There are many different opinions about having and working towards goals. Some people do best by keeping track of them regularly, while others just simply keep them in the back of their minds.
For me, I'm more a list person.
It's important to have goals, but sometimes they can be overwhelming.
You think about all the things you need to do to get there. The work involved, and the changes that have to be made and it can seriously give you an anxiety attack!
The best way that I have been able to deal with it is by doing these five steps:
1. Figure out what your goal is.
Obviously, the first step towards accomplishing a goal, is to have one! It can be anything from finding a part time job, losing weight or working towards your dream career. I know that I have many goals, but just to kind of give you an idea I'm going to use two different examples for each step.
example 1: I want to have a career in art, either as a gallery curator or art consultant.
example 2: I want to lose 30 pounds.
2. Think of what you need to do to get there.
Different goals require different actions. No matter what your goal is there is most likely a smaller action that needs to be taken first before you can accomplish anything big. By going over what needs to happen before you can accomplish your goal, you will be able to work towards it with ease and less stress.
ex. 1: I need an education in art.
ex. 2: I need to workout and eat healthier.
3. Consider all of your options.
No matter what your small action is, there are probably options. By taking the time to figure out which option is best suited for you and your current lifestyle you will save yourself a lot of time, possibly money and aggravation.
ex. 1: I need to look into different school programs and select the one that's best for me.
ex. 2: I need to look into different exercises programs, gym vs. workout DVDs and I need to look into healthy eating.
4. Consider things that could potentially hold you back.
Chances are, you may have some set-backs when working towards your goal. Sometimes, if you take the time to think of what your potential set-backs may be, you can tackle them before they become a problem.
ex. 1: I need to make money while I'm in school to support myself, I need to upgrade a few high school courses to better my chances of being accepted and I need to be able to pay for the program.
ex. 2: I need to fit exercising into my weekly schedule and I need to explore my bad relationship with food and why I eat the way I do.
5. Look into ways to get around the potential setbacks.
If you did come up with some potential set-backs that's a good thing. Now you can think of ways to get around them.
ex. 1: Check out correspondents and register in high school courses that will benefit my goal. Look for part time work, preferably something within the art community like a gallery, art supply store or an artist's assistant. Look into possible funding.
ex. 2: Look over schedule and put exercising in like any other important appointment. Keep a food diary and start making healthier choices.
Now you have some smaller goals to help you reach your larger goals without being so overwhelming.
ex. 1: You know you need to register for high school courses and find a part time job to help support you while you're in school. So all you have to worry about now is doing well at your school work and finding a part time job. You don't need to stress out about going to post-secondary and finding your dream job until closer to that time.
ex. 2: You have planned out your workout schedule and are keeping track of your eating. No need to stress about losing weight because you're working towards it now.
Now that your goals have been broken down into more manageable tasks, you can relax a little and focus on one thing at a time.
Sometimes, I break it down even further.
For example, if I were registering for a correspondence course I might write out a to do list to keep me on track.
1. Select a program from online catalogue.
2. Print out registration form and fill it out.
3. Mail it.
As I work towards my own goals, I can feel confident in achieving them when I know all I have to do is check off one simple step at a time. I've been using these steps for a while now without even realizing it. It was when my boyfriend was talking to me about wanting to go to University but not knowing where to start, and I explained to him how I went about doing things, like going to college for Journalism.
How do you keep track of your goals?