Goal Making is a skill. We learn from a very young age what we are capable of and what we can expect to do in life. You know those stories of children trying to fly, driving their tricycles right off of a deck? It’s the fall that teaches them they can’t fly.
After a lifetime of falling, it’s hard to make unachievable goals, especially if you’re a very terribly realistic person. You think, “I’m just setting myself up for failure” or “I really can’t do that. I’m not capable of it.” We fear the fall. Half of big goal setting is setting near-unachievable goals. The other half is assessment, planning, and reassessment.
I made a goal a long time ago, when I was probably 10 or so, to write for a living. I had lofty aspirations to become a published author of a very serious sort of literature. Then I went to college and figured out, after some self-relfection, that wasn’t for me. At that time, I really doubted my own writing skills, after being told by peers I wasn’t any good. I decided that if I couldn’t write well, I could help others do it better. I knew what made up good writing and was confident in that skill. A year after college, I realized they were wrong. I am a good writer. Time spent doubting myself, I had also learned how edit well. After making discoveries about myself and assessing my skills, I found where I needed to improve and started working hard to get better and expand on other skill-sets I knew I would need to succeed.
At this juncture, I’m well on my way to learning new skills everyday, honing my craft further, and really making myself into an expert in my field, which has evolved overtime into blogging instead of books. I know that it will still take years of work but I’m ready for it. Today was a payoff day. I sat down with a company I respect and they said they were excited about me.
So let’s break it down. How did I get here?
Step One Dream. Make a big lofty goal that you can work towards, even if it is years and years down the line. If you could only do one thing for the rest of your life, what would it be? Is there a big task you want to achieve? This works for little goals too, but we’re talking big plans here, folks.
Step Two Assess. Talk to people in the field or who have achieved what you deem success in what you want to do. Ask them for advice and what steps a beginner should take. Research your heart out. Start making lists, keeping ideas, and jotting down relevant information.
Step Three Plan. Now that you have more knowledge, think about the steps you need to take to achieve your goal down to the nitty gritty details that make an expert. Maybe you need to get a better education or you need professional head shots. Write it all down and make a massive I-can’t-believe-it’s-this-long plan.
Step Four Assess. Again. Now that you have a plan, go through it all again and make sure that what you are doing will really get you where you want to go. Do you need that step? Can you skip it? Do you need to add another?
Step Five Do. Start working. Do those things on your plan. Dedicate time to this goal. Change habits, learn tricks, and make progress. Take it one day, one task at a time. Don’t jump the gun too soon, though.
Step Six Assess (a trend, huh?). How’s your progress? Is what you’re doing worthwhile? Even if it sucks, can you see the value in what you’re doing? Or did you get lost in the details? It’s time to look at the big picture again and make sure you’re on track.
Step Seven Repeat steps two through six.