We all have things we plan to accomplish. I have written down my goals for years because I had always heard that it’s how you get things done. My approach was simple:
Step 1: Write a list of goals.
Step 2: Execute the list (hopefully).
It took me a while to notice something was up, but one day I looked back and noticed that a bunch of my lists were still full of incomplete objectives. I then realized that there was something wrong with my methods. Since that time I have read stacks of articles and advice on how to properly plan out an action list because I can’t stand the idea of doing something ineffectively. Ultimately I have found that everything boils down to three simple questions. These questions ensure that each goal is worth spending time and energy on and not going to be a waste of time or effort. If they make it through this examination they get to stay on my list, if not they’re gone. Here are the questions:
Are my goals attainable?
Your goals must be achievable. You must know that they are possible and that you WILL succeed. This is a crucial mindset to have when setting goals because to accomplish any feat you have to work with conviction and passion to overcome obstacles when they present themselves. You have to know that the sweat you pour out, hours you expend, and mental toil you exert are going to be worth the work.
Are my goals ambitious?
Your goals need to be inspiring. You should only set goals that have a high degree of difficulty to attain. The targets that you aim at should always seem just a little out of reach. This seems to contradict the first question that we covered a moment ago, but your aspirations should fall into a place that seem a little too grand to be easily attainable. They should push you to improve yourself in order to make them happen. While you should know that you can win, you should also have to stretch and strengthen yourself to see victory.
Do my goals force me to action?
Continuing with the idea of growing to reach your goals, they should drive you to do things you wouldn’t normally do. Right now, I’m sitting alone at my kitchen table while my family is in bed sleeping. It’s still dark outside! Why am I typing away like a madman before the sun is even up? It’s because I have set a goal of posting valuable information for others to utilize every day. I know that the only way to attain that goal is to be up early in the morning because that’s when I’ll be able to get the most focus and creativity out of myself. Knowing this makes me get myself up and fight for that goal even on days when I don’t want to. Our goals should make us do something. Not later; NOW. No goal should ever sit stagnant on a list because you aren’t willing to fight for it in the current moment.
I have had a lot of ideas and plans that I thought were really good in the moment, but later realized that they didn’t match up with these questions. Looking back I’m glad that I cut them. They would have been a huge drain of energy and if I’m being completely honest I would have probably lost interest in them and thrown them away anyhow. It’s extremely freeing to realize that the projects that I am working on right now are worthwhile, and knowing that they are worthwhile helps me to give them the intensity they deserve. Just remember, a goal with no plan or action is called a daydream. A real goal requires action.
Cheers to lofty goals