Setting and working towards goals allows people the opportunity to grow and work towards progress. This change may be as small as finishing a book you have put aside or as big as moving to a new city and starting again.
Goals can bring on revelation and renewal, but just as they are exciting, the smallest of tasks may seem daunting and challenging. That is why it is important to have a plan that will help break a big task down into a few easy steps.
1. What Do You Want?
First, decide what it is you wish to accomplish.
Do not be intimidated by goals that seem out of reach or challenging, breaking down the steps will get you there and accomplishing them will only be more satisfying and fulfilling. However, it is healthy to recognize that sometimes deciding what it is you would like to achieve is a challenge within itself.
Be patient with yourself while you explore the possibilities that this wide world has to offer, and hone in on what excites you, challenges you, and makes you want to grow as a person. If and when hypothetical situations or doubts come to mind, try to gently dismiss them, and focus only on the positive outcome.
Be aware that the path towards your goals may change at any moment, but setting the goals and working towards them is what drives movement, change, and the essence of life.
2. Write It Down
Once you have decided what it is you want, write it down. This process takes the ideas out of your head and out into the world, if only onto paper for the time being. Already there is action, and seeing it written down is a push in the right direction.
Whether it is in a journal, detailing what you want to do and how you are hoping to be or feel as a result of it, or whether you scratch it down on a Post-it note and stick it on the wall, be sure it is clear, and set a date by which to achieve it.
Setting a date will encourage accountability. Getting the word out by telling family and friends about your goal will have the same affect of getting your goal out from your head and turning it into a reality.
3. Get To Work
Next, it is time to get to work and break it down. This is especially relevant for bigger or vaguer goals, such as changing a diet, but this can be applied to any goal.
Figure out what specific and realistic tasks you can do every day or every few days to reach your goal by your deadline. These steps are goals within themselves, so don’t forget to hold yourself accountable by applying the same methods: set a date (or time limit), write it down (in a daily planner, perhaps), tell a friend, and get to work.
If you are hoping to finish that book everyone has been talking about, for instance, decide how many pages you will read per day, carve out an hour or so in your schedule, tell your friends about the goal and the progress you are making, and surprise yourself with the thrill of accomplishment.
If, however, you are finding challenges in keeping up with achieving these steps, try to understand why, draft another plan, and don’t give up. Don’t be hard on yourself, sometimes the journey is hard, but be firm and have confidence.
In addition to the joy and sense of accomplishment you will feel after achieving your goal, make a point to celebrate. Treat yourself to something special for achieving your goal, and working through the tough times. If it helps, plan on your reward early on in the process for further encouragement along the way.
Best of luck, and keep up the good work!
Sarah Lisovich is the Senior Editor and Content Strategist at CIA Medical. As a Chicago based writer and editor, she has published creative, medical, and lifestyle writing both in print and in online publications.