Imagine a plane leaving the airport without a destination. It will lift and get wherever the winds take it. Would you board that plane? I bet you would take a step back and reconsider.
Similarly, without life goals, we are like an aircraft without a captain. You may leave the airport, but you won’t get very far. A goal gives us a strong sense of purpose and the resilience to approach uncertainties with a positive attitude.
Goals are the key to a meaningful and fulfilling life, regardless of one’s socio-economic situation, educational attainments, and talents. There are seven ways to set and attain your life goals.
Decide What You Really Want to Achieve
When I graduated from college in 2016, I applied for nearly 100 job openings, and spent a whopping five hours per day on average, searching for jobs, writing résumés, cover letters, and others. The result? Nothing.
Part of my anguish stemmed from my eagerness to meet others’ expectations. I never asked myself what it was I really wanted. Others’ expectations should not be used as final, but as raw materials that you mold to fit your unique circumstance. Deciding what you really want requires some soul searching, which is worth your while. We are more likely to achieve our goals when it aligns with our values, beliefs, and interests.
Write Your Goals Down
Don’t just think about your goals, ink them! Why do you need to write your objectives? Research shows that writing your goals creates an engagement that will increase your likelihood of seeing your goals through. It’s fair to ask: If you won’t even spare two minutes to write your goals, how would it even be possible to take action toward reaching them?
Break Your Goals Down
Do you want to improve your physique? This is a long-term goal that may need a year of hard work to achieve. The best to do is to break it into medium- and short-term goals, which represent evidence of progress.
An effective goal statement should sound like this: “I want to increase my muscle mass by 10 kg. To reach my goal, I devote my time to reaching half of that target six months from now. I will go to the gym at least three times a week and will exercise for one hour each time. Within four weeks, I will have added one kilogram of muscle mass.”
In this simple statement, you set a big picture and very specific steps that you will take toward attaining your goal. It’s actionable and provides you with ways of assessing your progress.
Identify and Remove Potential Obstacles
It’s wise to acknowledge the challenges you may face and mitigate their impact on your goal. To reach your goals, you will need to eliminate those habits detrimental to your goal-setting endeavor. You may even need to abandon certain relationships. For example, a goal to quit smoking will never come to pass if you spend time with your friends who smoke. Just as you visualize reaching your goal, it’s important you consider potential setbacks along the way.
Setting goals implies failing. Don’t quit at the first sight of failure. Remember that holding steadfastly to your goal is one of the most valuable elements on the success menu of life. Don’t get frustrated over your baby-step-like improvements or when you have tried and failed repeatedly. Each seemingly insignificant result prepares you for your colossal achievement.
Reward Yourself When You Reach Your Goal
You have labored hard to attain your goal. Now it’s time to celebrate. Don’t let your wins go unnoticed. Life is both a journey and a destination, therefore don’t be so fixated on a goal that you won’t even acknowledge your intermittent wins. The secret to happiness is when you pursue a well-defined goal while enjoying every step toward it.
Take the First Step Now
Is there a goal you want to achieve? Make sure you take your first step toward that goal after reading this piece. With goal-setting, tomorrow usually means never. Lao Tzu reminded us that “A thousand miles begins with a single step.” Let today be the day you take that step.
May this article inspires you to take action toward your dreams.