Figuring Out What your Goals in Life are, Moving towards them, and Achieving them.
A lot of people want a magical formula to immediately make all their goals, dreams and ambitions to come true. The truth is achieving your goals is hard work and the magical formula is sweat and motivation. You can make it easier on yourself by staying organized, creating a deadline, and breaking it down into small, manageable chunks.
1. Figure it out
What is it you want to do with your life?
Brainstorm different ideas on a piece of paper. These should be big concepts, even if they are simple.
Being healthy, Reading more, or Losing weight are all really good examples. Circle 3 or 4 that are really important to you. Those are the ones you should start working on this year. Don't focus on too many goals at a time. It can be distracting to have too many goals and you may not get very far with any of them.
Think about what you're missing in life right now. Maybe you're successful at work, but you don't try new things very often. Maybe you're great at making friends but your schoolwork is suffering.
Here are some other examples to help you get started:
- Start a family, get married, or have another child
- Get further at work
- Move or go somewhere new
- Save more money, spend less, or put more money towards buying something
- Start your own business
- Spend more time with people you love or your pets
- Deal with personal issues- family issues, issues from your past, or emotional issues- you've been putting off
- Get over an addiction to drugs, fast food or alcohol
- Get healthy, eat/drink more or less of something, or work out more
- Get over a fear
- Be more kind
- Do something you've never done before (Example: go skydiving)
- Volunteer or help the community
- Go back to school, finish a degree, or go further
- Learn something new (Example: how to cook)
- Find your soul mate
2. Break it down
So now you figured out what you want to focus on.
How are you going to get there? It's time to break your goals down into bite-size pieces. Write down all the steps, questions, concerns and things you need to do to obtain your goal.
We'll use the goal of 'Start a Garden' as an example.
GOAL: Start a Garden
1. I need to find a place to do gardening. If I live in an apartment, do I have a patio? If I own a house, do I have a yard? If not, I may need to put my goal off, or be creative and find somewhere else (Like a community garden or a friend's house)
2. I need to buy supplies. Do I have money to garden? If not, I may need to save enough to buy pots, soil, gloves, stakes, and a watering can. Do I want to purchase my gardening supplies online or locally?
3. I need to buy seeds. What types of plants, flowers or vegetables do I want to grow? What would grow best in the climate I'm in? Is it too late or too early to grow certain things?
4. I need to find the time to garden. How much free time do I have now? Do I want to start an indoor herb garden on a windowsill or turn half my backyard into rows of vegetables?
5. I need to plant the seeds and do research. After I've made my purchase, where will I plant my seeds in my yard? Do I know how to plant them and care for them?
6. I need to remember to water the seeds daily, and harvest them at the end of the season. Should I buy a calendar to help me remember?
7. I need to pull weeds and do maintenance.
8. I need to decide how I will deal with any problems that might come up, like bug infestation. Will I use pesticides? Do I want my garden to succeed organically or is that unrealistic where I live?
9. After I've harvested my prize, I need to figure out what I did right and wrong. Did I succeed in my gardening, or was it a failure? If I planted vegetables, what can I do with all the produce?
3. Put your goals to a timeline
Buy a calendar or just list dates you'd like to get each "step" of your goal done by. Sometimes this is very important, like in the case of starting a garden, where starting too early or too late could drastically effect the results. Other times, it may be very flexible such as in the case of a personal goal like learning to play the guitar.
Technology can really help you stay motivated. There are many websites that help track goals, as well as apps for smartphones. Watch out though- if you spend more time tracking your goal than you do actually making it happen, some of these tools may not be right for you.
Make sure you give yourself plenty of time to complete each step. Give yourself extra time if possible.
Sometimes a deadline can motivate someone to get started right away, but deadlines don't work for others. Use your best judgement and skip the deadline altogether if it stresses you out.
4. Get started
Begin with the first step you listed in completing your goal. If you find that the steps you made contain too much work, or that there are too many steps, adjust them so that it works for you. Stick to your schedule if you made one, but forgive yourself if you miss a deadline or life gets in the way.
5. Stay motivated
Some things take years. Achieving some goals such as raising your GPA might take several. The important thing is to not quit. Don't give up on yourself.
Here are some easy ways to stay motivated if you find yourself feeling apathetic about the goals you made:
- Put a reminder somewhere you'll see it everyday. This can be a picture, inspirational phrase or your goal list. Good places to put it include your computer's desktop background, the bathroom mirror, or your phone.
- Look at the progress you've already made.
- Think of the type of person you aspire to be and how your goals will help you become that person.
- Bribe yourself with something you normally wouldn't get-- but only if you achieve your goal. A great example of this is buying a whole new woredrobe if you lose 60 pounds. Make it proportional to the size of the goal.
6. Reassess if necessary
Sometimes things don't work out, or your priorities change. If you find yourself in a situation such as this, don't be afraid to change your goals. Come back to the others at a different time in your life.