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Last Updated on December 4, 2020

Why Having a Goals Strategy Can Help You Achieve More

Why Having a Goals Strategy Can Help You Achieve More

The challenge most people have with setting goals is figuring out how to achieve them. Many goals end up abandoned because they become a burden rather than a source of inspiration. When you don’t have a goals strategy, achieving your goals will only be a mirage. In this article, you will find insight into why you need a strategy for your goals and examples of what you should include in your goals strategy.

What Is a Goals Strategy?

A goals strategy is an approach you take to achieve your set goals[1]. It is a plan of action and a set of tactics you deploy to ensure that you accomplish the things you set out to do.

Why You Should Have a Goals Strategy

A goal being pursued without an accompanying strategy will ultimately lead to abandonment or frustration. This is because there are internal and external forces that can work against your goal. Your strategy is meant to help you confront these unforeseen circumstances.

What Your Goals Strategy Should Include

Your strategy should consist of primary plans, contingency plans, tactics, and other initiatives you are willing to take to achieve your goals. Below are examples of things you can include in your strategy.

1. Have an Action Plan

Your action plan is a clear outline of how you intend to achieve your goals. It includes the specific things you have to do and the moves you have to make to achieve your goal.

For example, if you intend to save up an amount of money over a period of one year, your action plan will include a regular plan of setting aside a certain amount of money. It can also include other details, such as whether or not you will need to open a designated account for savings. The plan can also include how you intend to cut down on some other expenses to achieve your goal.

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2. Focus on the Process Rather Than Results

One of the best strategies you can deploy to achieve your goals is to focus on the processes involved in achieving your goals rather than the end results. When you focus your energy on the process, you have greater chances of hitting your goals.

For example, if you have a goal to land a new job, your first focus should be on finding opportunities that match your previous work experience.

Once you’ve found a position, your next focus is preparing and submitting an attractive resume and cover letter in order to get called for an interview. If you get called for an interview, your next focus would be giving the interview process all it takes. This will involve researching the company, preparing to give appropriate responses to your interviewers, and portraying yourself as the best candidate for the job.

Your goal of getting a new job will likely come to fruition if you have focused on giving your best at each of the stages mentioned rather than just being preoccupied about getting the job.

3. Choose One Area to Focus on

One of the reasons people often find it impossible to reach their goals is because they run after too many goals at a time. While you can have multiple goals, choosing and concentrating your energy on one goal at a time can make a difference.

This is a strategy that works. Human nature is not wired to perform optimally when its energy is diverted toward too many things at one time. Focusing on an area means prioritizing your goals, taking one thing at a time, and moving on to the next thing when you’ve achieved the previous one.

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4. Plan for Changes and New Challenges

Another strategy you can put in place for your goals strategy are contingency plans. There are many things that are outside of your control that can affect your goals. For example, there can be major socio-economic changes that can affect your goal projections, changes to your living situation, or an unexpected illness.

For example, your investment plan can be affected by an economic recession. If this happens, you will need an alternative plan to be able to achieve your investment goals.

5. Be Ready to Embrace New Directions

When situations change and a goal seems out of reach, embracing a new direction might be another way to reach your goal.

For example, if you have the goal of occupying a particular position in your organization, and after giving your best, the position is given to someone else, seeking a similar position in a similar organization can be something to think about.

If it is business, and you are not getting results with the kinds of clients you currently have, you might upgrade or downgrade your product/service and focus on a different set of clients.

6. Test a Miniature Version of Your Goal

It is good to set big goals, but before you launch, test it on a smaller scale. Testing a smaller version of your goal will give you the opportunity to detect opportunities and threats to your goals that you might not have considered before.

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This strategy is applicable in business and for individuals. It is what recruiters use as job simulation (a test job) to ascertain how a candidate will perform on the real job. It is what partners practice when they date to get familiar with each other before making a marriage commitment.

7. Create Milestones

This looks like the one earlier mentioned about focusing on the process, but there’s some difference. Creating milestones[2] means breaking your goal into actionable units and focusing on achieving each unit at a specific moment.

For example, if you plan on moving your family to a new country for permanent residency, this will require that you at least secure employment in that country. Therefore, your first milestone will be to secure employment that can guarantee you and your family permanent residency. The second milestone is to secure your visa and residency permits, and your third and last milestone will be to plan the logistics of the move. All of these will come with deadlines or timelines, so add those to your goals strategy.

8. Find a Competitor

While it is good to work at your own pace, healthy competition can help to bring out the best in you. It can also make you go the extra mile you might not have been willing to go alone.

Whatever it is that your goal is about, you can find someone to compete with. It might be at your workplace or someone you know remotely. A good example of this is found in two great athletes in the game of soccer: Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo. Both players attest to how the rivalry between them has made them better in the game to the amazement of fans around the world[3].

