By Jack J. Kelly
To say you want to achieve a goal is easy. To actually follow through and achieve something important is incredibly challenging. Don’t worry; I am here to help you get started. A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. I made it easier with only eight simple steps. Now you don’t have any excuses to procrastinate and put off working towards your goals and dreams.
The First Step. Most people tend to have over-the-top ambitious goals. That is fine, however, without really thinking through how they could be achieved, the goals are worthless. To start, first figure out exactly what you want. Then, write it down. You need to start with a plan of action. Write clear realistic and measurable goals. Be specific and detailed so that you could measure your progress as you move forward.
The Second Step. Create a time table that you intend to reach certain milestones. It will keep you focused and honest about what you are doing.
The Forth Step. Prioritize your goals. Work on the difficult stuff first to get it out of the way. You can then have some nice immediate victories under you belt.
The Fifth Step. Think of any and all possible roadblocks in the way of achieving your goals. Also, write out a strategy to effectively deal with these potential hazards.
The Sixth Step. Take action and start. Many people get bogged down in the details and minutia of planning and never get past the first step. You need to act, now.
The Seventh Step. Do something every day. Each day chip away at your goals. Even if you are tired, busy, or not in the mood. Too bad. Keep moving the ball down the field. Don’t stop. Don’t miss a day. Don’t deceive yourself that it does not matter. It does. It’s like missing a day on your diet. You have some pizza and ice cream. Before you know it you are back to your old habits.
The Eighth Step. The daily tasks completed while working towards the goal will become a habit. Once you have ingrained the habit into your life it becomes easier. Just like it is easy to fall into bad habits like coming home from work, plopping onto the coach, binge watching television and ordering out for unhealthy food, you will instead focus on good habits.
Here is a simplified example to illustrate the above steps and goal setting. Let’s say that your goal is to find a great new job. That is a worthwhile pursuit and commendable but it is too broad. How will you achieve this goal?
- I would like to find a new job with a top investment bank in New York City at the Vice President level earning a base salary of about two hundred thousand dollars plus bonus and other incentives.
- I have conducted research to determine how long the search will take. From searching online, to speaking with recruiters that specialize in this area, and also contacting former colleagues that previously engaged in a similar search, I am allocating three to nine months for the search process.
- My to-do list includes refreshing my resume, and seeking advice from a professional resume writer. Then I will update my LinkedIn profile to make it more attractive to hiring managers and recruiters. I will set-up in-person meetings with recruiters, engage on LinkedIn to get noticed, attend networking events to meet people, speak with current and former colleagues who could offer job leads, search job boards for appropriate positions, and submit my resume.
- Since I am not comfortable with the interview process, I’ll first meet with recruiters who could help me prepare, and practice for interviews.
- As I am introverted, interviewing will be challenging, so I will seek out a career coach to help me through the process.
- Today, I am updating my LinkedIn profile and working on the resume.
- Every day I will search out jobs online and email my resume to human resource professionals and hiring managers. I will also speak with recruiters and network on LinkedIn.
- The daily search will become a daily habit, and I’ll devote time before work, at lunch, and an hour at home after work is over.
Now, I understand that this sounds easy, and in a way, it is. However, to implement the plan is hard work, and takes dedication, and motivation. Speaking of motivation, please read my next piece on keeping motivated to achieve your goals.