There are a lot of people who live life as it comes, not knowing what’s next. They wait for accidental success and they don’t know how to set goals of where they wish to be in the future. They live in a world where dreams come true by good fortune and sheer luck. If you set goals for yourself and strive to accomplish them you can change this.

Setting goals helps to give your life a sense of direction, motivation, a sense of purpose, and they help build self-confidence as you accomplish them. The process of planning your goals can be a bit tasking at times because it’s often difficult to identify what your true goals really are. But with enough deliberation and careful consideration you can pinpoint your true goals and set out on a wonderful journey to achieve them.

Think about your Goals

The first step even before you write anything is to think about where you want to end up in life. You should think of what your heart really desires and consider what you would regret leaving this earth without accomplishing. That should give you a strong sense of what your true goals really are.

List down your Goals

Once you figure this out you can start to list down all your goals explicitly. Start by looking at the big picture and then break that down into smaller goals and think of the final destination of each goal. For example if your final destination is to be a pop star you can break this down into smaller goals such as learning how to play a musical instrument, learning to dance, finding a music producer to help flesh out your musical ideas, recording some songs and releasing them on radio and TV, etc. These are smaller goals which will ultimately help you accomplish your main goal. Be sure that your goals are realistic and achievable. Don’t set goals that are too fantastic and unattainable otherwise you’ll be setting yourself up for failure. Goals should be

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S – Specific
M – Measurable
A – Attainable
R – Realistic
T – Time-bound

Set Time-frame

After listing all your goals you should assign each one of them a time-frame; this could be 2 years, 5 years, 10 years, etc. Some goals may have a limited time span due to factors such as finances, age, health, etc. Take special note of these and assign them a time-frame accordingly as you may lose your opportunity to accomplish them if you delay.

Each goal should then be fleshed out. Note down the prerequisites, actions, financial needs and time requirements of each goal. Take your time to see which of the requirements you’ve already met, which you can meet quickly, and which may take a slightly longer time. If you find that you’re coming up with more sub-goals in the process, flesh them out and identify the things which are required in order to achieve them. Note down the time frame for each sub-goal.

Plan to Achieve

It is one thing to list your goals, but it’s another to actually have a plan of how you will achieve them. Once you’ve fleshed out each goal and sub-goal you need to formulate a plan of how you will actually achieve each individual goal. This part can be more challenging due to the fact that you’re moving from pure conception and adding in a slightly more practical aspect. When laying down the implementation plan of each goal you need to think more realistically than ever. Think of the education, skills, finances, time and any other stepping-stones that will be needed to achieve each goal.

Lay out a tangible checklist for each goal and specify how you will measure the progress of each action point. You can split a goal into milestones. Set realistic dates for each milestone, the expected deliverables, and the next course of action upon completing each one.

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Get a calendar or some planning software and put every goal in a timeline so that you have a visual outline of the entire process. Take note of any actions/goals/sub-goals that may be overlapping and plan them accordingly. You can use a Gantt chart to create a timeline of all the tasks you need to achieve.

The good thing about a Gantt chart is that it shows the dependencies of each milestone so it’s easy to track what’s already completed, what needs to be done and which goals are dependent on other goals. You can have several Gantt charts; one main one which shows the major milestones and smaller ones which breakdown the sub-goals into milestones. That way you can track each sub-goal independently while also being able to update the main chart as you make progress.

Before proceeding to get to work, verify whether you have set goals that are in line with you as a person and ensure they’re really what you want to achieve. Once you’ve planned everything that you need to do, look at what tasks you have to accomplish in the next week, month, year, etc and get to work. A good plan is crucial but a plan by itself does not accomplish tasks. It needs to be backed up by action. Without hard work and consistency you won’t achieve much, so make sure have a solid plan and stick to it.

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