Poof! It’d be great if a genie popped out of the bottle and granted us our wish, but it’s not going to happen. The truth is that there is no secret magic for achieving your goals. However, by following a simple, purposeful plan you can live up to your dreams at work and at home.
Follow these steps for working toward and achieving your goals:
Activate Your Goals
Knowing what you want is sometimes the easiest part. I want to play piano, so I write it down on paper. But, what’s next? That’s where many individuals get tripped up. Having your goals written down is simply not enough. Make a declaration to activate your goal.
Create an official goal sheet in your day planner that is dedicated to one single goal. Title it, date it, and leave room for details. This begins your personal worksheet toward success. Start a new sheet for each goal.
Create Intermediate Steps
This is a key step that unfortunately many people skip. It is important to recognize the transitional steps toward your goal because they bridge your aspirations into actions. Ask yourself “How can I achieve this goal?” Then write down all the answers that come to mind.
For example, I would ask myself “How can I learn to play piano?” I would then write down the intermediate steps:
- Find a teacher
- Find a piano
- Sign-up for lessons
- Practice piano
Your intermediate steps carry more clearly defined details about your goals, yet they are still a bit too vague to put on your task list. It’s in the next step that we break down your intermediate steps into actionable tasks.
Take Action (to-dos)
Here is where the rubber hits the road. Make a list of to-dos that will accomplish each intermediate step. Simply choose the first task, and then do the next thing. In the case of learning to play piano, I create the following tasks for the intermediate step “Find a teacher:”
- Search online for local piano teachers
- Research/compare lesson costs
- Call piano teachers for availability
- Decide on piano teacher
Commit yourself to plan at least two goal-related activities per week. Use your goal sheets to track your progress by assigning due dates for each task and then checking them off as they’re completed.
Avoid the Pitfalls
Now that you have your goals, intermediate steps and tasks, following-through is all that’s left between you and success. Of course, the rest lies in your motivation and desire toward achieving your goals. It goes without saying that the path to your success is filled with obstacles. Make a point to avoid these common pitfalls:
- Procrastination: The enemy of all goals – make a conscious effort to avoid wasting time. Goals require a deliberate, disciplined mindset every day.
- Over-commitment: Schedule yourself within your means. Don’t try to do too much because you won’t have the energy to succeed.
- Lack of balance: Simply put, you’ll never learn to the piano if you spend all your time playing chess. Make time each week to pursue your goals.
- Distraction: Stay focused on the things that are important to you. Learn to say no to the requests of others that don’t serve your goals or values.
- Losing touch: It’s too easy to lose sight of what you want to achieve. Keep your goals front and center in your life and visible to you during your planning sessions.
What Do You Think?
How have you found success in achieving your goals? Please share your ideas by commenting to this post. If you enjoyed this post, get free updates by email or RSS.
[Photo credit: Ed Murray]
Day-Timer Spokesperson Jeff Doubek can be reached at email@example.com.