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Dreams Are Imaginary But Setting Your Goals In This Way Can Make Them Come True!

Dreams Are Imaginary But Setting Your Goals In This Way Can Make Them Come True!

All of us have failed to achieve a goal at some point. In spite of our best intentions, circumstances and a lack of motivation can keep us from following through. Even the most dedicated goal setters occasionally question whether they are taking the right steps to lead a fulfilling life.

When life becomes complicated, our dreams and goals sometimes take a back seat. Over time, we can lose sight of our passion altogether. It is possible to achieve our goals if we remember that goals and dreams are not necessarily the same things.

Dreams are imaginary. Goals are based in reality. They’re different.

One of the biggest misconceptions about goal setting is that your desire to achieve is enough. As Les Brown stated,

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“The graveyard is the richest place on earth, because it is here that you will find all the hopes and dreams that were never fulfilled, the books that were never written, the songs that were never sung, the inventions that were never shared, the cures that were never discovered, all because someone was too afraid to take that first step, keep with the problem, or determined to carry our their dream.”

Wanting to lose weight, write a book, save for retirement, or start your own business are dreams. Adopting good goal setting strategies can turn your dreams into goals and your goals into reality. All goals start with that dream or desire, but when you engage in goal setting, you devise actionable steps for getting what you want. Having a dream without setting goals is like setting out on a cross-country trip without a map.

Achieving your goals isn’t always going to be pretty. Be ready to face the challenges.

When you see the successful people of the world – the Olympic athletes, innovators, entrepreneurs, and bestselling authors, you only see the results of their efforts. Since we can’t see their struggle, it can give us the false impression that their success materialized with little effort on their part.

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It can be easy and motivating to visualize your goals coming to life. You can picture yourself in that swimsuit after you lose weight, or you can imagine your book on a shelf in the bookstore. What you may not think about, but what you must anticipate, is that achieving your goals isn’t always going to be pretty.

You will experience circumstances that test your resolve. If you aren’t willing to make sacrifices or stick with your goals through the tough times, then it will be hard to succeed. You have to be prepared to face challenges to achieve your goals.

To realize your goals, you’ll have to make a good plan.

About 80% of people who make New Year’s resolutions give up on them by February.[1] The statistics on resolutions show that many of us have excellent intentions, but we have trouble following through.[2]

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Take the following steps to begin the goal setting process:

  1. State your vision and write it down.

    Some people use special planners,[3] others make vision boards[4] or write their goals on a sheet of paper. No matter what medium you choose, you’ll be more likely to succeed if you write your goal setting steps and include solutions to challenges. If you start to lose focus, you can refer back to these documents for inspiration and motivation.[5] The key is to be specific about what you want.

  2. Anticipate obstacles In The First Place.[6]

    If the path to success was easy, there wouldn’t be so many failed resolutions. Complacency, negative self-talk, unfocused efforts, and fear of failure can derail goal setting. Factors such as your personal life, professional responsibilities, and financial concerns can also disrupt your plans. If you can foresee areas of difficulty, you can proactively plan to address them without losing your motivation.

  • You know that you want to write your book, but you also have to work a full-time job to pay your bills. Some of your biggest obstacles are time and money. Write down concrete steps that you will take to find the time and money to devote to writing.
  • I will wake up one hour before I have to get ready for work to make time to write.
  • I will hold myself accountable to writing 500 words per day, even if that means that I have to stay up late to meet this goal.
  • I will cut back on unnecessary expenses and save X amount of money per week so that I can reduce the hours I spend at work and devote more time to writing.
  • Establish accountability. Sharing your goal on social media, participating in an online challenge, or telling your best friend about your intentions can help you navigate difficult times. You may even be able to work with others with goals similar to your own. By scheduling regular meetings to check in with them, you can stay on the right track. Your accountability buddy can also be the person you call when you feel like giving up.

3. Put Your Goal in Scope: Set SMART Goals[7]

SMART Goals are:

  • S – Specific. It isn’t enough to say you want to lose weight. Why do you want to shed those pounds? The more specific you are, the easier it will be to visualize your goals and anticipate setbacks.
  • M – Measurable. Goals have actionable steps that you can measure. How many pounds do you want to lose? What will success look like for you? Measurable goals can be broken into smaller benchmarks that you can use to keep yourself on track.
  • A – Achievable. Your dreams can be as big as you want them to be, but your goals should be things that you can accomplish. Perhaps you want to lose weight, but is it safe or feasible to lose 50 pounds in a month? Think about what it is going to take to get what you want, and decide if these are things that you are willing to do. Coming up with reasonable and achievable steps during the goal setting process will keep you from giving up out of frustration.
  • R – Relevant. Your goal should be something that you truly want to do. Are you applying to medical school because you have a genuine desire to help people, or are you applying because your parents want to have a doctor in the family? The best goals are determined by what motivates you, and not what others think should motivate you.
  • T – Time-bound. With no deadline, you can take your dreams to your grave. What steps can you take right now? Where can you expect to be in 3 months, 6 months, and one year?

