“A goal properly set is halfway reached.”
– Lydia Sweatt
Have any of you ever had an experience similar to this? So, you have something on your mind that is pressing you. Maybe it is an activity, an idea, a trip, or a venture of which you are yearning to indulge. Whatever it is – it’s completely unshakeable and it literally consumes your thoughts – morning, noon, and night. Then, to top it all off, you keep receiving other external messages – through the happenings of your everyday life – that are perpetuating these thoughts that already saturate you. I mean, these messages are everywhere; you are not necessarily looking for them, but nonetheless, they readily appear. Can anyone relate to what I am describing? This is how my week is shaping up, in a nutshell!
So, I am totally a mental busybody; I am such a thinker. I constantly have so many items flowing through the canals of my mind during every blinking moment of every, single day. It is totally nonstop! (Side note: Why is my energy not ever-flowing and non-stop?) Anyway, beginning at the start of this week, I have been receiving an overabundance of messages related to the topics of confidence, self-development, and predestined success. Let me explain a little further. Time to be transparent – here goes.
It has always been my belief that every person, here on Earth, is placed here for a very, specific purpose. Each person represents a certain role and is purposefully positioned to make an impact that was predesigned for (only) his or her existence. Simply put, no one else can do the job that you were hand-selected to perform. This is a belief that I have to remind myself of any time I drift into feelings of self-doubt. I’m human, and although I do not make a practice of dwelling in any space that is nonproductive for too much of a length of time, I surely have my moments where I question myself. I think everyone shares this experience at some point in life. Needless to say, these messages that have been coming to me are much needed and are undoubtedly coming to me at the right time. And, quite honestly, I further believe that their delivery, to me, is predestined as well. What is meant to be will always be.
The first message I received as I was listening to a speaker that discussed entrepreneurship and how the world needs these types of people – the ones who never stop thinking and the ones that have a clear vision. For these people, there is a divine destination waiting. The next message I received as I was scrolling on one of my social media platforms:
“Don’t you dare shrink yourself for someone else’s comfort; do not become small for people that refuse to grow.”
I literally (no exaggeration) shouted toward the screen in solid, agreement. That’s how deeply it touched me at that moment. I feel so strongly about that perspective – you just have no idea! (Note to self: That will be another topic for another day. I have lots to say about that.) Even this morning, yet again, I saw another posting that followed the same vibe:
“I will not apologize for evolving past your comfort zone!”
I think I am going to have to have this declaration printed on a t-shirt and maybe even tattooed to my forehead! It speaks to all the inner pieces of me – let me tell you! But, I digress.
In light of all that, I have been encouraged and inspired by so far, this week, I thought it only befitting to give you a snippet of the collective message of all of these things – goal-setting. Perusing the web, I came across some very helpful tips for undergoing the process of setting productive goals. Let’s explore five golden rules – shall we?
“We all have two choices: We can make a living or we can design a life. Here’s how to do the latter.”—Jim Rohn
- Set goals that motivate you
“If you want to be happy, set a goal that commands your thoughts, liberates your energy and inspires your hopes.” —Andrew Carnegie
I know this sounds very basic and maybe even remedial, but seriously — your goals have to be important to you, hold value to you, and make sense for you. I come across so many people that are working so hard, day in and day out. But – Who are they working for? What are they working toward? Why are those reasons important? It’s so ironic that many of us can put so much of ourselves – our great ideas, our efforts, our sacrifices, our dedication, and our precious time – into making success happen for other people. Yet, we don’t have the same level of push and drive to make success happen for ourselves. That cannot be life. It is not life. Success is no stranger to hard work and you cannot have one without the other, so really sit and think about your reasons and determine the weight of the priority each hold in your life. A sense of urgency will keep you accountable to your commitment. Remember, whatever the mind can conceive, it can achieve. All you have to do is believe!
- Set SMART goals
“You should set goals beyond your reach so you always have something to live for.” —Ted Turner
Now this is both a literal and a figurative tip. Your goals have to be smart, meaning that they have to makes sense in respect to you as a person as well as to the life that you want to live and lead. At the same time, your goals need a structure:
Make sure your goal is clearly defined, not vague or general. So instead of: ‘learn something new’, be more clear and say: ‘learn a new, foreign language – Spanish’.
Include details like amounts or even dates. Some degree of measure has to be represented. Otherwise, how will you determine when your goal has been met?
“You have to set goals that are almost out of reach. If you set a goal that is attainable without much work or thought, you are stuck with something below your true talent and potential.” —Steve Garvey
Is your goal realistic? Now, by no means is my question meant to insinuate that your goal may be a little, too audacious. Rather, I am referring to the practicality of the goal as it relates to achievement. An unrealistic goal would be something like: ‘land a unicorn on the moon’. (Yea, um…not going to happen.)
Reflect on your current self and your current lifestyle. Think about the type of person you’d aspire to grow into as well as the type of lifestyle you’d aspire to live. Then ask, ‘Does my goal match?’ If not, go back to the drawing board, make some revisions, and make it relevant.
- Time Bound
Very, very simply put: A goal without a deadline is merely a dream. Case closed – put a date on it!
- Set goals in writing
“By recording your dreams and goals on paper, you set in motion the process of becoming the person you most want to be. Put your future in good hands—your own.” —Mark Victor Hansen
Write the vision. Make it plain. I know we live in a world of technology that literally makes the old-fashioned “pencil and paper” nearly obsolete. Even so, I love to pull out my planning notebook and write, write, write. It is something about the physical act of doing so that is almost like an unspoken contract for completion. Every time I look at it, it motivates me to continue forward.
- Make an action plan
“Our goals can only be reached through a vehicle of a plan, in which we must fervently believe, and upon which we must vigorously act. There is no other route to success.” —Pablo Picasso
Devise a step-by-step guide for completion. Personally, I love checklists. I set a goal, think about what needs to be done “to get from point a, to point b”, write it all down, and cross off each completed step along the way. For me, it’s more than a liberating experience to cross items off of my list and to see the list grow smaller and smaller. In and of itself, it serves as motivational momentum for me.
“One way to keep momentum going is to have constantly greater goals.” —Michael Korda
- Stick with it!
“Goals. There’s no telling what you can do when you get inspired by them. There’s no telling what you can do when you believe in them. And there’s no telling what will happen when you act upon them.” —Jim Rohn
Consistency is the key. The going will get tough and the tough will get going. The sun will shine and the rain will pour, but none of those circumstances should ever become an extended hindrance toward the pursuit of your goal. If success were easily attained, everyone would have it. Reward even your smallest progressions and continue to move forward until your finish line is in plain view.
“It must be borne in mind that the tragedy of life doesn’t lie in not reaching your goal. The tragedy lies in having no goals to reach.” —Benjamin E. Mays