Goals motivate us to action
We create goals all the time. We think about something we want and creating a goal is how we can get there. Some goals are short term, like setting a goal to get all of our Saturday errands done before 3pm. Then there are long-term goals, like starting a business, or earning a college degree, or paying off a debt within a set time frame. Whatever your goal, it starts with a thought, a thought that makes us feel good. We can picture what our life will be once the goal is accomplished and that good feeling motivates us to achieve that goal.
What is Your Goal?
Whatever your goal is, write it down. Your goal should be clear and measurable; you should be able to determine when a goal has been reached. If your goal is unclear, you may not be able to tell what it will look like when you reach your goal, which could simply lead to frustration. When you see a goal in writing, it drives you to think about it. The more you think about it, the more real your goal will become. Dream about your goal; see yourself achieving it and think about how your life will change and how you will feel once you’ve reached it. Tell a close friend about your goal. Sharing it makes it feel even more real and the encouragement you’ll receive will motivate you even more to move forward.
One method of goal planning is using the SMART goal process. SMART is an acronym for: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, Time-based. Following this process helps you by mapping a process for reaching your goal. For example, here is a potential SMART method outline using the goal of earning a college degree:
SMART Goal: Earn a college degree:
Specific: I will earn a bachelor’s degree in Accounting.
Measurable: I will take two classes per week, per semester and I will graduate in three years.
Attainable: I will revise my travel schedule and take online classes so I can take the classes I need.
Relevant: Earning my degree will allow me to work in the Financial Industry, where I want to work.
Time-based: I will be ready to start my classes within 2 weeks, just in time for classes to begin!
Measure Your Goals
Establish a plan to meet your goals and measure your progress along the way. Keep track of the steps you complete as you progress, like when you finish a class or a semester. As you complete these steps, you will feel a sense of accomplishment that will keep you motivated until you reach your ultimate goal.
When those thoughts enter your mind of, this is going to take forever, or, I’ll never finish this, or, I can’t do this anymore, acknowledge the thoughts, but keep your eye on the prize and let those thoughts float right back out of your head. An athlete running a race sees the finish line, not the hurdles he has to jump in order to get there; he only sees himself running through that finish in first place! That’s how you need to see yourself—reaching the finish line and achieving your goal. Obstacles may come, they are inevitable, but you will jump over them, or get around them. Remember this: “Obstacles are things a person sees when he takes his eyes off his goal.” ― E. Joseph Cossman