In previous posts, I have spoken about the importance of having dreams and creating a vision board. What I haven’t yet done is talk about how to move to the next stage – goal setting. Why is goal setting important? It is the bridge that will take your dreams from your head to manifestation. Dreams without plans are simply wishes.
The first thing you need to do is to write your dreams down. Then you need to go a step further and create a goal plan. In the business world, we refer to SMART goals – Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Timely. Let’s look at these in further detail:
- Specific – Your goals must not be general; they should be clear and precise.
- Measurable – Your goals should have clearly defined success factors; you should be able to easily measure your success or failure to achieve your stated goals.
- Achievable – Your goals need to be something that you can reasonably accomplish even if you need to stretch yourself in order achieve them.
- Relevant – Your goals should be related to the dream(s) you wrote down.
- Timely – Your goals should have a deadline attached to each one.
For example, a business goal could be “I want to grow my business by 10% in the next 24 months”. Another example – a personal goal – could be, “I want to lose 10 pounds by the end of next year”. Both of these are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and timely. By contrast, a statement like “I want to become a billionaire” is too vague to be considered a goal. It would be more of a wish. Goals are not wishes. They are strategic plans for your life.
Now that you know how to set SMART goals, revisit your dreams. Think about what you want to achieve. What do you envision? Steven Covey calls this process “begin with the end in mind” in his book The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People. Once you have a clear picture in your mind of what you want the end result to be, you then need to work backwards and plan how to get there from where you are currently. By working backwards, you should be able to make detailed plans that you can then use as a road map.
For example, let’s say you want to take a vacation to a foreign country. You can’t just snap your fingers and end up there. No, of course not. You first have to plan the trip. So, you start at the end. You know where you want to go. Next you need to determine when you want to go. You need to ensure you book the time off from work. Then you have to ensure you meet all travel requirements before you make a booking. Is your passport still valid? Do you need a visa? Or any special vaccinations?
You have to ensure that flights and accommodations are available on the dates you would like to travel before you can make a booking. All of this needs to be done before you can start packing and making arrangements to care for your pets that will be left at home in your absence. The last thing you will do will be to get on the airplane, but in order to get to that stage, several other things had to be planned first.
Once you have clear plans, all that’s left to do is to put those plans into action. You will need to periodically review and adjust your plans as necessary, if things aren’t progressing at the pace you originally expected. Of course, you will not be able to predict everything that will happen as you go along, so this is where you will need to be flexible and revise your plans as things change. Remember your goal plan is a guide, it is not a shackle around you, so don’t hesitate to make changes as needed.