Saturday, March 24, 2012

Guide to Goal Setting - 5 Steps to Achieving Your Goals

Mindmap support (based on Freemind) in WikkaWi...Mindmap support (based on Freemind) at sourceforge.net. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)By Michael W Curley

Would you like to make any changes in your life? Do you wish things were different? We all have hopes and dreams. Sadly too few people realize their dreams.

What's the difference between those who achieve their dreams and those who don't? The answer is goals. What's the difference between dreaming and realizing your dreams? Action. Goals are putting action to our dreams.

Wishing and taking action are two different things. To realize your dreams you must have a plan of action. A road map if you will. I've never heard of a road map to nowhere. A map will take you where you want to go. One step at a time you go to your car. You start the engine. Put the car in drive. And start your trip one mile at a time. One mile after the other until you finally reach your destination. To reach a goal we break it up into small goals. One step after the other.

With goal setting techniques, you can accomplish your dreams. Let's look at some simple steps to guide you to the finish line.

1. Pick a dream

What do I really want? Where do I want to go? What do I want to do now? Next make a decision that this dream is attainable. Now put legs and feet on your dream and make it a goal. Legs are your determination, and the feet equal action.

2. Visualize your goal

From now on it's no longer a dream, it's a goal. By changing your thinking, you make it a goal. This is a goal setting technique that demands a lot of reflection on your part.

3. Write your goal down on paper

Be very specific when describing your goal. Don't be vague, that's the difference between wishing, and reaching your goal. Write your goal on a 3 x 5 index card or a post-it note. Place it on your night stand, or bathroom mirror. Make it the first thing you see in the morning, and the last thing you read at night. If your goal is to buy a new car, find a picture, and look at the picture to stay motivated.

4. Step by step plans

Identify your key action steps. Ask yourself, how will I go about this? What schedule or strategy should I focus on? Break your goal into pieces. Don't become overwhelmed. Create a strategy of short-term and the long-term goals. For example let's say your goal is to lose 20 pounds. Create a strategy of short-term goals, losing 5 lbs a week. It's very important that you put time limits in your goals. But this does not have to be written in stone.

5. Tools

How do you want to lay out your plans? You could use a notebook and write down your plan. You could use a word processor on your computer. There are free "goals" software programs that you can find, and download on the internet. There is a cool, free program, called "Freemind". This is a mind mapping program. I think that it would make a great tool for planning (step by step), to reach your final goal. You can find "Freemind" using your favorite search engine.

By observing the goal setting techniques cited above, our dreams are just a few steps away from us. If you have questions, use your favorite search engine. Type the subject, or a question, followed by "government information". You would be amazed at all the free information you can find.

Go to the "Reference Dept." of your local Library and speak with the attendant there. Finding information is what they do for a living. Let nothing stop you from crossing the finish line.

My name is Michael W. Curley. And for a long time I've ignored the importance of goal setting. But I'm really taking this issue seriously; because it can be life changing. What will it take you to reach your dreams? Make a plan. Break it up into small goals. Stay focused, be determined, and run with it.

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