Everyone has targets. In life, in their careers, in their hobbies. Quick example, when we talk about being successful, isn’t that a target? Or watching one episode of Grey’s Anatomy after work, isn’t this a goal? Most of our goals are bobbing around in our heads, easily thrown out when another seemingly more important item comes to mind. It is, no wonder, that the last three months of the year elicit a frenzied rush to achieve all those targets that we haven’t even thought about for the most part of the year. Some just release themselves to the wave of discouragement, ‘There!There! Your goals are too high to be achieved in this year! There is always next year!’
Always with a promise or vow to do better in the next year. And then, next year rolls around to the same cycle.
We forget to acknowledge one fact. I am the same person I was last year. I have the same dreams which I have been failing to achieve for the past 5 or 10 years.
Well, there is hope yet. You are the same person who has acknowledged the problem. The same person that is taking steps NOW to break this cycle and achieve the dream. How do we set ourselves up for achievement in the new year?
You will only achieve what you intentionally pursue. ~Michael Hyatt~
What are your priorities? Determine what matters to you most in this moment. Ask yourself these questions. What do I want to have achieved at the end of my life (the vision)? What will I regret not doing at the end of my life?
Setting goals is the first step in turning the invisible into the visible.
Your priorities have opened you up to the vision you have in life. Yes, vision is where you see the future as you want it to be, ideally! How do we cause this vision to be? By breaking it down to goals. Specific agenda items for our personal vision. Simple task that you can do, write down 7 goals based on your personal priorities. You want the goal to be the equivalent of your morning Starbucks coffee order, “Triple, Venti, Half Sweet, Non-Fat, Caramel Macchiato“. Sounds pretentious, but it tells the barrister exactly what to make. Make the goal specific and give it a deadline.
If the plan doesn’t work, change the plan, never the goal! ~Unknown~
Back to critical analysis of the past. Look at the goals you have written down. The list may contain some goals you have had before, and yet, have not taken any step towards achieving them. They are a constant representative of failure.
Why has it been hard to achieve such goal?
Write down 5 reasons why you think you are not doing anything towards these goals. Why is this necessary? 1) You identify the challenges that you have been facing, whether they come from yourself, or outside sources. 2) You are able to gauge, based on your ability, whether they are achievable. Be careful though! We, at times, sell ourselves short in this regard. Make sure that you are not staying in your comfort zone. Your goals should challenge you and cause you some level of discomfort.
Every journey needs a first step.
Look at the goals you had written down. Look also at the reasons why you failed to achieve goals before. What has changed now? You are the same person, but you are armed with the knowledge of why you failed.
Now, how do we achieve these goals?
Break down the goals to small portions that can be achieved in quarters. Begin to identify the action that you have to take as your first step. Now take that step! Take small steps everyday and, eventually, you will get there.
Finally, Look back!
Track each action that you make towards your goal. Have the list of goals in a place where it is easy to refer to. Look at the plan daily. At times, it will motivate and challenge you to do more. There are times when you will not be motivated to do more. What then? Get an accountability partner, someone who understands what you want to achieve and will help you up, when you want to give up. Some marathon runners have partners who motivate them when it seems too hard, or when they have no energy to motivate themselves. Surround yourself with people who will push you to your goals.
What happens if you fail?
Don’t beat yourself up! Just get back on track!
About the author:
Rehema Ndeda is a Mechatronic Engineer and a lecturer at Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology, Kenya.