I’ve always liked the idea of resolutions and goal setting in general but for the longest time I didn’t know how to follow through with them and actually, you know, make them happen. I’d write down my general goals and then set that list aside and forget about it until the end of the year, then I’d make another list (endless loop of unproductive doom). I’ve finally figured out a way to get out of that loop!
Since we’re approaching the mid-year mark, it’s a good time to reevaluate our goals for the year and the plans we have to reach them, as well as reflect on what you’ve already accomplished and update our long-term goals.
Today I’ll be sharing with you my system for setting goals and although this is certainly not the only way or system to write down goals and plan for success, it’s something that might help you on your way to reaching and living your dreams by making your ideas into an actual plan with steps to follow along the way. This is the system I’m using to keep track of everything I need to do for The Golden Letter and you can read a little bit about it in my last post.
Now, there’s kind of a strategy to setting/accomplishing goals, it’s not like the President said “Hey, you know what? I think I’ll run for president tomorrow” and BOOM next thing you know, he made it! Or – on a more realistic scale – someone says “Hey, you know what? I think I’ll become an Executive Chef at a high-end, fancy schmancy New York restaurant!” and BOOM, done.
It’s all about the little things: breaking your goals down into the itty-bittiest (that’s a word, right?) baby steps.
Think about it. “I want to be an executive chef at a high-end fancy schmancy restaurant” is a HUGE goal.
Without breaking it into smaller, more attainable goals and have a plan, I can almost guarantee you it won’t happen. Unless you’re really, really lucky.
To maximize our chances of smelling the sweet, sweet smell of success, we need to map out our goals right up until the finish line. Think of it as a road trip.
Think of your big goals as destinations
Say your goal is to be an executive chef. That would be your destination. But you can’t just wake up one day and have it be done just like that. Unless you’re living in The Sims world…or something.
Your goal, strangely enough, is your starting point in this exercise. Just like on a road trip you need to figure out where you’re going first. Once you’ve established what your goal is in a clear and concise manner, you’ve got the green light to start thinking more about how you plan on achieving it.
[PS: speaking of clear and concise; let me explain. Your goal shouldn’t just be “I want to be a chef”, instead it should look a little closer to this: “I want to get a job as an executive chef in an upscale New York restaurant like _____” By having a more carefully worded sentence to explain your ultimate goal, you now have dropped a pin right where you want to end up, which will help you a lot to find the direction you need to take to get to that pin on the map.]
Set an ETAG (Estimated Time of Arrival to your Goal)
This – I think – is crucial. Setting a deadline for your goal not only lets you plan your smaller goals more effectively, but it injects a little sense of urgency and is the little “umph” you’ll need to add to your try to make your “try-umph”. Triumph. Get it? [Pretty sure I’m the only one that giggled at that. Awkward.]
Plan your pit stops to success
This will probably be a long road trip, so you better plan for some pit stops and bathroom breaks accordingly. Okay, so you’ve got your destination set. Your “pit stops” will be the smaller goals you need to achieve in order to reach the biggie. Let’s take our chef for example. In order to reach his destination/goal, he needs to graduate from culinary school. That would be pit stop #1. Then, he needs to work his way through the kitchen to become a chef at a restaurant. Pit stop to success #2. Then he needs to get a job at his dream restaurant. #3. Finally, he’s ready and has reached his final destination as an executive chef at Le Fancy Schmancy of New York. [I’m sure I could break it down into many more pit stops but you get the gist]
The bathroom breaks, much like on a real road trip, are spontaneous and unplanned (this is just a reminder to take a little break once in a while so you don’t pee your pants.)
What are the pit stops you need to take to reach your destination?
Plan your snacks and supplies
You need some snacks on a long road trip. You have to get some Doritos and Oreos and Slim Jims and…(I could do this all day) In order to achieve your goals, you need to be equipped with tools that you’ll need to accomplish them. By tools I mean a few things: knowledge, actual tools, resources, skills. Our future chef needs knowledge of foods, spices, how they taste when mixed together, what foods don’t go well together, etc. He needs to know his way around the kitchen and how to use a knife, what pans to use, how the oven works. He needs to take classes and get advice from other cooks and chefs. He needs to practice to improve his skills and create/discover his culinary identity.
These things will help fuel him on his way to his goal.
Take a buddy
You can always travel alone, but it’s safer and much more enjoyable to have a friend.
By this I mean, have a support system. It’s not unheard of to accomplish a goal without any support at all, and it’s pretty admirable, but your chances of success increase dramatically when you have people around you who believe and encourage you. It also helps to have someone to keep you accountable and to remind you why you wanted it in the first place. Chances are, you’ll get stressed along the way (especially when there are detours or delays); maybe even discouraged. It’s important to have someone there for you when that happens, and to put things in perspective for you when you need it.
Most of all, have a good time! Enjoy every step of the way. Don’t get too caught up in the big picture and forget to live your life. Do what you need to do, but don’t forget to do what you want to do!
To make it a little more fun (and colorful) to map out your goals, I created this worksheet for you to fill out at home. Of course, you might have more or less than 7 pit stops, but I thought 7 would be a good starting point. To download this worksheet, just click this button:I WANT TO MAP MY SUCCESS
I hope this helps you draw a clearer image of where you want to go and how to get there! I’d love it if you shared in the comments one goal you want to accomplish and whether you have a “roadmap” to get there. If you have any questions or comments I would love to read them!
Let’s encourage each other to reach our destinations!
Hey, you! What specific goal are you working towards right now? Tell me, tell me! Comment below if you’re going to be using this worksheet to reach your goals!
Also – If you like it, tweet this:Want to reach your #goals? Read + download this #free worksheet to set clear and specific goals! Click To Tweet
Onyx Jones says
OMG I love the ETAG concept. That is so creative and fun to read. Yes, I agree you need to take the larger goal and break it down into smaller milestones and then take time to celebrate when you achieve those small goals. And yes, you need a buddy system. I call it a goals partner. Thanks for sharing this inspirational word.
Thank you, Onyx!! It’s important to acknowledge the progress that you’ve already made and use it as motivation to reach the next milestone! Thank you for your sweet comment!
Such a great post! Smaller goals are so much more achievable than just one large goal!
Thank you, Susie! 🙂
Lily Nguyen says
I’m so in love with how you style your blog, the worksheets you provide, and your posts! I would LOVE to have you guest post on my blog. I would like to use one of your personal growth posts to add on my blog. Shoot me an email if you are interested! email@example.com
You’re a great writer,just the kind of advice I was looking for.
This is awesome ! I own a business and really need to break my goals down to bite size pieces and this really helped me so much so thank you for your time and doing this to help others. It’s appreciated!
I need some motivational examples and strategy about achieving goals. thank you for your writing style. I hope ı will achieve this time:)