Want to reach your goals? Learn the steps to make it happen.

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 TRANSCRIPT: This segment is on goals. Goals are very important if you want to achieve things in your life. So we’re going to talk about the essentials of goal setting. What do you really want? Before you set your goal, make sure you know what you really want. If your goal is something you need to do, but you don’t want to do, look for what is blocking your motivation. Is there an underlying fear, a limiting belief? If so, you might need to work on that. Find a way to make your wants the same as your needs. For example, maybe you need to get a job — if you don’t get a job, you can’t pay the rent or buy food.  Getting a job is a true need for you. If you don’t really want to get a job though, you will procrastinate looking or preparing. It will take some self-reflection to discover why you don’t want a job. What might you be afraid of – failing? Hating it? Losing time with people you love? Giving up your dreams?

Find a way to reconcile the need of a job with the wants you have. It may take compromise. Understand your motivations and your blocks, and that will be the first step to getting there. Is there a way to balance the need of a job with the wants of your ideal life, at least in some respects? When possible, make your goals a win-win for you and others. For example, maybe your goal is to lose 30 pounds. You want to look and feel better after you do this, so on some level you may be telling yourself it would be selfish to spend time and money on this goal. Maybe you worry about leaving your kids to go to the gym, maybe you think that that time should be spent in the office drumming up business, maybe you don’t think your family would enjoy the same healthy meals and snacks that you would require. You could just ignore all those concerns and focus solely on yourself, but you might find yourself giving up sooner than expected. So find a way to merge your goal of losing weight with your other desires to spend time with your family and friends. For instance, maybe you could find a hobby or sport that you could do with them. Maybe there are nutritious yet tasty snacks everyone might enjoy. There are always options.

Now that you have your goal, make your goal Smart — S-M-A-R-T.  It’s generally accepted that this SMART acronym was first written down by George T Doran, and that was in 1981. But anyway, it’s become very commonplace; you’ve probably heard of it before.

So the S is for Specific.  keep your goals specific, focused, and simple. Include just one thing you want to accomplish. M is for Measurable. You need to have a definite way of knowing when you’ve accomplished it. How will you know when you’re done? It needs to be something measurable and not abstract.  You can’t just say, ‘Oh, I’m going to have a feeling of completeness.’ You might say, ‘Oh, I’ve lost 10 pounds,’ or ‘I’ve found the job,’ or ‘I have finished the class.’  Or if you want to feel happier, then maybe you can assign a number to it. I think we’re going to talk about that later.  Attainable — what can you realistically achieve given everything else going on in your life?  R is relevant — your goal needs to be relevant to your overall life purpose and vision. T is Time-Bound — you need to set a completion date, otherwise it may just get put off.

Once you have your goal, you need to create some action steps and baby steps. You need to plan a series of small action steps to get there; you can’t just all of a sudden have your goal done, right? Rome was not built in a day, as they say. For example, say you want to finish your degree in electrical engineering — what are the steps needed to get there? You can either plan it out by starting at the beginning and working forward, or you can start at the end and work backward.

So let’s look at working backward; let’s see how that would be. If you start from the end and work backwards, the first action step you need to take will be at the bottom, so look at the top of this diagram here, if you are watching and not just listening. The goal is Finish My Electrical Engineering Degree. So you ask yourself, what has to happen before that? Well, I need to finish the required classes to graduate. We have that listed on here.  What has to happen before that? I need to register for classes. Okay, what has to happen before that? I need to look up what classes I need to take. Great, that’s another action step. But what needs to happen before that? I need to pay tuition. Okay, what has to happen before you pay tuition? I need to be admitted to the university. Great, we have a lot of action steps here. What has to happen before you’re admitted to the university? I need to apply to the university. Okay, so that’s at the very bottom — that’s going to be your first action step. Now you could have even more action steps. Maybe before applying to the university, you might have to research which university you want to go to and which program, but for the sake of this exercise we’re just going to say that applying to the university is your first action step.

So now we take that one action step, and we break it down even further. If your first action step is to apply to the university, even that may seem like a hurdle. So break it down further into baby steps and do one thing at a time. If our action step is applying to the university, here at the top, what has to happen before that? We have to fill out the required form. Okay, that’s one baby step. What has to happen before that? We have to go to the university website. Okay, that’s another baby step. What has to happen before that? I need to gather any records or data needed.  So that is your first baby step, because it’s at the bottom.  Then you’ll do the rest of them that go up in order. Just do one thing at a time, one baby step, and eventually you’ll get there. If you complete enough baby steps that lead to action steps, you will eventually reach your goal.

Alright, so here I have this handy-dandy worksheet, where you could plan out your action steps and your baby’s steps and mark off when they’re done.  And here’s a printable version with no color.  You can download these from my website.

And that’s it! I hope it helps you set some goals and reach them. For more information you can contact me at my website claritycoachingservices.com.