Why are some people more successful than others? The reason – and this may surprise you – is not because they are more talented or smarter or better looking or more popular or more anything. The reason is because they know the importance of setting goals and making a plan to reach them.
I’ll let you in on a secret: You can accomplish anything you put your mind to, but you have to have a plan for getting there first. Life has a way of tossing curveballs, but you can get past them if you have a plan. Creating a plan isn’t as hard as you might think. In fact, it takes just five easy steps to achieve your goals:
1. Identifying and Setting Goals
The first step toward setting goals is to identify what it is you want to do. What’s your aspiration? To ace your next math test? Earn a spot on the soccer team? Get into the Ivy League? Whatever it is, write it down in detail.
2. Break it Down
Guess what? Every goal contains smaller goals. One of the keys to setting goals is to break them down into small, achievable steps that you can complete to reach your bigger goal. For example, if you want to get an A on your calc exam, write down everything it will take for you to get there. Plan to study for 30 minutes every night, make flashcards, do practice worksheets – whatever it takes.
3. Find Support
Team up with a friend or mentor for support. Check in with them each day or week to hold yourself accountable and get advice.
Take a look at your progress regularly, and break down the steps even more if you aren’t meeting your mini-goals. Stay focused on your overall aim and reassess what you need to do to get there.
5. Reward Yourself
Give yourself a pat on the back each time you meet a mini-goal. You can also throw in a trip to the ice cream store, a new DVD or an afternoon of lounging. Acknowledging your progress and rewarding yourself will help you stay motivated to reach your end goal.
Remember that roadblocks don’t equal failure. Slip-ups are a normal part of the process, and it may take you a few attempts to reach your goal. Instead of beating yourself up about it, get back on track, keep looking forward and continue setting goals!