How to Set & Reach Your Goals

reach your goals

Do you feel stuck in your job or your life? Are you growing a bit stale and stagnant?

Maybe it’s time to move onward and upward, but you don’t really know how to get there? Then perhaps what you’re missing is a personal growth plan.

A personal growth plan is an organized way to help you realize your full potential in your career and in your life.

Are you ready? Here are some elements of a personal growth plan.

Start Where You Are

Take a few minutes to review where you are right now in your life. What do you spend your time and energy on during an average week? Make a list of the major areas like your job, relationships, friends and family, as well as your social and recreational activities.

Do you have worries, concerns or problems in any parts of your life? Even more importantly, are you happy with how your life is going when it comes to these parts of your life?

Now rate each area individually based on how satisfied you are with each aspect. Use a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 signifying that you are completely satisfied with that part of life.

Remember that this is your evaluation and not your partner’s, your employer’s or even your parent’s evaluation. Are you satisfied with how things are going?

After you’ve done your rating, have a look at your list. Take a look particularly at any area that you have scored below 8 out of 10. In her book The Joy Diet, Martha Beck says that you should change anything in your life that’s below an 8.

Don’t be alarmed. Most people rate several aspects of their life as areas to improve. It likely took you many years to get to this place. You’ve got the rest of your life to make changes and improvements. At least now you have an honest self-evaluation.

Where Do You Want to Go?

The next step to developing your personal growth plan is to determine where you want to go. You don’t need to have a detailed road map just yet, but it’s a good idea to get a sense of the general direction that you’d like to follow.

A good way to do that is to ask yourself where you’d like to be five years from now. What would your life and your career look like? How much money would you like to make and what would you be doing in your social life?

Now is the time to set out a vision for yourself and your life. Start by developing a few goals, or one for each part of your life that you want to change. Your goals should be specific, realistic and time-sensitive.

Specific because the more you can name or define your goals, the better chance you will have to achieve them; realistic because you want to actually get there and not be dreaming about it; and time-sensitive because our internal clocks will not drive us toward success unless they are forced to.

Then break your goals down into smaller pieces and over a shorter time frame. What can you do in the next three months to a year to start moving toward that new job or new place you want to live?

Imagine what it will be like to have that new car or new relationship. Then stop dreaming and get to work.

How Will You Get There?

This is where the rubber hits the road. You know where you want to go and now you are going to start taking actions to get you there. But before you begin you want to maximize your chances of success in your personal growth plan. Here are a few tips to make that happen:

  • Write down your goals if you haven’t done so already, and paste them all over your house to remind you.
  • Tell your close friends and family about your plans. You don’t have to tell everybody at work that you are planning to leave, just the people you trust.
  • Find supporters and cheerleaders. They will keep you motivated and help you get back on track just before you are ready to give up. Pick only positive people for this task.
  • Find a mentor or coach. These are the people you can turn to when you get stuck and will point you back in the right direction when you get lost. And you will get lost, at least temporarily.
  • Celebrate the small successes. Buy a bottle of wine to share with your supporters when you finish your first college course. Get a box of chocolates to share with your mentor when you get a new job.
  • Start right away to implement your personal growth strategy. The sooner you begin, the faster you can get to your new career and your new life.

A personal growth plan is a great way to get unstuck. So grab some paper and get started today!

Mike Martin is a freelance writer and consultant specializing in workplace wellness and conflict resolution. He is the author of Change the Things You Can (Dealing with Difficult People). For more information about Mike please visit: Change the Things You Can


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