Friday, January 22, 2010

The Importance of Goal Setting

Everyone gets to a certain point in their lives where they feel that they are stuck in one place, and it feels as if the whole world is moving rapidly around them as they are held in a state of merciless inertia. Rest assured that it is not abnormal to feel this way, and that you are not alone in any way on this. I don't find this misguided attitude to be a derivative of depression, but rather a temporary disorganization in one's goals. Even though you may be following track in the traditional sense (i.e. finishing college, getting a job, finding that special one, having kids etc), there may be something else that you are missing that will fill the void of those in between places. I am talking about passions, and I'm not referring to a Fabio romance either. I am talking about the internal driving forces that tell us what we really want out of life, and it's important to fasten yourself to those passions otherwise you would have only succeeded in creating the frame of a 'happy' life while missing the picture altogether. This is generally the time when that pesky state of inertia comes back, and all the hopeless feelings as well.

While planning your traditional goals, also plan for your smaller goals, and start working towards making those goals happen. One of the classes that I had taken in college taught the importance of SMART goals; Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time Bound. Specific is referring to every detail of things that you would like to accomplish (i.e. getting an 'A' on your next homework assignment, doing well on your interview for the job that you are applying to, etc) These small, specific goals are essential when trying to get to the bigger picture. Measurable is discerning whether the specific goals that you are working towards are right for you at that point in your life. It's not realistic to plan for an expensive excursion to Europe in a month while you are working three jobs just to pay your rent and finish college. Is that goal maybe something that can be long term that you will have to work up towards? Yes, you can still make large goals but you need to evaluate if and when they are most measurable. Attainable is essentially the same thing. Are these goals something that can be attained shortly? Relevant is another important step in goal planning. Are those minor goals along the way going to help you to towards accomplishing your bigger goals? It makes no sense to waste 9 years at law school to try to become a dentist. Time also plays a key role in setting your goals because you need to factor in the time that it is going to take to work towards them. Going back to my last example, you can't just list 'becoming a dentist' after 'finishing high school' on your to-do list; it doesn't work like that. You need to figure out how long it is going to take you to accomplish the minor goals leading up to your long term goals. This can be somewhat irritating to plan because there will always be those minor setbacks along the way that throws a monkey wrench right in the center of all your plans. That's when you sit down and evaluate your SMART goals again, and get yourself back on track.

Don't think of goal setting as a type of chore either, have fun with it. Making plans to accomplish all your dreams and passions can be an exciting event, because it allows you to explore all the wonders that you could experience. There are no words to describe how wonderful it feels when you accomplish one of those goals on your list and to be able to say "I did it!". It helps motivate you to the next goal and then the next goal and so on; then VOILA your dreams come true. And do you know what you do next? Dream some more then sit down and make more SMART goals. You will find that your life is so much more fulfilling if you constantly feel that you are working towards something. Another positive side to this is that you will be so preoccupied with your plans that your state of inertia will be a thing of the past.

It is important to have goals prior to seeking out a partner also. This way you can meet someone who [maybe] has the same desires in life that you do, and you can have someone to plan with. This is a key element when in a relationship, but we will leave that to another blog. :)

I have included a link to the source of my SMART information. This was one of the tools that we used in my class, and it was helpful for us to finally get started with creating this business. We hope that this acronym will be helpful for others as well. Now, go set some goals, and have a positive day! :D