Example on a Complete Passionate Goal Setting

  • Saying that you want to write a novel isn’t going to make one appear. Use positive statements and direct language. The top of your goal setting page might say, “I will write a book,” or “I am a writer.” The rest of your page might say something like, “By the end of this month, I will read one book on the craft of writing. By [insert date here], I will complete an outline for my novel. During [insert time frame here], I will research information about editing best practices.” “When I experience self-doubt, I will read a chapter from Stephen King’s On Writing.” The more details and deadlines that you give yourself, the better you’ll be able to check your progress.

You can do this! Goal setting helps you keep moving forward at any time.

If you are able to establish SMART goals and you are willing to make sacrifices to achieve your them, you are on the right track to making your dream a reality. Know that nobody is perfect. We all make mistakes and slip up from time to time.[8] Goal setting isn’t just about visualizing the perfect outcome. It is also about planning for the times when things aren’t so perfect and developing strategies to keep moving forward.

Reference

More by this author

Angelina Phebus

Writer, Yoga Instructor (RYT 200)

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Last Updated on April 11, 2019

How to Improve Communication Skills for Workplace Success

How to Improve Communication Skills for Workplace Success

Possessing strong communication skills will help you in every phase of your life. This is especially true in the workplace.

I have personally worked with several leaders who were masters of communication. A few were wonderful speakers who could tell a great story and get everyone in the room engaged. Those of us in attendance would walk away feeling inspired and eager to help with what came next. Others were very skilled at sharing a clear direction and job expectations.

I knew exactly what was expected of me and how to achieve my goals. This was the foundation of an energized and vibrant role I was in. What I have found is strong communication skills are incredibly helpful and sometimes critical in how well we perform at work.

Here we will take a look at how to improve communication skills for workplace success.

How Communication Skills Help Your Success

Strong communication skills pave the way for success in many ways. Let’s look at a few of the big ones.

Create a Positive Experience

Here are two examples of how well developed communication skills helps create a positive experience:

When I first moved to the city I now live in, I began a job search. Prior to my first live interview, I was told an address to go to. Upon arriving at the address provided, I drove around and around attempting to find the location. After 15 minutes of circling and looking for the address, I finally grabbed a parking spot and set out on foot.

What I discovered was the address was actually down an alley and only had the number over the door. No sign for the actual company. The person that gave me those very unclear directions provided a bad experience for me.

Had they communicated the directions to get there in a clear manner, my experience would have been much better. Instead the entire experience started off poorly and colored the entire meeting.

As a recruiter, I frequently provide potential candidates with information about a job I’m speaking to them about. In order to do this, I also provide a picture of the overall company, the group they might be joining, and how their role fits in and impacts the entire company.

Time and time again I have been told by candidates that I have provided the clearest picture of a company and role they have ever heard. They have a positive experience when I clearly communicate to them. Even when the position does not work out for them, often times they will want to stay in touch with me due to the open communication and beneficial experience they had during the interviewing process.

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Strong communication skills will provide a positive experience in virtually any interaction you have with someone.

Help Leadership Skills

It’s certainly a skill all its own to be able to lead others.

Being a mentor and guiding others towards success is a major hallmark of great leaders. Another characteristic of effective leaders is the ability to communicate clearly.

As I referenced above, having a leader who can plainly articulate the company’s mission and direction goes a really long way towards being the Captain of the boat that others want to follow. It’s like saying “here’s our destination and this is how we are going to get there” in a way that everyone can get on board with.

Another critical component of everyone helping to sail the boat in the right direction is knowing what your portion is all about. How are you helping the boat move towards its destination in the manner than is consistent with the leaders’ vision?

If you have a boss or a manager that can show you what it takes for not only you to be successful, but also how your performance helps the company’s success then you’ve got a winner. A boss with superior communication skills.

Build Better Teams

Most of us work in teams of some sort or another. During the course of my career, I have led teams up to 80 and also been an individual contributor.

