6 Ways to Go for the Goal
Goal setting is a popular topic lately—from career moves to weight loss, what’s the big deal? The idea is easy: you want to get somewhere, so you figure out where that is, and then you do it. What’s so hard about that?
A lot of things can cause you to not reach your goals, especially if you’re sabotaging yourself by not setting a goal you can achieve. As someone who is always working toward several goals, here are some tips that have worked for me.
1. Be specific. I may sound like a stuck record, but it’s not enough to say you want to do something “more” or “better.” That might be a way to start, but it will soon fizzle if you don’t have an idea of where you’re headed. A lot of Career Girls this time of year are thinking about the summer months and “getting in shape,” or other non-numerical health goals (like eat healthy). That works for some people, but most of us won’t reach “in shape” or “healthier” if we don’t even know what that means for us. Talk to someone who can help you set a number to your goal if you’re not sure. If it’s your salary, compare what your’s to what others in your area make. If it’s health-related, make an appointment with your doctor. When you have a clear and realistic idea of where you want to be and when, it’s easier to plan for the steps along the way and to measure your progress, or change your plan.
2. Get educated. Name a subject. Worm farming? Okay, that works. Say you want to be an expert worm farmer, how would you be able to learn more? The internet is a good place to start! You could look for local gardening groups, download some podcasts, or pick up a book on the subject. If you learn more and decide it’s not for you, that’s totally fine. At least you learned something. Getting an education on the subject and taking classes will help you reach your goal.
3. Find an expert. When I wanted to get into running and set a goal to run a race, I made it a point to find other runners. Many of them had run several races, made mistakes, tried new things, and had advice to pass on. Passionate people love talking about their areas of interest, and it was so motivating for me to be around people who had accomplished something I wanted to do so badly. Plus, I ended up making a lot of friends and getting some fun, consistent exercise to reach my goal. If you’re setting career goals, find someone in the field who is willing to talk about how they reached their position, give referrals to resources, and even get you some hands-on experience.
4. Tell your friends. It may sound shallow, but even the most motivated Career Girl can be susceptible to flaking on a goal if it’s not public knowledge. Your friends can help keep you accountable, and sometimes just knowing that your friend is going to ask you about how something went is enough motivation to make you do it if you were on the fence. Friends are great sounding boards, too. They give you different perspectives that can help you consider things you may never have thought about. If you tell your friends that you’re trying to accomplish something and can use their support, they’ll ask you how it’s going and can help you assess your progress.
5. Break it down. I have only once heard a runner friend say that they were not a runner, and then decided to do a marathon, and actually did it. I would never be able to go from literally zero to 26.2 miles. I had to pick smaller race goals and work up to the full distance. Even if you do have a big goal on the horizon, pick a few goals that you can meet along the way. It will help you stay motivated, keep moving, and celebrate the milestones.
6. Celebrate! I know so many Career Girls who have set lofty goals, worked hard to reach them, and then never took time to be proud. Your friends are proud of you, and you’re allowed to be proud of yourself! Graduating college, getting a promotion, buying a house—these are all things that are not easy and you deserve at least a little glory for them. Even victories that seem small deserve to be celebrated.
Don’t think of setting goals as a chore. It’s a way to improve yourself, but also a way to celebrate your own greatness. What do you want to accomplish?