While some people are naturally goal-oriented, others struggle with finding their true direction. If you’re one of those to whom setting goals does not come naturally, it’s time that you learn the value of choosing a direction and following through until you meet with success. If you feel that you’re simply treading water and making little progress in life, it’s time to sit down and chart the course to achieve your dreams!
Look at the Big Picture
The first step in setting goals is a fun one. You get to daydream. Take some quiet time and imagine what you want your life to be. Visualize yourself as you want to be 10 or 15 years down the road. Whether you want a big house, to advance in your career or a substantial bank account, you have to pin down what it is you really desire. Refuse to limit yourself and think big.
Put It in Writing
Now that you have a clear mental picture of where you want to be, take notes. At this point you don’t have to have a detailed plan. Think of this step as composing a mission statement. Sum up what you want into one concise sentence. For example, “I want to be a published author with a beach house and a substantial amount of savings in the bank.” Now that you’re clear on what you want, all you have to do is figure out how to get there.
Break It Down
They say that a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. Keep that in mind as you break your large goal down into smaller, manageable steps. If you want to be an elementary school teacher, your first goal would be to obtain the education required to allow you to get your teaching license. Sum up the smaller accomplishments that you need to achieve in order to reach your larger goal.
Take Concrete Steps
Once you’ve decided on your smaller goals that will enable you to reach your larger one, you must take action. If your goal involves further education and you have no idea how to pay for it, the first step is to apply for financial aid. You may also want to take a second job in order to save up enough money to pay for your education. No matter what you need to do or how impossible it seems, take the first small step and trust that you’ll know what to do once that step is complete.
Visualize Your Success
Although many people start out strong when it comes to pursuing their goals, they often lose steam at the first sign of an obstacle. A good way to avoid discouragement is to picture your success on a daily basis. Imagine yourself achieving your goal in full detail. Close your eyes and imagine yourself walking across the stage to accept that diploma, acing the interview that gets you the position you want or spending the money that you’ve worked so hard to make. Alternatively, create a treasure map. You can do this by covering a brightly-colored poster board in pictures clipped from magazines that reinforce the life you want to live. Write several positive affirmations on the treasure map in between the pictures and look at it often to keep yourself encouraged.
Even when goal-setting doesn’t come naturally to you, you can learn to chart your course ahead of time. If you’re like most people, you consult a roadmap before you leave for a drive into unfamiliar territory. You owe it to yourself to do the same thing before you set out on the journey that is the rest of your life.