A dream is just a wish until you set goals to achieve it. One of the best parts about a new year is the idea that you are staring fresh and that this could be “your year.” It could be your year to start a new business. It could be your year to find your soul mate. It could be your year to break that record. It could be your year. The reality is that the odds are against you, and most likely it won’t be your year… that is unless you map out how you are going to achieve what you desire. A key way to do this is to set goals that will hold you accountable as well as push you to new heights. There is a major problem with this that explains why most people fail at their new year’s resolutions or new business plans. The reason is that they do not understand the anatomy of setting a goal that works. I want to go over the characteristics that every goal should include if you want to become successful at setting and achieving your goals.
Being the optimistic person that I am, I am a serial unachievable goal setter. These goals are good when you look at the big picture of where you want to be, but the monumental results in the overall grand scheme of your life are a result of faithful daily decisions that reach small, achievable goals on a regular basis. So yes, dream big and have the huge hairy, audacious goals, but keep them in their rightful place in the future. As we talk about transitioning into your dream job and how to get there, it is important to set achievable goals. Just because one person made it through med school in four years doesn’t mean you will. Just because someone had an idea that went viral and they made millions of dollars doesn’t mean your idea will do the same. Set goals based on facts, not on what you wish would happen. Be realistic and understand that we often overestimate what we can do in the short term and underestimate what we can do in the long term.
Your goals need to be in writing. If you do not write your desired outcome down, it’s a wish rather than a goal. It needs to be written everywhere. On the mirror in your bathroom, on the background of your phone, and anywhere else you can because you want to see them everywhere and often.
A vague goal generally never gets achieved. The more specific your goal is, the better your chances are of achieving it. For instance, if you say you want to make more money this year than last year, then it’s hard to make action items to help you make more money. But if you say, I want to make $12,000 more this year than I did last year, you know that you will have to make an extra $1,000 per month. When you are able to break your goal into bite-sized pieces, you are more likely to get the result you are looking for.
As I began the writing process for my second book, I mapped out what content I would have in it and also set a minimum word-count goal. I also set a timeline to be finished. These are two goals that are measurable. They are measurable because I can take the amount of words that I desire and divide that number by the amount of days that I designate on my timeline, and that gives me the amount of words that I will need to type each day to stay on track with my goals. Goals need to be measurable if you ever intend for them to be manageable.
Making your goals public is a scary but effective way to help you accomplish them. No one likes to put something out there and not do it; right? This is why it is so effective. Post it everywhere and tell everyone what you are trying to do. I also recommend getting an accountability partner to help walk the road with you. This person will need to know how your goal is broken down into sub-goals and the timeline that you intend to complete them in. This way, they can know when to check in on you and see how you are doing, as well as offering a word of encouragement in the tough times and reminding you why you are doing this.
The moment your goals are achievable, written, specific, measurable, and public, the deck is stacked in your favor. You are no longer wishing for an outcome but taking proactive strides to make your dreams a reality. As you begin to dream and make a plan, refer back to these characteristics of a goal that works.