Setting goals can be motivating, and even exciting. When they are true life goals, something that you’re passionate about, it makes it that much more thrilling. However, the more you pursue that goal, the more challenges you face, the more discouraging it can be. You’ll be surrounded by doubts, some your own, and some from those around you. You may give in to procrastination or even wonder if the life goal you’re pursuing makes any sense for you at all.
Achieving your life goals. Goals are difficult to achieve for a reason. Think of all the New Year’s Resolutions people set — to lose weight, to change jobs, to read more books — and give up on a few months into the year. The reason is that life is full of obstacles and challenges that we tend to forget in the high of setting goals. Achieving life goals — whether it be a dream of financial stability and even luxury or a picture of your own business — is even more challenging, because they mean so much to us. But that passion can be just the thing that propels you to achieve your life goals if you don’t allow it to burn out.
Be Specific With Your Life Goals
One downside to life goals is that they tend to be vague. They start with a dream of yours: to own a business, to travel the world, to send your kids to top colleges. They begin far off, but if you want to come any closer to achieving them, you need to get specific. The more specifics you attach to a goal, the more real it becomes…and the clearer your steps to that goal become.
Let’s say your goal is financial stability. What does that look like to you exactly? How much capital? What amenities go into that? Don’t just build it up in your head and hope that you’ll remember later. Take out a notebook (or the notes app in your phone, since this is the 21st century) and take the time to write out as many specifics as you like. Maybe set a timer for 10 minutes. When time’s up, go back and reread what you wrote down.
Becoming specific about your life goals will not only help them to become more real, but it will help you to be more organized about them. As you read over your list of specifics, chances are you’ll notice some milestones along the way. You can measure your goal by trying to reach the first milestone, then the next, and so on and so forth. We mentioned naysayers in the first paragraph. You’ll find them everywhere, some “well-meaning” and others simply hoping to tear you down. It can be particularly disheartening when your goal seems far-off and vague, but when you have a clear idea of what you want, you can defend that more readily.
Be Realistic With Your Life Goals
Speaking of naysayers, it seems the argument against potential trailblazers is always to “be more realistic.” Don’t strive for more than you have, don’t try to do anything different, just be practical and sensible like everyone else. The truth is, you should be realistic with your life goals…but that’s not a description of realism. That’s a description of complacence. Realism does not necessarily mean dreaming small or settling for less. People achieve their life goals every day, so why should it be unrealistic for you to do the same? Sure, there are people who never achieve their goals, as well. There is an element of risk, but it’s far from unrealistic or unpractical to strive for big goals.
Being realistic is less about settling and more about taking an honest look at your capabilities and the resources available to you. For instance, let’s say you’re a fairly recent associate at a big law firm, but you feel dissatisfied there and want to start your own firm. That’s not impossible, but it will be harder for you than a partner with 20 years of experience in the area. You won’t have the same connections and your pool of savings will probably be too low to start a new firm.
If this is something that you truly think is the right choice, however, these challenges shouldn’t dissuade you from your goal. You can step up your networking, ask for advice from professionals you respect, and build up your savings at the current firm while you develop your plan. Being realistic is less about looking at a life goal you’re passionate about and saying, “It’s not practical,” and more about acknowledging the difficulties you’ll face and asking, “Am I capable of the time and effort this will take?” But be encouraged: the answer is not always — or even often — no.
Set Deadlines for Your Life Goals
Setting deadlines can be dangerous territory. Often, people already feel as though there’s a ticking clock on their life goals, that if they don’t achieve the life they want by the time they’re thirty they’ve failed. Plenty of successful people who achieved their life goals in their 50s or 60s have shown that’s simply not true. There is no age limit on success, but setting deadlines can help you to best achieve your life goals in the time that works for you.
This doesn’t work for everyone, but there are certain people who thrive under the threat of deadlines. They use deadlines to ensure that they turn in all their work on time, that they finish moving by a particular time, etc. So why not apply that to your life goals? The only difference is that these are deadlines you set for yourself. Don’t put a time frame on your entire goal, but rather each step along the way (refer back to your list of specifics). With each deadline met, you’ll find yourself closer to your goals, and soon you won’t even need the deadlines to reach them.
Like This Article?
Pin it on Pinterest
Life goals are by no means easy to achieve, but they are achieved every day. They’re achieved by the kind of people who know how to commit and push themselves through the obstacles. Ultimately, you have to feel strongly about what you’re trying to achieve and you have to let that motivate you. These tips will help give you a push in the right direction, but the best way to achieve your life goals is with a committed mindset.