When you know what you want in life and you strive to reach it, you can accomplish almost anything.  It’s easy to dream big and create goals, but how do you go about accomplishing those goals?  Below are a few steps to follow to keep you on your path:

  1. Write down all of your goals – seeing them written down on paper helps to solidify them in your mind.
  2. Prioritize – Now that you have written them all down. Decide which goals are most important and what you want to accomplish first.  Trying to focus on all your goals at once often leads to being overwhelmed, stressed, and disorganized, making it much harder to accomplish any of your goals.  Focusing on your top 1,2, or possibly 3 goals creates a better chance of success and enables you to then focus on your next set of goals.
  3. Clearly define your top goals and create a timeline – This allows you to focus in on exactly what you want to accomplish and how long you expect it to take. Be sure to consider outside pressures and set realistic, attainable expectations.  Having appropriate expectations creates manageable action items, reduces stress, and increases your chances of success.
  4. Break down large goals into smaller goals – Very large goals can create stress and lead to you to feel overwhelmed making it hard to focus on what needs to be done to accomplish them. Breaking large goals into multiple smaller goals enables you to create manageable action items, which will enable you to stay positive, and hopefully stress free.  Accomplishing multiple goals also creates consistent success which in turn encourages you to keep going on your path.
  5. Create a plan and track your Progress – Creating action items helps you to plan ahead to ensure you have the materials and time you need. Tracking your progress keeps your mindset positive and encourages you to continue on your path. This can be done several ways depending on the goal.  Sometimes the progress is evident just by looking.  For example, repainting a room, you can see the difference when you cut in, apply the 1st coat of paint, and the second.  Other goals can be measured and tracked numerically such as increasing your savings account to a specific amount.  You can track your progress by watching the balance increase.  Other goals are harder to see such until completed such as obtaining a degree.  One way to track your progress would be to create a master checklist of all the classes you need to take and mark them off as you complete them.  Whatever method you choose make sure it is one that will help you stay motived.
  6. Tell a friend – Having someone to hold you accountable when you slack off on your goal and encourage you when you are struggling makes it easier, and hopefully more fun to stay on task and keep you motivated.

No matter how much you plan you will always run into obstacles.  Sometimes the obstacle is yourself and you lose focus, get discouraged, and cease to make progress.  Other times the obstacle is an unexpected event out of your control, such as a car crash, illness, unplanned child, loss of job, a promotion at work with additional expectations or even a required relocation.  Regardless of what causes you to derail your progress it is important to find a way to get back on track.  Here are a few suggestions to get you back on the path to your success:

  1. Acknowledge mistakes – Everyone makes mistakes from time to time. It is important to recognize what you have done wrong so you can hopefully avoid it again in the future.
  2. Forgive yourself – Don’t harp on the mistakes you have made. Focus on moving forward and remaining positive.  A “you can do it” attitude goes a long way when trying to accomplish a goal.
  3. Identify roadblocks – Knowing what your difficulties are enables you to manage the impact they make or even makes it possible for you to avoid it in the future.
  4. New action plan – