“Your mind, while blessed with permanent memory, is cursed with lousy recall. Written goals provide clarity. By documenting your dreams, you must think about the process of achieving them.” ~ Gary Ryan Blair
Sometimes when we set goals, they don’t always turn out the way we’d hoped and planned for. When that happens it is easy to blame outside factors and say the universe just didn’t cooperate to bring us what we’ve asked for. What is often the case, though, is we were not clear enough in asking for what we wanted.
Clarity in setting goals is an absolute must. When you think about it, a goal is a lot like a compass. It helps you focus on where you want to go in life and make positive progress to get there. But if your directions are confusing, then no matter how good the compass is, it’s going to have a hard time helping you get to where you want to be.
The good news is, clarity can be learned. It may take some practice, but learning to write clear goals instead of abstract ideas will get you much closer to success. Not only will you have good directions to get you where you want to go, it will be easier to relax and enjoy the journey because you know where you are going.
Here are a few tips you can use to help you get clear on what you want to achieve:
1. Figure out your ultimate goal. What, exactly, do you want?
- Instead of a goal like “I want to be successful,” get down to specifics, such as “I want to own my own business which brings in at least $10,000 per month.”
2. Don’t be afraid of detail. You make the ultimate decision on what you want. Just don’t be afraid to set the details. Avoid goals like “I want to be rich” because there is no detail.
- How much money do you want to make?
- Why? What will this money provide for you that you desire?
- What lifestyle do you want? Cars, homes, ability to travel the world, philanthropy?
- How do you want to earn this money?
- When do you want this to happen?
- How can you prepare for this?
3. Break up your goals. When you stare at the ultimate goal, it may seem intimidating and unattainable. It’s important to break up your main goal into smaller goals. Write out detailed plans about how you’ll reach each of the smaller goals.
- For example, if you want to start your own business, a small goal would be to research your local and federal business laws and register a name.
4. Give yourself deadlines. It’s vital to give yourself deadlines so you know you’re making progress towards your goals. Each of your small goals should have an attainable deadline.
- In the business example above, maybe you’d give yourself a week’s time in order to research different business structures and laws.
5. Keep track. Make detailed notes about what you have done so far. Keeping track of your progress will help you stay organized and on top of your goals.
6. Make alternate plans. Sometimes you won’t be able to make the deadline you have set out for yourself, or maybe you’ll be unable to follow through with a current plan entirely. It’s important to think of alternatives in case certain situations don’t work out in your favor. If you already have back up plans in place, you’ll save time if you run into snags on the way to your goals.
Once you have your goals and plans created, it’s important to organize them for easy implementation and review. A couple of ways you can do this are with mindmapping software, and by organizing all your detailed plans and journals in a binder for easy access to your various sets of notes.
Regardless of how you set things up, following these tips will help you get clear on what you want to achieve. Taking time to do this at the beginning of your journey will go a long way toward reducing any stress around the process, and will allow you to enjoy the view on your way to success.