Every year we all set goals for ourselves, some of us reach them and some of us don’t. Goal setting is the first step towards successful goal achievement. It marks your first point toward success. It is what put your life into real action mode. Without this step, the other steps of goal achievement cannot take place.
Have you ever encountered people who have a passive approach towards life? They don’t set any goals and they just live life on a meandering, day-to-day basis. You see them 1 year, 3 years, 5 years from now, and their lives are largely the same.
There’s never a good time to sit down and think about what you want to accomplish in life. We have busy lives, and even when we’re not busy, we might just feel more like sitting in front of the TV or doing something other than thinking about the rest of our lives. Do it today, if you haven’t yet. It could take as little as 10 or 20 minutes, and it could make all the difference in your life. You probably already have a good idea of what you want to do, but you may not have it written down. Or maybe you’ve done this exercise before, but you haven’t updated your goals for awhile. Now’s the time to do it.
1. How to start? First, think about what you’d like people to say about you at your funeral. This comes from Stephen Covey’s 7 Habits of Highly Effective People — the habit called “Begin with the end in mind.” It’s also very effective. Imagine you are at the end of your life, looking back. What would you like to have accomplished? What kind of person would you like to have been?
Now here’s the key: start living your life so that you will eventually get to that point.
2. Now that you’ve given that a little thought, jot down some ideas for life goals you’d like to achieve.
They can be in many areas, but here are a few to start with: professional, education, family, spiritual, travel, recreation, hobbies, community, charity. You can probably think of more, and you don’t need to have goals in all of these areas. Just some topics to get you started.
3. Refine your list, or expand it. After your initial brainstorm, you may want to trim it down. But you may also want to expand: sometimes it’s fun, and worthwhile, to dream big.
4. Now break it down. What should you accomplish in the next 10 years for each of these goals? How about 5 years? How about two years? One year? And this month?
Once you’ve planned out each goal for 10-year, 5-year, 2-year, 1-year and 1-month periods, you’ve got yourself a pretty solid plan.
5. Take action! I like to take my monthly goals, and make a to-do list for this week. What can I do today to further my goals? And if I can get just one thing done, I’ve done a lot to make those dreams a reality!
Take a step towards your dreams today by writing them down, and making a plan.
This article originally appeared on zenhabits.net