Everything You Need to Know About Goals (Part I): How to Set Goals and Accomplish Them

by - January 29, 2018

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In our Daily Motivation segment a few weeks ago, we encouraged you to get back to your goals and talked about regaining focus at work after the holidays. But since we are still in the very bright beginning of the year, what better opportunity to finally dedicate some quality time reserved exclusively for goals - how to set them, work towards them and become the person we want to be.

Goals are the building blocks of any achievement. It doesn't matter how big or small, in the near or distant future, it starts with a goal. They hold a key role in how we view life and our place in it. Short-term and long-term goals are equally as important in our development. But before we begin, let's see how to set them first.

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Take a moment, an hour or as much as you need to think about what your values are and what you want from life and then pause to reflect. You can mentally complete this exercise or you can write your thoughts down. Personally I'd say take the time to write them down or tap them in your notes if you're often on the phone or the computer. It shows that you acknowledge your commitment and your time investment - all the reasons to take it more seriously. The process of identifying what matters to you most and what do you strive for is the integral part of setting your goals. Here are some question prompts to get you started:

What are your values - i.e. what do you value most in life?

What do you consider as an 'achievement'? Is it personal, professional or both?
When you close your eyes and visualize, how do you see yourself - where are you and what are you doing?
Pay attention to the feeling. Try identifying and describing it.
Focus on the positive emotions that encompass you and try to pinpoint where they come from - what brings the spark of excitement?
What makes you feel empowered and in your element?

Don't stress it out, it's okay if you struggle to come up with clear answers on all the questions, it takes time and practice to figure things out - just don't give up yet. Allow yourself extra time in the following days or weeks to think and reflect as sometimes the pressure of coming up with answers can feel overwhelming and block your clarity. Breathe in and concentrate on what you've just learned about yourself (regardless of what and how much it is), but not on what you haven't yet!

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Once you've established your findings and know a little bit more about what you want, it's time to focus on the next step - outlining and planning. After the question of "what" comes the question of "how". I know, you're tired of questions, but I'm afraid there's no easy way. The following example questions are for guidance. You can create your own, designing them with the mind to ultimately provide direction to the major question - how am I going to achieve my goals? 

How much time is needed to fulfil your goal? How clear can your timeframe be? Depending on the goal, a rigid timescale cannot always be identified. Some goals evolve with time (e.g. changing careers, meeting a life partner), while others can have more specific timing (e.g. buying a house, securing a promotion).
What are the steps you need to take towards your goal? Prioritise by importance, time, relevance and resources. For an example, if your goal is to change careers - what do you need to do to get there? Do you have to spend time re-qualifying and is it necessary, do you have the resources to afford it? How long job search will take you? Are you going to combine it alongside your current employment or will you take time off work to re-charge and explore different options?
Create a plan of action based on your identified steps and timeframe.

The more specific the goal is, the clearer you will be able to see the progress and the outcomes. If you've created a plan that works for you and your goals, then it's time to monitor and evaluate. This can be done continuously throughout your plan towards your goal, but if you feel like it can cause anxiety and make you feel critical about yourself and your progress - you can leave it for after you complete a certain stage.

The purpose of goal-setting is not for you to feel negative and add more worry to your daily life, but the opposite. It's there to offer positive navigation, encouragement and consistency. That's why next time in Daily Motivation, we'll talk about how to use those skills in goal-setting, planning and outlining in a positive way in order to create a more fulfilling life experiences.

Have a day filled with love and see you next week!

In Daily Motivation we will lead the fight to stay motivated, whether it's about your job, the boring tasks you have to deal with, the workplace-built intolerance, finding the strength and time for your real passions, follow what truly makes you happy, or just live and wake up without the daunting feeling of having to go through another rushed day.

Previously on Daily Motivation -
How to Focus at Work after the Holidays

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