Step 5: Reduce the Distance to Your Goals
Want to get better at reaching your goals? Start by writing them down.
Each year I create goals in seven categories: health & wellness; emotional & intellectual; personal finances; spiritual; social; writing; and business. Then I write measurements of success and tactics to achieve it.
For instance, an emotional & intellectual goal for this year (one of three) is to “be curious and creative and a lifelong learner.” One measurement: “constantly learn new things or explore new areas of knowledge.” One strategy: “to read about science, history and creativity.”
I’m not suggesting you get as detailed as I do, but once written down, goals are easier to prioritize, act on and accomplish.
Here are the steps I use in my goal planning process. They require an investment of time, but even a scaled-down version will help you be more intentional.
- Dream big. Define your ideal year. Imagine what you will do and how you will be. If your goals don’t contain a sparkle of stardust, they won’t excite you. You want to stretch your skills and knowledge and enhance your contribution to the world.
- Narrow your focus. Once you describe the ideal year, narrow your focus. Prioritize. Which goals are most important? Which are most motivating? For me, increasing the number of personal development workshops ranks as one of the highest.
- Plan realistically. The next step is to rank the strategies by their impact on the goal and to attach the strategy to a time frame. I find it helpful to plan on a quarterly basis. For me, offering monthly journaling workshops was my top strategy. Yet when I considered the time, money and energy that strategy would require, I decided two workshops per quarter was more realistic.
- Stage your actions. At the beginning of each month, I look at my quarterly goals/strategies. Once again I create a prioritized list of goals and choose the strategies that will have the biggest impact on accomplishing those goals. At the beginning of each week, I create a to-do list which includes the actions required to implement the month’s selected strategies.
- Balance professional and personal goals. It’s essential that you maintain balance in your life – for your emotional, physical and mental wellbeing. Over the course of each week, in addition to focusing on your professional goals, pay attention to mental and physical health, friends and family, creative pursuits and community involvement. Be sure your life force isn’t sucked dry by an obsessive pursuit of financial, business or career success.
How do you reduce the distance to your goals? Make them worthy of who you are, and who you want to be, then take small actions every day to turn your dreams into reality.
ADDED FEATURE – Want to have access to a free worksheet to help design your 2017 goals? Click here to download it.
Up next – Procrastination Part 1: Types and Reasons.