Many people feel that they are adrift in the world, ambling from career to career, not really getting anywhere. A key reason that they feel this way is that they don’t take the time to really think about their career path and what they want from life. Because of this indecision, they haven’t set formal goals or personal deadlines on when they’d like to achieve them.
Why Set Goals?
Goal setting is used by athletes, successful business-people, and high-level achievers in all fields. Setting goals gives you a long-term vision, and short-term motivation as you focus your knowledge and organize your time and resources to make the very most of your life. By setting concise and clearly defined goals, you can measure and take pride in achieving those goals, and see progress in what might have previously seemed like an endless and pointless grind. You’ll also raise your self-confidence as you begin to recognize your own ability and competence in achieving the goals that you’ve set.
Where Do You Start?
You can set your goals on a spectrum of levels. First think about the ‘big picture’ of what you want to do with your life, and identify the lifetime goal that you want to achieve. Then, break down your large goals into smaller targets that you must hit to reach your lifetime goal. Finally, once you’ve finished finalizing a plan, start on working on your goals.
Consider what you want to achieve. A lifetime goal will give you an overall perspective that shapes all other aspects of your decision making. When setting your lifetime goals, think about several aspects:
Career – What level do you want to reach in your career, or what do you ideally want to be doing?
Financial – How much do you want to earn, by what stage? How is this related to your career goals?
Education – Is there knowledge you’d like to acquire? What information or education do you need in order to achieve the goals above?
Family – Do you want to get married? Do you want to be a parent? How do you want to be seen by your partner or members of your family? What type of parent do you want to be?
Physical – Do you have personal athletic goals that you want to achieve? What steps are you going to take to achieve this?
Pleasure – What type of activities do you want to do to enjoy yourself? Do you want to travel? What places would you like to visit?
Community – Do you want to contribute to the community? How do you see yourself getting involved, and what would you like to get involved with?
Emotional – Is there any part of your mindset that is holding you back? Is your behaviour acceptable or is there anything you wish you could change?
Spiritual – Do you have any spiritual goals or beliefs that you’d like to explore? How are you going to explore your spirituality?
It’s essential to spend time brainstorming about these aspects, and then setting goals that best reflect what you want to do. Once everything is out on paper, consider trimming them so you can have a concise and small number of significant goals that you can work towards achieving. Once your goals are set, re-evaluate and really think about whether your goals are ones that you want to achieve, and not ones that your family, employers, or others want you to achieve. If you have a partner, consider their goals when planning your own; however, remain true to yourself and what you want in life.
Once you’ve set your lifetime goals, set a five-year plan of smaller goals that must be completed before you reach your lifetime plan. After you’ve decided on your first set of goals, keep the process going by reviewing and updating your to-do list on a daily basis.
When you’ve achieved a goal, take the time to enjoy the satisfaction of having done so. Absorb the implications of the goal achievement, and observe the progress that you’ve made towards other goals. If the goal was a significant one, reward yourself appropriately. All of this helps you build the self-confidence you deserve.