In my individual contributor roles, I have been part of a larger team. Even if you are in business for yourself, you have to interact with others in one manner or another.

If you have strong communication skills, it helps to build better teams. This is true whether you are in an IT department with 100 other fellow programmers or if you own your own business and have customers or vendors you communicate with.

When you showcase your robust ability to communicate well with others while interacting with them, you are building a better team.

Now let’s jump in to how to improve communication skills to help you pave the way for your workplace success.

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How to Improve Communication Skills for Workplace Success

There are many tips, tricks, and techniques to improve communication skills. I don’t want to overwhelm you with too much information, so let’s focus on the things that will provide the biggest return on your time investment.

Most of these tips will be fairly easy to become aware of but will take time and effort to implement. So let’s go!

1. Listen

Ever heard the saying you have two ears and one mouth for a reason? If you haven’t, then here’s the reason:

Being a good listener is half the equation to being a good communicator.

People who have the ability to really listen to someone can then actually answer questions in a meaningful way. If you don’t make the effort to actively listen, then you are really doing yourself and the other person a disservice in the communication department.

Know that person who is chomping at the bit to open his or her mouth the second you stop talking? Don’t be that person. They haven’t listened to at least 1/2 of what you’ve said. Therefore the words that spill out of their mouth are going to be about 1/2 relevant to what you just said.

Listen to someone completely and be comfortable with short periods of silence. Work on your listening skills first and foremost.

2. Know Your Audience

Knowing your audience is another critical component to having strong communication skills. The way you interact with your manager should be different than how you interact with your kids. This isn’t to say you need to be a different person with everyone you interact with. Far from it.

Here is a good way to think about it:

Imagine using your the same choice of words and body language you use with your spouse while interacting with your boss. That puts things in a graphic light!

You want to ensure you are using the type of communication most relevant to your audience.

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3. Minimize

I have lunch with a business associate about 3 times a year. We’ve been talking for several years now about putting a business deal together.

He is one of those people that simply overwhelms others with a lot of words. Sometimes when I ask him a question, I get buried beneath such an avalanche of words that I’m more confused than when I asked the question. Needless to say this is most likely a large portion of why we never put the deal together.

Don’t be like my lunch business associate. The goal of talking to or communicating with someone is to share actual information. The goal is not to confuse someone, it’s to provide clarity in many cases.

State what needs to be stated as succinctly as possible. That doesn’t mean you can’t have some pleasant conversation about the weather too.

The point is to not create such an onslaught of words and information that the other person walks away more confused than when they started.

4. Over Communicate

So this probably sounds completely counter intuitive to what I just wrote about minimizing your communication. It seems like it might be but it’s not.

What I mean by over communicating is ensuring that the other person understands the important parts of what you are sharing with them. This can be done simply yet effectively. Here’s a good example:

Most companies have open enrollment for benefits for the employees in the fall. The company I work for has open enrollment from November 1 to 15. The benefits department will send out a communication to all employees around October 1st, letting them know open enrollment is right around the corner and any major changes that year. There’s also a phone number and email for people to contact them with any questions.

Two weeks later, we all get a follow up email with basically the same information. We get a 3rd communication the week before open enrollment and another one 1 day before it starts.

Finally we get 2 emails during enrollment reminding us when open enrollment ends.

There’s minimal information, it’s more of a reminder. This is effective over communication.

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5. Body Language

The final critical component to how to improve communication skills for workplace success is body language. This is something most of us have heard about before but, a reminder is probably a good idea.

When I am in a meeting with someone I am comfortable with, I tend to kind of slouch down in my chair and cross my arms. When I catch myself doing this, I sit up straight and uncross my arms. I remember that crossing arms can many times be interpreted as a sign of disagreement or conflict.

In general, the best rule of thumb is to work towards having open body language whenever possible at work. This means relaxing your posture, not crossing your arms, and looking people in the eye when speaking with them.

When you are speaking in front of others, stand up straight and speak in a clear voice. This will convey confidence in your words.

Conclusion

Possessing strong communication skills will help you in many facets of your life and most certainly in the workplace.

Good communication helps create better teams, positive experiences with those we interact with, and are critical for leadership.

There are numerous tactics and techniques to be used to improve communication skills. Here we’ve reviewed how to improve communication skills for workplace success.

Now go communicate your way to success.

More Resources About Effective Communication

Featured photo credit: HIVAN ARVIZU via unsplash.com

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