How To Set Goals Like a Pro

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Calligraphy image on phone by Pauline at http://www.happyhandsproject.com 

Last week I wrote a post on why it’s good to set goals, which you can read here. This week I’m sharing some of my favourite goal setting techniques for you to try. It’s a bit of a long one, but stick with me and you’ll get a great overview of how to set goals that work for you!

You Don’t Have to Focus on Your Career

It’s common to see people setting goals that focus solely on their careers however it is really good to check in frequently with the other areas of your life and ask if there is anything you could be doing to better enhance those.

First you need to know what other areas there are. When I’m setting lots of goals for myself, (something I usually do about twice yearly) I consider the 7 dimensions of wellness: Social, Emotional, Occupational, Environmental, Intellectual, Physical and Spiritual.

Side note: If you don’t class yourself as a spiritual person – don’t worry! This section could be anything along the lines of: appreciating a sunset, doing kind things for your friends and family or feeling inspired creatively. It can really mean whatever you want it to.

If some of these don’t resonate with you, then you can always change them around a bit. I think they serve as a good guide to go off but you could divide the areas in your life in many different ways. The key is to make them specific and relevant to you. An example could be: Home, Education, Work, Friends/Family/Relationships, Fun, and Health. Really any way you do it is fine.

The important part is to make goals that correspond to all the different areas of your life.

Get Smart

You may want to use S.M.A.R.T Targets when you set a goal. (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic/Relevant and Time Bound) I’m going to break them down to give you a better idea of what I mean.

Specific: Be as specific as possible with your goals. When I was younger, I’d make New Year’s resolutions that would say “Be happier” “Be successful” etc. which sounds nice but what does that even mean? How would I even begin to work towards that? And how would I know when it had been achieved? You want to turn your goal into something tangible. Include the details.

Measurable: E.g. “I will have completed (X task) by (X amount of time)” There has to be an end and there has to be a way you can track your progress. “I want to be a successful poet” is something I would have probably written down a while ago but something like “I want to have a poetry collection published by 2018” gives a clearer idea of what needs to be done.

Attainable: If you can keep your goal attainable and realistic then you are far more likely to achieve it. An ideal goal should be a little hard to attain but not impossible. It’s about finding the right kind of challenges for you. We don’t want to place unrealistic expectations on ourselves. If we ask the world of ourselves and fail to achieve it then that’s only going to lower our self-esteem and further take us away from actually achieving. Keep your goals simple to start and you can always build on them later. Splitting things up into small manageable chunks should also help with this.

Realistic/Relevant: Different websites or professionals will use either one of these two titles. I like to use relevant. Is this goal A: something you’re interested in and B: something that is actually relevant to your life? Does it fit in with your wider goals and dreams? It could be worth running some of your goals by someone who knows you well, see if they agree that it’s worth focusing on. (But remember to take people’s opinions with a grain of salt and also I’d only share your goals with someone who is supportive) Either way, now is the time to be clear.

Time Bound: Pretty self-explanatory but adding a time frame or deadline to your goal will make a big difference. Again be realistic, we’d all like to be super successful by tomorrow but it’s not going to happen. It’s a good idea to break your goal down into manageable chunks with their own deadlines too. For example if my goal was to hit 1 million views on YouTube by next year then today I need to set up a YouTube channel. This week I need to film my first video. Next week I need to take out a book on marketing etc.

Finally

Your goals should exist to inspire and motivate you. If you do not achieve them it doesn’t mean you have failed, it may be that you set something slightly unrealistic and it means you know better for next time. As time passes people generally get better at setting appropriate goals for themselves. What is important, in my opinion is to let your goals serve as a guide.

The next post on this topic will go through some tips and tricks to make goal-setting even easier! I’d love to know how you get on if you decide to try any of these techniques. Thanks for sticking with me on a slightly longer post. Hopefully I’ve taken some of the headache out of goal setting for you! Don’t forget to subscribe and/or follow me on social media for poetry musings and updates.

Lyndsay xo

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