You know where you want to go, but how do you get there? You may find that making some decisions is easier than others. What do you do first? How long will it take? Will you need help getting there? How do you decide what’s right for you?
It helps if you understand what makes you tick; your personal value system. These values are the ones you live with, not necessarily every day, but over the course of your life, that enable you to live with your decisions.
First, sit down and make a list of the top 20 or 30 values that are important to you:
You get the idea. Narrow that list to ten, and then five. Next, rank those five in numeric order, one against the other, until you have your top three.
When making choices, ask yourself if the decision would honor your top three values. If not, it’s the wrong choice for you at the time.
Setting the right goals for you is almost as important as having goals in the first place. They have to be realistic and coincide with your value system. How does your vision mesh with your goals? You may experience fear, feel overwhelmed or confused because you don’t know how to go about setting goals effectively, but it’s a straightforward process and you will overcome the emotions as you go, as you feel more in control.
The Five-Step Goal-Setting Process
1. What do you want, specifically – This is the first thing to ask yourself in your goal planning process. What is your vision? Your dream? Without being clear as to your explicit desires, no other steps can be taken, and no progress made.
2. Why do you want it (what value does it serve) – The pivotal question in your goal-setting process and a prime motivator. You must reflect on your values list in order to answer it. Does your desire reflect your values? If so, you’ve accomplished the second step and are on your way to goal setting success.
3. When do you want it – Determining specific dates for completion of tasks is a crucial part of your goal setting procedure. Knowing that you have committed yourself to achieving a certain thing by a certain date will enable you to plan your time and thus maximize your efforts.
4. What will you give up or overcome to get it – Confusion? Fear? Procrastination? Insecurity? Make sure you keep in mind why you want your goal. It will give you all the courage you need to push through your fears and move forward.
5. Create a detailed plan to get there – We are not born knowing how to do anything, really, except eat, sleep and breathe. The rest we learn as we go along, and creating a detailed plan to achieve your goals is no different. Brainstorm things you can do, actions you can take. Bounce ideas off of friends, relatives. Throw out ideas (none are too insignificant or crazy). After you get the first few implausible or facetious ideas out of the way, more creative, clever and valuable ideas will surface. Brainstorm until you are able to get your ideas down to very specific, measurable tasks that you can then cross off a list when you’ve finished them.
In order to reach a key goal, you’ll need to set interim goals – multiple short-term goals. Broken down into bite-sized pieces, the objectives are less intimidating. If you get stuck trying to create a plan, ask yourself more questions!
Keep asking questions until there are no more questions, only actions left.
Prioritize your plan according to your most important goal, approach each goal individually and set a date for completion. You’ll be amazed at the progress you make!