Goals and plans

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One of my all-time favourite quotes is this one by Max Depree:

We cannot become what we want by remaining what we are.

I find this so inspiring! You see, I really believe that a goal without a plan is just a wish, it’s just a dream….. If it doesn’t have a path to take you to that goal, then it’s pointless!

What do Mahatma Gandhi, Nelson Mandela, Mother Theresa, Abraham Lincoln have in common? They had a vision, they had a goal. AND they had very clear plans for how to achieve their goal. And they were such inspiring people and great leaders!

Goals are a part of every element of life: your lifestyle choices, your eating choices, how you conduct your relationships, what you want to achieve at work or school or home, the way you use your free time.

Without goals or objectives, life becomes a blur – a succession of jumbled or often, frenzied, events you don’t control. In other words, things happen to you rather than you making things happen.

Often times we want something but are either not prepared to work hard to get it, or we’re afraid, not confident; or we just have a mental block that prevents us from moving ahead with it.

Sometimes we THINK we want something, but through much agonizing and soul-searching, or having traversed many twists and turns, we discover that we didn’t really want that thing in the first place, or it wasn’t for us.

Either way, it’s a good idea to have a goal (or set of goals). That usually means you’re trying to achieve something, typically something positive that will give you what you want.

The key thing here is to make sure the goal is SMART: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Timely. SMART goals help to give shape and a degree of precision to your goals and objectives. They allow you to monitor and track yourself and how you are progressing. The less vague, the more inclined you will be to maintain clarity of your vision, bringing you closer to reality.

A good idea is to set your goals with a positive intent. So, instead of saying: “I want to lose weight and eat less”, try saying: “I want to live a healthy life by making good eating choices”. Or, instead of saying: “I want to leave my current job”, try saying: “I want to find a job in which I feel fulfilled”, and so on.

Lots of people, myself included, like to make lists of action items that, when checked off, bring a considerable degree of satisfaction and achievement. Know a few of those people?

However, ticking goals off a list does not have much meaning if you’re not enjoying the mission. Because, look at it this way…. If you’re not enjoying the journey, those things become ……. chores! However, if you’re enjoying the journey, then your goals become beacons that guide you in your desired direction.

Now that’s something that a go-getter does – they have a guiding vision, goals and plans, typically with dates.

As we’ve read in previous posts, go-getters are ambitious and know precisely what they want. They routinely have clear goals and objectives. They also know and accept what they have to do to stay on track toward meeting those objectives. They know exactly WHY they want all these things. And it is this WHY that propels them forward. A sense of purpose!

When setting a goal, it is useful to ask yourself:

  • What do I want?
  • Why is this important to me? Why is it important now in my life?
  • What specific things do I need to do?
  • How committed am I?
  • What are the things I can do in the short, medium and long term?
  • What does success look like to me?
  • How will I know if I am making progress toward my goal?

The average person will often make promises but finds it difficult to keep them because they quickly succumb to self-doubt or negative patterns – typically procrastination, complacency or the search of perfection. Often, they are impatient and look for immediate results, which can have drastic consequences that draw them away from their commitments and lead to negative experiences.

Okay, so that’s step 1 – a vision, a goal. But what’s a goal without a plan? Not much. A plan is as important as the goal itself. So, in order to ensure you achieve your goal, it is necessary to have a plan of action. Those could be little things in baby steps, or big action steps, one building on the other, until your goal is attained. And make sure to include target dates that give you a bit of a sense of urgency. A plan without target dates remains a wish, a desire, nothing else. It doesn’t give you the impetus or motivation to spur you on and achieve.

And oh, my goodness, the feeling when you achieve a goal! It’s satisfying, liberating, bringing a sense of accomplishment and happiness. What’s bad about that?

Be sure to check out my next posts where I break things down further.

Do you have a vision, a goal, a plan? Are you ready to explore? If so, reach out to me at bernadette@gogettercoaching.com and get ready to explore the possibilities that are out there waiting for you!

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