9. Have an Accountability Partner

If your goal remains with you alone, it is easy to bury it in the pit of procrastination or drown it in the ocean of complacency. However, when you communicate your goals to an accountability partner — someone that is interested in your growth and can challenge you to action — you will often find the motivation to achieve your goals.

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For example, when you create your yearly goals, you can have a chat with your accountability partner to challenge you based on your goals and the timeline you have set. To be more accountable, you can schedule a monthly or quarterly goal review meeting with your accountability partner

10. Act on Your Goal Daily

Your goals have to be serviced daily to keep your mind on them, so make this part of your goals strategy. This might be as simple as thinking it over: what you have done and what you can still do to reach your goal. It can also involve taking actions, such as making a phone call, sending an email reminder, or making a request that is connected to your goal.

11. Be Comfortable With Failure

If you don’t mind whether you fail or not, you will give your best to the processes involved in achieving your goals. Sometimes, not being sure of what the outcome might be can prevent us from giving our best because we don’t want our efforts to go down the drain.

However, when we are comfortable with failure, we will give our best to the process, leaving the outcome to emerge on its own. The results of this kind of approach are surprisingly impressive. However, even if it turns out that it truly failed, you will be proud that you gave it your best.

12. Keep a Goal Performance Journal

Have a journal to track your performance, including actions that you took that led to success in the process of achieving your goals. This will not only be useful for your current goal pursuit, but it will also be useful for future goals as you might need to repeat those actions.

Final Thoughts

Achieving your goals will require more than strategies; you will need to have the courage and determination to pursue your goals in the face of all odds. However, strategies do have their place. They provide the best path you can take to achieve your goals and limit your chances of failure.

More Tips on Achieving Goals

Featured photo credit: Patrick Perkins via unsplash.com

Reference

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Leon Ho

Founder & CEO of Lifehack

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Last Updated on April 8, 2021

How to Start Taking Action on Your Goals and Dreams Now

How to Start Taking Action on Your Goals and Dreams Now

I’m going to tell you the secrets on how to start taking action on your dreams. When you decide to turn thoughts into action, there are specific, actionable steps you can take to move forward.

The first thing I want you to do is think back to when you were a child. Our childhood selves hold many of the secrets to realizing our real life dreams. Think about what you loved to do most and how you told yourself it was possible without worrying about what might get in the way. I’d like you to reconnect to your imagination and playfulness.

By taking the following steps, you’ll do some playing and storytelling to reveal your dreams and start making them come true.

1. Tell Your Story

Your life story is unique and has brought you here today. The next chapter of your life is in your power to write and to realize by taking action. Not everything that happens to you is in your control[1], but the actions you take and how you choose to feel about what happens are in your control.

Finding out what our future lives and dream lives might look like can be done effectively through the eyes of our childhood selves.

Can you remember what you loved to do most as a child? Maybe you enjoyed collecting things like me–I always had a collection of pebbles in a carrier bag that smelled of seawater nestled under my bed. Perhaps you loved taking care of your pets: I had a dog, a tortoise, and many guinea pigs. Or maybe you were really great at making stuff.

You can use the instincts, passions, and skills you had as a child to fuel your progress toward your adult dreams.

I’m inviting you to really think about what you wanted to be when you grew up[2] and the memorable activities you enjoyed as a child, the ones that gave you a real sense of freedom and excitement, or the pursuits that you truly lost yourself in.

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What we call getting into our flow state[3] as an adult is what came naturally to us as children. So, go back there now and think about how that felt. It may clue you in to what still remains true and important to you today.

2. Define Your Dream

The first secret when you want to start taking action on your dreams is to know what they are. This sounds obvious, but so many people only have a loose definition, such as: “more free time,” or “more money.” Busy people know there is something else to life apart from slaving away for a job, or a boss they don’t like, but if you’re too busy to even know what your dream looks like, how can you make it come true?

Once again, I’d invite you to connect to the optimism and playfulness of your childhood self. Go back to thinking about what your dreams involved at age seven or eight. Some of those may still be what you want today.

Now, write down what it is that you want and when you want to achieve it. Note down how you’ll know when you’ve got there and made this dream come true. How will you measure your success? Be as specific about your goals as you can.

A study at the Dominican University in California[4] proved that writing down your goals, accountability, and commitment are three key ingredients to successfully achieving our goals and learning how to take action.

This step also involves building motivation for the steps to come. If you need help in that area, check out Lifehack’s free Ultimate Worksheet for an Instant Motivation Boost.

3. Picture Your Dream Coming True

Think about exactly how it will feel when you start taking action and ultimately achieve your dream, the sense of freedom and excitement. Imagine it in as much detail as you can with all five senses. If you’re finding it hard to imagine a different life, imagine a childhood memory with all its sensations.

As a little girl, I loved to ice-skate, making huge swirly patterns across clean expanses of beautiful glistening ice. The feeling of freedom, of trust in myself to balance, of speed. It felt very immersive, the coldness and my breath turning into little clouds in front of my face.

