Do you talk to yourself? Do you ask yourself questions and do you answer yourself? Sure you do. Do you routinely ask yourself were do you see yourself in 3 years? What job will you have? What position will you hold in the company? Where will you live? What car will you drive, etc.?
Why is this important? It’s important because you need to dream. You need to set goals and you need to attain them. Goals drive behavior and behavior creates habits and habits create who you become. We tend to think forward and dwell on the past. What I want you to do is a combination of both. Get a piece of paper, and write down everything you can about where you see yourself in 3 years. Make sure the description is so go that you can actually picture in your mind everything you have written down. Go ahead and spend a few minutes doing that and then come back.
Ok, so your back. Now that you have the picture in your head and have captured it on paper we can break it down into actionable steps. We can break it down and work backward to set small goals easily attainable until we have hit our mark. You will need to refine your goals from time to time, but this will make it easier than just saying in 3 years, I see myself making $1,000,000. Let me give you an example of backwards planning that you probably do everyday, but you just have done it so many times that it’s on auto pilot.
What time do you get up in the morning? For you, it may be different than for me, but we both do the same math. I have to be at work by 7:30 and it takes me 30 minutes to drive to work so I need to leave the house by 7:00. In order to leave by 7:00, I have to get in the shower by 6:15, so that I can get ready. In order to get in the shower by 6:15, I need to get up by 6:00. You get the idea. We take the stated goal, getting to work by 7:30 and backwards plan until we figure out what time we need to wake up in the morning, complete our morning routine, and get to work on time. The procedure will be the same for setting your short term and long term goals. I recommend setting 30, 60, & 90 day goals in lieu of 6 month, 1 year, and longer goals. We tend to lose focus and lose the drive because the reward is so far down the road that after awhile, we may feel that it is unattainable.
So let me give an example of breaking down a 3 year goal with some action steps and finish with talking about SMART Goals. One of my goals for the next 3 years could be to run a marathon. So if I break that down, I know that I will need to be able to run 26.2 miles in one shot and today, lets say that I cannot run at all. So first thing I do is break the goal in half and say that in 18 months, I want to run 13.1 miles. Now I’m going to break that down again and say that in 9 months, I need to run 6 miles. Now that I have the goal down to 9 months, I can break it up into 90 day segments. If I broke it up equally, I would strive to run 2 miles in 3 months, 4 miles in 6 months, and 6 miles in 9 months; however, starting is always slower than you think. I usually back off my first 90 day goal by 15-25%, then add that back into the next 6 month’s worth of training.
Ok, I know that I can’t run at all right now because I recently had hip surgery and I haven’t been cleared by the doctor yet, so my plan might look something like this.
- Get cleared by the doctor to run (schedule appointment w/in 30 days).
- Once cleared, start walking at a brisk pace every other day for the next 7 days 10-20 minutes.
- Week 2: walk brisk paced daily for 5 days of 7 days 15-20 minutes.
- Week 3: slow jog as tolerated for 10-20 minutes 3 days per week.
- Week 4: continue jogging 3 days per week, but increase intensity one week, then time the following week.
- You will continue on this cycle until you can get up to running time up for 15-25 minutes and your distance to 1.5-2.0 miles.
You should evaluate your progress every 30 days to ensure your on tract to complete your 3 month goal.
This is just one example for you to use. The other tool you can use for setting goals it to set SMART Goals. Using the word smart as the acronym to define your goal.
Here is a good goal. I would like to lose 10 lbs. in 30 days. It is specific because you want to lose 10 lbs. It is measurable because you can step on a scale and see where you are now, subtract 10 lbs. and that’s your target. It is attainable because losing 10 lbs. in 30 days is 2.5 lbs. per week. It may not be realistic if you don’t have 10 lbs. to lose, but for a lot of people 10 lbs. would not be too much weight to lose. Finally, it is time bound by completing the goal in 30 days.
Here are some poor goals. I want to lose some weight. I want to make more money. I want people to like me. Can you see the difference? I hope this helps you create some good goals for the future and helps you break them down into actionable steps.