By Charlotte Salafia
We are two months into the new year and some might wonder why I would bring up goal setting. The beginning of the year is a great prompt to map out the upcoming year ye t it’s also arbitrary, we have many anniversaries that can prompt us to review our lives and map out the next steps; anniversaries, birthdays, spring and so many more.
It’s important to create goals and often the challenge is to create goals that are attainable and then follow through. Here are some steps to create a successful map to your goals and outcomes.
1) Be INCREDIBLY SPECIFIC: There is a huge difference between having a goal to get a new car and having a goal to get a 1990s Ford Mustang II. The more specific the better. You get what you set your mind to and if you want a car then…. it could turn out to be a rusted out old beetle bug. The more specific, the more you can envision it. When you go and test drive one, you make a connection to it with all your senses, you feel yourself in the seat with your hands on the wheel, you hear the sound of the wheels on the road, you see yourself in your next new (to you) car. If you are looking at college, what college? What department? If you are looking for a new job, what company or type of company, what would you like to get out of it? What would you like to get paid? When you don’t chose, life chooses for you.
2) Break it down into bite size pieces: Find out what the first step is. If you see it as one big project or mountain to conquer, it’ll zap all your steam to move forward. Knowing what the first step is and then the next is the best approach. You don’t have to know all the steps to go ahead and get started, just the first one or so and as you move into it, the next steps after that will become apparent.
3) Leverage your connections: There may be a skill or some knowledge you need to reach the goal. There may be an introduction you need to someone who knows someone in a position you are working on getting. When you are working toward a goal and need assistance, you may be quite surprised who your friends and family are connected to. Friends always want to help out and it usually doesn’t cost them time or much effort to make an introduction or teach you a skill or connect you with someone else who can. Open your mouth and let people know what you desire to accomplish and they will assist. (This will also assist you in being accountable because once you tell people what you are doing, they will ask how it’s going.)
4) Find options: These days of the computer age and true or false testing, we are offered one or two options for anything… “paper or plastic”, “eat in, or take out”, “credit or debit”… you get the idea. We are programmed to believe there are only one or two options. The reality is that there is a multitude of options and we just have to look for them or create them. Often when I’m looking for options, I run things by a friend or two for fresh ideas and I am always inspired. When I was in college, I had the opportunity to get a plane ticket to England for dirt cheap, I had a place to stay but I had to come up with $200 in a short time. I didn’t have that and I didn’t know anyone who would lend it to me or give it to me. My friends helped me with an idea, I knew 200 people who would give me a dollar. That’s how I went to England that Spring Break.
5) Find a way to measure your progress and be flexible: Measuring your progress keeps you moving on it. If it’s a car, decide to take an action item a week or month or whatever your time scale is. Make a money chart even. If you are getting fit, what does that look like and how can you determine if you are doing what you set out to do? Attend fitness class 3 days a week?
What if you only make it to class 2 days a week for several weeks. Well, make an adjustment and be flexible. 2 days is better than 0 days. Give yourself a break. When something in your life changes, be flexible and roll with it. If the plan is 3 days a week then you end up with a new responsibility… so be it. It’s not the end of your goal, it may just stretch it out.
Go tough on yourself and when you need to, give yourself a break. Live in reality, every once in a while you’ll slip and that is ok. Just get back on track from the detour and move forward.
Final Tip: Create a vision board. It creates an Anchor for your goals. You have it in front of you to remind you what you are moving toward. Also write on it 3 action items you can take to move toward your goal and 3 people who can assist you with getting where you want to be and list 3 skills you can learn to get you moving.
Charlotte Salafia is a Life Coach/NLP practitioner/Speaker. She studied communications and life coaching with the Human Communications Institute. She is also the author of the MomsWith A Passion Blog.