As a life coach and mentor I am often faced with the challenge of helping individuals reach their goals. In some situations this has proved to be easier than others. Many people don’t know how to turn a dream into reality, which leads to failed goals, frustration and loss of motivation. So today I’m sharing three tips to help you turn your dreams into goals, your goals into plans and your plans into successes, so let’s get to it!
Know the difference between “means goals” and “end goals”
Begin with the end in mind. Think of the outcome of what achieving this goal will be, ask yourself WHAT and WHY, not HOW? For a moment, don’t think about what’s realistic, think about what it is you truly want and not how you will or won’t get it.
For example, “get a promotion” is a means goal. Why do you want a promotion? If you want more money so you can travel to Paris next summer, “travelling to Paris” is the end goal because it doesn’t matter if you get the promotion or not, you can still get to Paris if the promotion plan doesn’t work out.
Look at your current list of goals and separate your means goals from your end goals. It is your end goals that should be driving your decisions and fueling your motivation. Be innovative, be creative, and when you have setbacks with means goals remind yourself of the end goal and refocus. It’s okay to fail at a means goal. It is the end goals that matter.
Be S.M.A.R.T about your goals.
While many people are familiar with the SMART goal model, most people do not apply the process to their goals in an effective way.
Specific Have you clearly defined your goal? Could another person easily understand the outcome you want to achieve?
Don’t say: I want to learn to bake.
Instead say: I want to bake a dozen oatmeal cookies from scratch.
Measurable What does success look like? How will you measure if you’ve achieved your goal?
Don’t say: I want to take a road trip across Canada
Instead say: I want to visit every capital in every province, by car.
Attainable Is the amount of effort, time, money, energy you’re going to invest to achieve this goal realistic? Are you not only willing, but ABLE to achieve this goal?
Don’t say: I want to be skinny
Instead say: I want to lose ten pounds through diet change and exercise.
Relevant Is this goal something you actually want or something you’ve been told to think you want?
Don’t say: I want to be famous
Instead say: I want to be globally recognized for my work in the ____ field.
Timely Does it have a deadline? Is there enough time to complete it or is the date too far away to feel urgent?
Don’t say: Someday I’ll start saving money.
Instead say: On November 1, I will put $100 into a savings account.
Be persistent and hold yourself accountable!
You should revisit your goals list frequently (if not daily, then weekly at minimum) so your goals are always top of mind, this will help keep you motivated. Ask yourself questions like, “Is this (activity, person, idea, etc.) getting me closer to or further away from my goal?” and be honest with the answer.
Evaluate your progress. It’s okay to move slowly sometimes, it’s better than not moving at all but if there’s more you could be doing and you’re not, ask yourself what’s holding you back from moving faster?
Some goals require a lot of work and a huge commitment. So understand that other areas of your life may change and be prepared to feel uncomfortable. You may have less time to watch tv or spend with companions as you work toward making your dreams come true but these are small sacrifices compared to the satisfaction of checking off something you’ve always wanted to do.
So when you missed Game of Thrones and have to avoid the group chat for fear of a spoiler, just remember how good that champagne will taste as you watch the sunset behind the Eiffel Tower – stay focused!
Contributor: Chelsea Smith, Certified Life Coach