It is important for us all to have goals and hopefully you have sat down and written yours down. That’s the easy part but how to plan and achieve your goals is another matter entirely. To do this, look at where you are today and then visualize where you want to be. Decide what needs to change in order to reach your goal.
For instance, if you want to travel the world then you you will need an amount of money. Decide how much you need then look at your options for making that money. Or perhaps you have career goals and you realize you need experience to get there. Work out how you can get the necessary experience.
Whatever your goal is, you need to focus on the first small steps that are needed. That might mean the next small promotion at work or developing a side income.
You need to break these smaller goals down even further. Look at the smallest possible steps that you need to take on a daily and weekly basis to achieve your goal. If your goal is to run a marathon next year then the first step is to begin an exercise routine. This may begin with a daily walk if you haven’t exercised for years. Find a training plan and a diet that you identify with, and then commit to sticking to that every single day without fail.
If your goal is to publish a book then your daily goal is going to be to write X number of words each day. Your goals need to fit the SMART outline. That is they need to be Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Time Limited. That doesn’t mean they have to be easy. It is good for your goals to stretch you provided you have a plan to make it achievable.
So you need to keep your end goal in mind but set yourself interim goals towards that target. The best way to do that is to work backwards from the end goal. For instance if you want to sail round the world, you would need to have an ocean worthy boat, how are you going to get the money for it? Can you start a home business to make money now?
You will need to know how to handle a boat in all conditions. How will you learn to sail? Research and book a sailing course now.
Interim steps to plan and achieve your goals
These interim daily goals are important stepping stones to success. You’re going to keep the vision of the end game in mind so that it motivates you when the going gets tough. Your goal may seem a long way off so you need to concentrate on your daily target. That is the only thing that matters right now.
If you just focus on a distant goal will feel too detached from the outcome which will make it very hard to stick to.
Even if you have made a SMART goal which is specific and time-specific such as losing 20 kg in 6 months it may still seem too far removed. Stepping stone goals will give you motivation to progress and stick with the plan. Set a goal to jog for 20 minutes 4 times a week and you will know whether you are on track.
There is a saying that the way to eat an elephant is one piece at a time. If you meet your interim goals they act as stepping stones and the ultimate goal takes care of itself.
You must take responsibility for your results and be honest with yourself. Don’t make excuses. If you deviate from your plan then just start again and get back on track.
Set yourself a challenge to do one thing each day towards your goal. Keep a journal but also a wall chart. The journal will allow you to record your achievements and setbacks. If you find yourself struggling in future, you will be able to look back and see how far you have come and how you overcame challenges.
A wall chart that is visible will keep you on track. Mark off the days as you stick to the plan. You won’t be able to ignore the days that you stray from your goals if they are staring you in the face. Habits are formed by repetition so having a record is important.
If you do miss a day, don’t get disheartened and beat yourself up. Life happens and may interfere with your plans. As John Lennon famously said “Life is what happens while you’re busy making plans”. The important thing is to get back on course as soon as possible.
Reward yourself when you achieve your interim goals. This will trigger neural pathways that give you the encouragement to continue. In this way the small daily goals are how to plan and achieve your goals for the big stretch goals in your life.