Setting Your Goals


Where are you now? I don’t mean “in your office,” or “at home.” Are you on the path to where you want to be?

It’s like a road map. If you have the correct map, you can plot a route, and maybe a back-up plan if a bridge is out or your original way is blocked. You have a far better chance of getting there.

If my map shows the way to Maine, I can follow that map and drive like fury to get there, but if my goal is really California, and I’m using the “Maine” map, it’s not going to work.

If my map shows how to get from North Dakota to California, and I’m starting from Georgia, I still don’t have the correct map. I may be able to do it, but I can put a lot of effort into getting to North Dakota when I really don’t need to be there.

This is why it is important to understand where you are starting from.

So create your map…and figure you may have to stop at a couple of “hotels” along the way (sub-goals).

1) Writing down where you are gives you a starting point. If you have not written down where you are now, go back and do it.

2) Writing down a goal clarifies where you want to go. Studies have show that achievement is very dependent on having clear and specific goals, and on writing them down. While you are at it, set a target date.

3) Detailing the target, declaring it important enough to write, makes us more inclined to act on it, and more likely to see the opportunities that help reach that goal. What behavior is required? Who will do it? When will this occur? Where? How will it be measured?

This is not a completely conscious effort. As we clarify how the achievement of that goal will feel, as we make the image of where we want to be as real as possible, we purposely confuse our minds between the physical reality and our target reality. This is intentional. As we think on our objective, we see the opportunities to reach that goal, and resolve the cognitive dissonance, the difference between the two realities of now and the future that is in our mind.

4) If there is too much distance between your starting point so that you can see no way of even beginning toward your target, break the steps into bite-size chunks. (Your “hotel stops” along the way.) Maybe it seems like forever for you to get to that educational degree, but you can break it down by classes, rewarding yourself for the completion of smaller sub-goals, perhaps even a certain number of hours. (The hotel has a swimming pool or a nice restaurant.)

5) Ultimately the ending goal needs to be both challenging and attainable. Use short-range, attainable goals to stair-step your way up the mountain of a larger goal.

6) Use switch-backs; that is, don’t be afraid to alter your course along the way. If you falter, consider it only a stumble, not a dead end. There will be obstacles to getting to where you want to go

7) Knowing both where you started and where you are trying to end up, track your progress. (Where are you on that map?) When you know both where you started, and where you need to end up, you can chart your progress to see how far you have come as well as ensure that you do not lose sight of where you are going. You can also more clearly see the obstacles that are preventing you from progressing.

Reward yourself for the incremental progress you have made. Affirm your actions and continue to visualize your revised behavior.

9) Try to enlist others who are interested in making the same type of life-changes. (Travel companions)

10) Develop new goals just before the completion of a program to continue the energy of the striving process.

Copyright © 2011 Sandra Kischuk and Living Beyond Limits. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Sandra Kischuk and Living Beyond Limits with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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