We all have dreams for the future, whether it’s that one day we will retire to somewhere hot, drive our dream car or own that perfect house. Perhaps YOU want to start your own business, be the next CEO of your organisation or you just want to supercharge your career in leadership.
But dreams aren’t goals. ‘One day’ isn’t specific, and without a plan, you will find yourself 10 years down the line still wishing, hoping, and dreaming. So, instead of doing that, how about you follow these 10 great ways to set and achieve your goals?
1. Tell Me What You Want; What You Really, Really Want: Back in the 90’s - The Spice Girls had a point with that line. If you don’t know what you really want, how are you going to get it? That's where you start. Dream big. Brainstorm what you really want in your life, career or your business. Let your imagination run wild, and think about all those things you thought you would have one day. Get some paper and write a huge list. Find some magazines and cut out pictures of your dream house, your perfect holiday or that car you have always wanted. Or you could build a Pinterest board. Whichever works for you. Really visualise, sink yourself into the dream and feel what it’s like to have what you want.
2. Pick Your Goal(s): Now you have done the fun bit, let’s get real. If you try and go for the new business, the new career, the house, the car, the holidays, the money, the perfect body and on and on, your brain will not know what to focus on first, and you will get nowhere. Too many goals are as bad as having none. Pick one, or two at the most for now. You can always choose more goals later when you have accomplished your first one. In fact, having achieved one of your goals is more likely to make you feel like you can achieve anything you want.
3. Write It Down: Writing your goal down makes it seem more solid, more real, and that you really are going for it. But be specific. If you want to start a new business or go for your dream job, don’t just write that down. That’s too woolly a goal, with nothing really to aim for. If you are thinking of starting your own business think about what type of business you want, what will you sell, how much will you charge, who are your perfect clients? If you are looking for your dream job, what type of organisation do you want to work for, what sector or department do you want to work in? Put as much detail as you can into your plan including when you want to achieve your goal by and what steps and actions you are going to take. The more specific you are, the more your brain will come along for the ride and start helping you. And the easier it is to know when you achieved your goal.
4. Don’t Keep It To Yourself: If only you know you are aiming to run a marathon next June, what’s to stop you slacking off from your training every now and then, or even altogether? And there’s nothing to stop that little voice in the back of your head talking you out of it, and telling you that you can’t do it. But if you tell everyone you are going to run that marathon next year, you will have a whole host of people encouraging you and cheering you on. And they will be there to banish that negative voice and tell you - you have got this. Yes, having everyone know what you are doing will add pressure, but it’s ‘good’ pressure of the kind that will keep you moving towards your goal.
5. Get A Support Team: There’s nothing quite like accountability to get you moving and keep you on track. Get yourself a group of like-minded people, whether that’s in a Facebook group, a mastermind group or even something you set up on your own. Having your cheerleaders and people who will help you when you feel stuck will motivate you for the long haul.
6. Break It Down: If you try to do everything all at once when setting your new business up or gaining skills and experiences that will help you with your career, chances are you might miss something vital, do all the tasks poorly, or end up burning out. You might become overwhelmed and feel like giving up altogether. By breaking it down into small, manageable tasks and planning out what you need to do by when you will have a much better chance of crossing everything off your list.
7. Make A Plan: So, you have your written, specific goal, and your support group. You have thought about how you’re going to break it down into manageable pieces. Now plan it out. When are you going to do everything? In what order? Set a schedule and block out time on your calendar that you won’t let anyone interrupt to make it happen, just like you would if you were planning a huge project at work. And if you need something more than a calendar, there are many online tools to help you plan goals.
8. Don’t Get Obsessed: Having a goal can easily become the be-all and end-all of your life if you let it. But don’t forget to just breathe and enjoy the life you have now. You might not have the incredibly profitable business you want, but you’re still successful. You might not have got that big promotion by the time you planned to, but look at all the things you do have. Don’t get so wrapped up in your goal that you forget to enjoy the journey.
9. Failure Is Not The End Of Everything: If you are trying to become a woman in business or build a career, you will make mistakes along the way. Everybody does. But how you deal with failure and pick yourself back up again is key. If you let yourself give up, think about how it will feel in 10 years’ time when you are nowhere near achieving your dream because you stopped trying. Sometimes, you have to fight for what you want: admit you made a mistake and start again. You will have off days, days where you just can’t seem to get going, and days where things go completely wrong. That doesn’t mean you have failed altogether. It just means you have had a bad day, and there’s always tomorrow. Whatever you are aiming for, you will have periods where progress is slow, or even where you seem to be going backwards. But stay positive, put setbacks behind you and keep going!
10. Track Your Progress: Going along with being specific about your goal, tracking your progress is a must, and can be incredibly satisfying and motivating. Watching your goal creep ever closer and the list of things to do get shorter is highly motivating, especially once you are over the halfway point. And there’s nothing quite like the sense of achievement you get on the final day when there’s nothing else to do because you’ve made it! And then you can start at the beginning with another goal, and another, knowing that you completed one goal, so there’s nothing at all to stop you from blasting through the rest of them.
Disclaimer: We are very happy for you to reproduce this article for your own personal use, blog, newsletter or website. All we ask is that you do not modify the content and that you add the following message and link to the bottom of the article. This article is reproduced with the permission of Jane Lowe, Founder and Creator of The Great Women's Academy. To find out more please visit www.thegreatwomensacademy.co.uk