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Imagine a childhood memory like this, and then imagine the future you want, with as much detail and attention paid to how it looks, feels, tastes, smells, and sounds.

Draw, paint, speak, or write your future story.

If you loved to create pictures like I did as a child, or write stories, or play on the computer, use your natural creative skills and what you love doing to map out your exciting future. You could create a picture, vision board, written story, or audio file.

Then, let’s put that future story somewhere you can easily access it. Make sure that you include a timescale for when you want to achieve this dream by, how you will measure your success, and what you need to get there. If possible, start breaking your dream down into small, manageable steps.

4. What Part Do You Play?

You can’t control everything, so you need to be realistic about your role in taking action and making your future dreams come true. Think about where you need help. During childhood, we were not afraid to ask for help from a parent, friend, or sibling to realize our dreams and plans.

Whatever we needed, our eager and enthusiastic childhood selves would reach out for support. We’d be resourceful with whatever we had to make our creative ideas a reality.

As adults we also need to ask for support and help, and at the same time to notice what is in our control and what we can do to take action today towards our dreams.

5. Who Can Support You?

If you’ve noticed you need a bit of help, then get your tribe together. Which friends can cheer you on, and which can connect you? Who in your family will indulge in your dreams with you? What about the pragmatic ones who might help you work out what you need to get there?

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Whether you need someone to check in on you and see how you’re progressing, or need a buddy to brainstorm with to help the ideas flow, bring a few of your friends into the plan to help you move forward. Successful people know that the habit of taking action is best built with help.

6. Ensure Your Dream Is Realistic

Maybe the dream you’ve outlined just feels impossible. It costs too much or will take too much time to achieve. Instead of telling yourself “no, but,” try the “yes, and” approach. This is much more representative of how a child’s mind works.

When we were little, we weren’t scared to fail, as failing was not a concept to us back then. Let’s harness some of that kid energy and see how “yes, and” can move us forward when our dream feels unrealistic.

Let’s look at an example: maybe your dream is to have a hit record, and you think you can’t sing, or you don’t believe you have any musical talent. Instead of closing that down, if we “yes, and” it, we can say: “I want to have a hit record. Yes, and there are so many ways to achieve that. Some people have a hit record by working for a music business, and others might design the cover art. Some people speak on records instead of singing… yes, and someone has to write the lyrics or have the idea for the song. Yes, and I know someone who organizes a choir every Christmas at their local bar, and everyone in the bar is on the record. That amateur choir even got on TV as it was so much fun and all the money went to charity.”

So, before you decide your idea is unrealistic, try “yes, and-ing” it to see how you can start taking action on your dreams, even if you think it sounds impossible!

7. Use Small Wins and Rewards

On your journey toward achieving your dream, there will be small wins and important milestones; it’s not just about going straight to the destination. Measuring your progress is important and can be a chance to celebrate.

Finding a way to measure it that is visible can really help. Whether it’s a chart or an app, whatever you choose, following and celebrating your progress is key, and celebrating that win is part of the joy. Being in the process and on the journey is just as important as reaching your target. Celebrate with the happiness of a small child: do a dance, take a photo, tell your friends.

8. Update the Map

You might find the plan you made isn’t working for some reason. Things have changed, and your goals and targets are not working out for you . Let’s look at how you can change things up and put new life and energy into the project.

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Take it apart and put it back together again, but start small. Define the new plan and the new goals, and start on the next phase of the journey, equipped with the knowledge and learning from what didn’t work last time you tried to put your thoughts into action.

9. Make Space

Achieving our dreams might mean losing something else, and that’s ok. It could be a literal swap, such as giving up wine to save money towards the goal. Or it could be something more ideological, like giving up saying yes to everything to make more time to focus on your pursuits. Think about what you can give up to make space for taking action on your dreams.

10. Use Your Superpower

What’s your superpower? Use this to take action on your dreams today! Perhaps you’re awesome at using your network to find solutions to problems. If that sounds like you, then consider picking up the phone and start asking for some ideas and connections.

If you prefer to research, get reading or watching TED talks and presentations to find practical ways to achieve your particular dream. Who else has overcome a similar problem? How did they do it? What can you borrow from what they learned, and what can you learn from how they won or lost along the way?

11. Keep Your Energy up

Remember to take a rest and recharge on the journey towards taking action on your dreams. Take breaks, eat and sleep well, exercise, and listen to and tune in to what your body and mind needs to thrive.

Final Thoughts

Achieving your dreams is unlikely to be an overnight task. It’s more likely to be a winding road with setbacks, lessons, obstacles, and new discoveries. It might take years, but every step, no matter how tiny, can be enjoyed, even the struggles. Maintaining a mindset around enjoying the journey will really equip you to thrive and see those ambitious dreams become a reality.

More to Get You to Take Action Towards Your Dreams

Featured photo credit: Tom Rogerson via unsplash.com

Reference

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