Agreement" with the starting date and completion date for each goal.
My goal will be described in detail. I will paint a very clear picture in my mind of what I want, how, and when I will get it.
All of my Goal Agreements that have not been completed will be read in front of the mirror every day with a lot of enthusiasm. That way, my goals will be fresh in my mind and I will remember them easily.
When a goal is reached, I will sign the Goal Agreement. I will write in large red letters on the front of the Goal Agreement "I have achieved this goal." I will save all my Goal Agreements so I can see how I am doing and see all of my successes so far. I will become a better, stronger person from this string of successes, no matter how small some of them may be.
I will always remember, I CAN BE AS GREAT AS ANYONE. I will have a plan. Each of my goals, no matter how small, will become a part of that plan and will help me to turn my beautiful dreams into a wonderful and happy life.
I will make sure my goals go together. I won't set goals for different things that won't work together.
My goals will be something I want so much that I'll be excited to do the work it takes to get it done. I will do everything with enthusiasm.
Setting goals is very important to me. It's not a joke or silly. I know I can't reach a place I want to go if I do not know how to get there. I know it's the same way with life. These goals become my plan for my every success.
I choose to take the goals very seriously no matter how small each goal is. I will reward myself and praise myself for starting the habit of planning my life.
If I want my life to change, I understand I have to change, or I will stay just about the same as I am right now. So, I will set some goals that get me excited and move me and my life on the right track to happiness and success.
Now you are on your way to a fulfilling and exciting future!
Joe Kahler is recognized as an expert on helping young adults successfully transition from home to being “out on their own”. His latest work has recently been assembled in his book, Out On My Own... Now What? Tips and Insights So You Won’t Be Left Hanging in the “Real World”!
Joe received his undergraduate degree from Whittier College in Social Sciences and his Masters in Education from Arizona State University. His experience includes teaching, coaching, running numerous businesses, investing, selling insurance and real estate AND attending numerous personal, “hard knocks” training classes!
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