Who doesn’t know it. You’re sitting on your desk on first of January, trying to figure out what you want to achieve this year. You have visions, ideas and goals in mind you need to bring to paper. Most of us just write a dash list to make sure they won’t forget on their goals during the year. Though while we are very tuned to get going in January, by the time June comes things look a lot different already. We start to get lazy and by December we realize we haven’t completed nearly half of what we wanted to achieve. Sounds familiar? Well I feel you, it’s been for me like that for years though one day I decided to make an end to not achieving. I’ve started doing my goal setting more strategic and in this post, I’m going to tell you the strategy how everyone, you and I can start getting the goal setting right and achieve every goal you want.
Ready to get going? Okay, let’s do it.
Here is what we will cover today:
- Why strategic goal setting is important for achieving your goals?
- How to do goal setting right?
- A last motivation
Why strategic goal setting is important for achieving your goals?
No matter who your former goal setting looked like, if maybe it’s the first time you ever set yourself some goals and need advice on how to do it properly. Or you’re like me, looking back on a great year, you’ve learned a lot and had fun along the way. But you also know, there is still room for improvement, growth and an even more amazing year. In any case, I’m glad you’re here. Because this is exactly what I want to help you with.
Whether it is a long-term goal you want to reach in 10 years or a small goal for a few weeks or months, you will need a strategy on how to set them in a way you can really achieve and not have to realize what you want is totally unable to get to.
In addition, goal setting prevents from procrastination. If you have something you want to reach for, rather start earlier because there can’t be enough time to work for your goals. Just imagine where you could be at the time the new year, month, week, day has started when you just worked for it earlier.
Last but least, goal setting will help you to keep improving. When you do your monthly, weekly or daily check up and see if you’re still on the right track to achieve your goals you will soon realize if there is anything you need to make adjustments on. And if you’re still on the right track you can use that chance to strive for even bigger goals to make sure you keep getting better and better every day.
How to do goal setting right?
Most of our goals are quite big and seem unreachable at first but that is why it is even more crucial to have a concrete plan and strategy to make every step count and not getting lost along the way. So, it is important to have an overall goal and then break it down into small, manageable chunks you have to do every day, week, month to achieve your goal. And then you need to check on them whenever the deadline occurs.
That said, let’s get started and set some strategic goals.
1. Write them down.
The first thing you got to do when sitting down and setting goals, is to make a list of everything you want to achieve. Because once you write down what you strive for, it’s more likely you achieve it.
The reason is that you won’t forget what you wanted to have even after years because you wrote it down and can look it up again.
A little hack I use to make sure I really won’t forget any of them, is to pin the list somewhere, you can always see. Your wardrobe or room door might be perfect.
After writing a list, you need to categorize by setting time frames. Behind each goal write the time by when you want to have it achieved. For example, if your list consists of:
- Doing an internship at xy.
- Getting fit and loosing 2 pounds.
- Passing all exams at University.
- Having a house at the beach.
- Learning how to fish.
You need to write down the time by when you want to have it done.
- Doing an internship at xy. –> before 25 yo.
- Getting fit and loosing 2 pounds. –> ASAP
- Passing all exams at University. –> June 2018
- Having a house at the beach. –> When 30
- Learning how to fish. –> 2018
So now you got a brief overview about what you want. It’s time to get a step further.
2. Be concrete.
Once you wrote down the things you want to get done, you need to make them more concrete. This means, not only write down, what you want do and in what time frame. Write down exactly what each goal includes. Make some descriptions how it should look like. Always answer these main questions while doing this: What? Why? How?
Sound too theoretically?! Here is how it could look like:
- Doing an internship at xy. –> before 25 yo.
- Position I want to take: salesman (what)
- How long: maybe 2-6 months (what)
- I want to learn more about the company’s structure to apply it myself (why)
- Need more experience in this subject (why)
- Need to find a contact person within the company (how)
- Write application, probably half a year ahead (how)
That’s by far not all of the details you have to add but should give you an overview on how the process works.
Now do it for all of your goals.
Note: If you have a long-term goal, like the one above, you need to take the “how” things and set them as smaller goals. That’s where the braking down part begins.
So, we got the following:
- Need to find a contact person within the company (how) –> from now on
- Write application, probably half a year ahead (how) –> when 22,5 yo
What I did was to time the smaller goals within the big goal as well. I set a time frame according to the deadline I set for the main goal. So if you want to do an internship before 25 and you’ve got say 3 years to go, and you said you need to write an application half year before, the deadline for it will be when you’re 22 and a half.
Finding a contact person is more of a thing not being done actively at first. So, you could for example start doing it right now by just knowing you’re looking for it and therefore paying more attention in your day to day life and maybe occasionally meeting a person.
3. Be realistic.
Now we’ve been concrete and described the goal in detail. With doing this it is very important to stay realistic. It doesn’t help you reach your goals if you set them to high. You can’t lose 10 pounds in one month, but you can in a year. While setting goals you have to realistic and honest otherwise it’s just going to be depressing and keeps you away form actually achieving what you want. Don’t forget you’ve got other things to do as well, which might cost you time on working for your goal. Be aware of times where you might not feel in the mood of doing what you have to do and need a time off.
All those things you have to calculate within setting a time frame for your goal and also the goal itself.
4. Don’t set to many goals.
Resulting of the limited amount of time we as humans have, it is important to not set to many goals for the same time frame. One after the other is what I recommend. For example, if you want to study at university you shouldn’t set a goal like saving a lot of money or gaining working experience. You can have all these goals but just not at the same time. You have to decide what is more important and then do one after the other. This doesn’t mean you can’t work towards more than one goal. I’m just saying you can’t do to many time-consuming things at a time. Rather focus on a less time-consuming goal like working out more for example. For that you just need an hour a day, which you can fit in easily while studying or working.
5. Remember, everyone needs time out.
Now we covered all important things for setting goals to make it easier to stick and achieve. Sometimes though it’s still hard to keep going, I know. And unfortunately, I have no secret for that, yet. All I can say is, everyone needs time out sometimes. I know this is a bit off topic, but it is never soon enough to think about vacations. You need them in order to fill up your energy levels so you’ll stay motivated and therefore reach your goals faster.
Make sure you’ve got time off every once and then, so you can actually relax. It doesn’t have to be a whole week. Sometimes just one day with a very good friend having fun, is enough to fell more energized to keep going.
And once you’re back from your little break, you need to remind yourself of why you want to achieve that goal and center the willpower to focus again. Use the motivation you get by imagining what it would look like to have reached that goal to keep working.
Achieving your goals takes time. You can’t force things to go faster than they are supposed to go it will only make you unsatisfied and unhappy so stop it. Have the patience and trust with and in yourself to be capable to do whatever you need to do. Have faith in you being on the right track and keep going. Even if things sometimes seem wrong, hard, yes even drowning, keep pushing through it. Facing and overcoming struggles is where the magic happens. This is where growth takes place and where you return stronger, more confident and a step closer to where you want to be. Trust me, even if it seems hard sometimes, you are doing great and all you need to do is keep going. It will pay off.
And now, let’s get started and work towards your best life. It’s never too late to start and never to early either.
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See you soon.
What is your biggest goal you are working on currently?