How can you make your goals a reality?
How do you get from fantasizing about realizing your goals to actually achieving them? Many people dream about starting their own business, going back to school, losing weight, or any number of goals, but smell defeat even before trying. So what’s the difference between those who do and those who don’t? How can you get from here to there? The truth is that goal setting is extraordinarily easy. Note the millions of people who pledge any number of goals at the beginning of the New Year. Even though most us think of different goals we would like to achieve in our lifetime, few of us actually accomplish them.
How can you make your goals a reality?
The truth is that goal realization is a process. The steady work of achieving your goals is what really matters in the end. The actual process of achieving your goals is what allows you to grow as a person, and to achieve success in your own right. So how do you approach the process of goal realization in a way that cultivates freedom, joy, and ultimately, success? Here is a checklist of different things you should keep in mind when in pursuit of your goals.
First, all successful goal-seekers know that in order to achieve your goals you must be successful. People who speak or think abstractly about something they would “someday” like to accomplish tend to abandon their goals or let them languish in the margins of their life. Be specific. What is it exactly that you would like to accomplish? Do you want to write a novel? Go back to school? Start a theater troupe? Be as specific as possible. Articulate your dream. Get out a pad and pen and write down what you want. Be realistic with yourself. What will you probably need in order to accomplish your goal? What are the inherent sacrifices or compromises that you foresee? What kind of resources will you need to succeed? Describe your goal clearly. The simple act of writing it down will make it seem more real, and make the path toward your goal will appear more palpable.
Now that you’ve been specific about your goals, and honest about how realistic they are, it’s time to think about making your goals measurable. Many people make New Year’s resolutions “to be more healthy.” This is awfully vague! How do you know when you are “more healthy”? Everyone has a different definition for this. Make your goal specific and measurable.
Next, you must set a reasonable timeline for achieving your goals. Don’t let your goals fall to the wayside, or languish in the realm of “someday” thinking. Break down your goals into manageable sections. The smaller these sections, the easier and smoother the journey will seem. Set deadlines for yourself, and make them short. If you’re working on your goal of writing the great American novel, don’t give yourself a deadline of two years. Instead, give yourself a deadline of finishing a chapter a month, two pages a day, or ten pages a week. Whatever works for your specific situation. The important thing is to be specific, to set short and firm deadlines for yourself that are easy to keep track of.
An important part of goal realization that many people overlook is the way they communicate their goals. People speak of “trying to lose weight,” of “trying to start a business,” or “trying to learn how to play the piano.” “Trying” often doubles as a security clause. It serves to protect us from failure by providing us with security hatch. Speak confidently about your goal. Don’t speak of “trying.” Instead, say you “will lose weight,” or you “will play the piano.” Don’t give yourself an easy way out of achieving your goal.
The final and most important part of your goal realization process is to harness a deep and abiding passion for your goal. You cannot simply motivate yourself out of fear or guilt. You must truly care about achieving your goal. If you don’t possess a passion for your goal, if you can ‘take it or leave it,’ chances are that you will not be successful.