Guest Author - Dianne Walker
So many times we hear about S.M.A.R.T. goal setting. Making sure that goals are specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and timely, may not be easy – but sometimes setting the goals is much easier then getting started on accomplishing them. So how do you set the wheels in motion and start moving forward in your completing your goals? Even goals need an action plan in order to be successful.
Begin – There it is, short and simple. The best way to get started on completing a goal is to begin. Sometimes we get so hung up on the details and making sure that everything is just right, we fail to take that first step toward goal completion. Getting started sounds so easy, but for many people, the fear of failure prohibits them from moving past the planning stage.
Follow the plan – Have you ever been derailed because your feelings of fear got in the way? Doing what you “feel” will never help you to accomplish goals. Why? When we go with our feelings, then we would forever stay in our comfort zone. Remember that goal setting means stretching and moving out of our comfort zone into some extraordinary.
What happens when you hit a snag? While snags sometimes can have a negative impact on the outcome of your goal, it does not always spell out instant disaster. Sometimes a snag can actually be a good thing. Snags help you to determine the feasibility and success of the plan you set in place for accomplishing your goal. It also provides the opportunity to re-access the goal to determine whether or not it is still viable. Sometimes the plan may need to change, but the goal will still be the same.
Track it. How will you know if you are nearing your goal? Track your progress. You can use worksheets, photos – whatever method you need in order to determine if you’re making progress on reaching your goal. It also allows you to revisit the plan to see where improvements can be made in the future.
Make corrections – Sometimes you may be breezing toward completing your goal when you run into a large brick roadblock thrown squarely in your path. What should you do at this point? Don’t give up! Make course corrections to steer around the blockage and keep heading toward the finish line. Take time to figure out whether or not there can be an alternative plan of action. Remember, things will always go wrong. It is how you get back up and keep heading toward your goal that counts.
Finish. The interesting concept about goals is that they are just that - goals. It’s a goal that you hope for, you strive to reach. What happens when you get to the finish line and the outcome is far different from what you expected? Remember sometimes it’s about the journey toward the goal, not the final destination reached. Perhaps you learned more then you would have had you not attempted to reach the goal in the first place. Maybe you didn’t get the promotion, but you gained a lot of knowledge to use wherever you may end up.