How to Create a Plan to Reach Your Goals

 It is normal to have goals for your life. If you don’t have any, you risk floundering and feeling stuck in your situation. While it is good to have something to reach for, it is also important to make sure they are attainable. Goals that are out of reach become more like dreams or fantasies and can be a way to avoid everyday life. You shouldn’t feel selfish or unrealistic when you set a goal. Continued growth and stretching outside of your comfort zone are good for your mental health. Prioritizing these actions will allow you to be a better employee, partner, and parent.

 Make Sure It Is Something You Want

It is easy to confuse what you want to achieve with what you feel like you should achieve. Don’t let others' expectations crowd out what you want to do with your life. If you are working in a field where most people have an advanced degree, and you will need one for promotion, think about if that is what you want. Many people enjoy school and look forward to continuing their education. However, it isn’t for everyone. If you have no interest in returning to school, think about what you do want to do. Acknowledging that you need further education to advance may mean that you start looking for a career change.

The importance of goal setting is not just for your professional life. If you are a recreational runner, you may find yourself facing the decision over how seriously you should take your hobby. Many people are content to run a few times a week and enjoy the health benefits that go along with it. Others want to see how much they can improve and hire a coach and revamp their diet. There is nothing wrong with either choice, but it should be what you want. The recreational runner should ignore others' advice about how much they could improve if they increased their mileage, and the would-be competitive runner needs to ignore advice on the time and effort devoted to a hobby.

Use the SMART Method of Goal Setting

A common acronym used in goal setting is SMART. This means making sure that it is specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound. These five factors ensure that what you are doing is setting an actual goal, and not daydreaming. If what you want does not fit into the SMART framing, you should narrow your focus.

Work Backwards

Once you have a SMART goal, outline how you will achieve it. For example, if you know that you want to earn your degree, you need to do more than show up for classes. You may need to have transcripts sent to your school. You will have to make arrangements to pay for tuition. If you are counting on private student loans, a common way to pay for school, having good credit ensures you can get the funding you need without a cosigner. These are things that you need to plan for. By working backward, you can break down what you need to do in a series of steps. If any step seems overwhelming, odds are that you can break it down further. Take the time to work this out on paper, this isn’t a project to do half-heartedly, in your head.
 
 
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Quotation

“To dream anything that you want to dream. That's the beauty of the human mind. To do anything that you want to do. That is the strength of the human will. To trust yourself to test your limits. That is the courage to succeed.”

 Bernard Edmonds
 

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