I love sharing stories about my life as a mom and the experiences I go through in the journey to accomplishing my dreams. Last time I shared my story on achieving one of my biggest goals in life… graduating with a college degree.
I get a lot of different responses when I tell people that I am not only a full time student, but also a full time mom. One of the most frequently asked questions is: How do you do it? While there are a lot of different ways of achieving your dreams, there is one thing that has helped me get this far in my road to a college degree as a mom, two words actually: goal setting.
I’m sure this is not the first time you have heard that goal setting is an important part of actually accomplishing something, and guess what… I am living proof that anything is possible when you set goals. Yes, something as simple as creating a list of ambitions you have can be the first and most important step in becoming the person you want to be, or reaching the target you want to reach.
Here is a list of things to keep in mind when creating a list of goals:
Keep the list at arms reach
What good is a list of goals if you have no idea where it is when you are ready to jot something down? Whether it is on your notebook, smartphone or random colored sticky notes, make sure that your list of goals is at your reach when you are ready to set a new goal for yourself. Some of the best goals come to mind at the most random instances, and it is important to write down what that specific goal is. The list usually serves as a reminder and as a trophy once those goals have been achieved and crossed off your list.
Set realistic goals
There is nothing more disappointing than failing to do something you had longed to get done. Sometimes it doesn’t necessarily mean you were not cut out for the job, but maybe because the goal was out of reach and not realistic. Take some time to think about whether the goal is attainable and specific enough. For example, ‘saving money’ is not a good goal as is. While saving money is an attainable goal, it is not specific enough. It is best to include a specific amount. Like, ‘save $1,000 for my trip to Los Angeles’. Having specifics like the amount and purpose can help motivate you and achieve those goals faster.
For someone that does not set goals often, or simply lives each day as it comes, it might be difficult to create a list of realistic and attainable goals. One of the best things to do in a situation like this is to look for advice. It doesn’t necessarily have to be a professional, but someone that knows you enough to tell you if your goal is realistic or not. This person can be a teacher, counselor or even your partner. Just make sure that the person you are seeking the advice from will be a motivator while still giving constructive criticism.
Understand the difference between short-term and long-term goals
Being able to distinguish short-term from long-term goals is crucial when you are the as impatient as myself. I am the kind of person that likes to see results quickly. Whether it is when working out, saving money, or even when trying to improve my grades at school. The only downturn to that is that you are more likely to be disappointed when something like a long-term goal is not reached in a short amount of time.
One of the methods that has worked for me is creating a list, one like you would create for pros and cons, the only difference is that this time it would be short-term and long-term. Separate your goals into these two separate columns are you are more likely to create success stories, and less likely to feel like you let yourself down.
Create a timeline
One of the reasons many goals fall through is because there is usually not a time specified by when you would like to achieve those goals. Knowing when you would like to have accomplished you goal is crucial in achieving. Like I discussed in the point above, short-term and long-term goals is one way of starting to create a timeline.
This timeline should include a list of priorities. It is very helpful in goal setting when you are focused on one goal at a time. Dividing your focus on several different goals can cause frustration and even disappointment when you notice nothing has been crossed off your list. It is very common for people to want to do many things at once. For example, if an individual is setting a goal to finish their GED, get a job, and get their driver’s license, it can become overwhelming deciding which thing to get done first. All situations are different and no two human’s circumstances are the same, therefore, it is up to you to create the priority list that best fits your lifestyle. While some people find it more important to get their diploma before a job, others are more concerned with getting some sort of income, even if it isn’t the best pay.
Whether it is from your parents, teachers or life coaches, you have probably heard the saying ‘the sky’s the limit’, and that is one of the greatest advantages of creating meaningful list of goals. Just because you reached the goals on your list and crossed off every single item does not mean you should stop there. One of the most amazing things about goal setting is that there is not a limit to the amount you can set.
Remember that there is no one-way of setting goals the correct way. There are many methods that are used by individuals everywhere. Try experimenting with different techniques until you find what works best for you.