In life we can sometimes feel a bit adrift and all out to see. Things can happen suddenly to disrupt our daily life, a family crisis, a break up or getting laid off from work. These are an example of big things but here are also small things that can throw us off track at times and leave us wondering where we are going in life. These feelings can become quite overwhelming and can lead to some spiraling thoughts of self-doubt and unrest. One way to feel like you have a bit more of a hold on life and to feel like no matter what happens you have something to hold on to and look towards, is goal setting.
Goal setting is a really important way to have a clear vision of your own future, knowing what it is you want to achieve in life and having something tangible to work towards. Here are some hacks to help you on your path to setting goals getting to know what it is you want out of life.
How Does Goal Setting Work?
So how does this goal setting business work you may be asking? Well It works by creating a narrowed down version of your hopes and dreams and by really thinking about the things you are wanting in life and how to achieve them it gives you something to actively work towards.
Types of Goals
There are many kinds of goals you can set the more you think about things. There are you big long term goals which may be something like owning your own house, car, creating a successful business or having a family. Then there are your medium term goals, which could include getting a promotion at work, or finishing a University degree. And then after that you have your short-term goals, which can be small and simple such as finishing a project, getting into a course you want, traveling to Europe for a three month holiday, or swimming with dolphins.
As well as ordering your goals into long medium and short, there are also categories you can fit your goals into and those could be education goals, career goals, health goals, relationship goals and financial goals.
Where to Start?
So now you understand a little more about the kids of things you can set as goals, where do you begin? One great way to start is with a mind map or brainstorming. Getting a piece of paper and writing down as the things you want in life, that you may physically want, emotionally want, things you want to achieve. Remember these is your private thoughts and you can write down whatever you want no matter how silly them may seem. It’s important to be as honest as you can with yourself and your wants so that you can get a bigger picture and have a better starting place for setting goals.
Once you’ve written then all down its time to start organizing your thoughts. Firstly try to organize your goals into their length, is it a short-term goal or a long? Have some columns in a notebook and order them short, medium, long. Then get all of those random words and sentences you’ve written doing in your brainstorm and fit them into each category.
Once you have ordered them that way it’s time to get a little more specific with what kind of goals they are, physical, emotional financial etc. Putting these kind of labels on them can help you latter group certain goals together. You may have medium long and short financial goals that all fit together and when you are trying to work out how to achieve them it’s good to have them grouped so you can see that the achievement of one goal can lead to another.
So you’ve got your goals organized into groups, kinds and types is that all? Are you done? Not quite! It’s all well and good writing down the things you want and want to achieve, but now comes the hard part of working out how to achieve them. If you have goals but no plan of action then you will find those goals quickly get put in the too hard basket and you’re back to where you started.
Plan of Action
It’s time for you to create a Plan of Action. This may take one day or a few weeks to go through depending on if you are only getting an hour or so a day to yourself to allow your mind time to ponder and take a closer look at your goals. A plan of action is all about looking at each goal individually and working out how you can achieve it. Start with your list of short term goals and take a look at each one more closely. In your health and well being section you may have a goal to get fit and a goal to eat well, you can look at these both individually but also see how you can connect them. You may just need to write down one paragraph after each goal. If it is ‘getting fit’ then you could write a few ideas like ‘look for a personal trainer’ ‘run thirty minutes a day’ ‘ride to work instead of drive’. If you know these things will be a lot harder for you than then seem on paper you could make a sub goal to enlist the help of a professional lifestyle coach or personal trainer who could help you both with your eating habits and your exercise schedule at the same time.
Long and medium term goals may take more time and thought to plan out and remember you don’t need to know exactly how to achieve your goals, that will come with time and by slowly working on them what is more important it to think about the steps you could take to get there. If you have a long term goal of owning your own house, but short term goals of buying jet skis, a new car, a holiday abroad then you would need to have a look at how your short term goals of what you want may affect your long term goal, for example by spending a lot of money on things you want in the short term may decrease your savings and chances of owning a house in 10 years time. Look at all your goals in each segment and see how they interconnect to give you a better idea of the steps you will have to take to achieve these goals.
Is it Achievable?
The more you look into your goals on a deeper level you will start to get a better sense of how achievable they are. It is good to aim big and high and have huge goals to keep you working towards and give you something to look forward too, but also have a look at if it is something you can really get done. You need to be able to set realistic goals and intentions. If you decided you wanted to become fluent in French but only gave yourself two weeks to do so then that is probably not an achievable goal and you may only disappoint yourself. If you gave yourself a year and part of that time you were spending in a French speaking country and also taking classes to study the language, then that is achievable. Make sure you have some short term goals in there that are easy to do so you will have a sense of accomplishment that can help spur you on and towards accomplishing bigger dreams and goals.
It is important to dream big but being somewhat realistic about the paths and steps you will need to take to accomplish your goals will help you more in actually seeing them come into fruition and that just thinking about them vaguely and hoping something will come form it all.
Keeping on Track
Now that you have made your goals and set intentions that are realistic and achievable you’ll be feeling pretty good and pretty excited about the prospect of achieving these goals, but after a week of so you may find yourself slipping into old habits and having life get in the way and forgetting or even giving up on some of your goals. So how do you stay the course and keep on the right track?
Having visual reminders of your goals around the home can be a great way to keep on track and reminded about what you are planning on achieving. There are many ways to do this, you could have a mood board with pictures up of the things that you want, this could be pictures of someone doing the job that you want to do, pictures of a certain car or holiday destination, pictures of health and fitness. An inspiration board is an easy way to remind yourself of your goals and keep them fresh and exciting.
If you prefer words then you can type up on the computer and print out and list of your goals in their categories and you could go even further and print out the steps you need to take to see them through.
Having a diary or planner can also work wonders. There are a lot out there that give you space for intention setting and list making on a daily, weekly and monthly basis and having to write down your different goals each week and then check in on them is a great way to keep up your accountability for these things.
Don’t Give Up
Now you have the basic tools you need to start creating and setting goals that will help you get the most out of yourself and out of life. You can always add to your list of goals and don’t be surprised if you find yourself heading in slightly different directions. Sometimes focusing on one thing can actually make what you really want clearer and you may find yourself on a different path than you started down but still heading in a good direction. Good luck, it may be hard at times but don’t give up. You can achieve most things you set your mind too.