If you don’t design your own life plan, chances are you’ll fall into someone else’s plan. And guess what they have planned for you? Not much. – Jim Rohn
My last post was about challenges and this one is about goals: can you tell I need a bit of structure and direction? I think we all do. I’ve been able to accomplish a lot in a small amount of time (working 3 jobs + blogging + planning my wedding), but I’m really no different than anyone else. If I didn’t set goals, I would probably spend my weekends playing Skyrim.
Why you should bother with goals
I know exactly what you’re thinking: “But Skyrim is a total blast!” That’s true, but there are some great reasons to set goals that go beyond beating Skyrim.
You’ll feel good about yourself. There’s no better feeling than reaching an important goal. Victory is yours! Not only that, but having goals gives you a sense of direction and hope for the future.
You’ll gain momentum. I find that the more often I complete important tasks or goals, the more likely I am to complete another one soon. I start to gain momentum and become more productive every day.
You’ll be laser focused. It’s one thing to think you want to start a blog. It becomes something when you start making a list of smalls goals that will get you there. As you start setting those initial goals, an entire blog plan will emerge in your mind.
Setting the right goals
You need to set goals. More specifically, you need to set the right goals. The most famous goal-setting method is called SMART, which stands for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, Timely, Evaluate, Revaluate. I can’t remember all that, so here’s my ÉLAN method for setting goals:
Make sure it’s something you can do (in not too much time) and make sure you know when it’s done.
Your goals don’t all have to be immediately attainable (I’m all about doing the impossible), but it’s a good idea to focus on attainable goals, too. You need to have some successes to build momentum. Then, you can start doing the impossible.
The most important aspect of any goal is its measurability. You have to be be able to know when you’ve completed your goal. A common goal is fluency in a second language. How do you know when you’re fluent? Is it when you can translate War and Peace into that language? Or is it when you can hold a 15-minute conversation without getting stuck? Those are drastically different, yet entirely valid, definitions of fluency. Define a specific goal that you can measure.
Finally, if your goal is making you unhappy then change it. A good goal should motivate and excite you, not stress you out. As Corbett Barr points out, a goal is not a contract. It can be changed at any time to suit your needs.
What goal are you currently working on? How will you know when it’s complete?
Go check out my ever-evolving “bucket list” to see what goals I’m working on now.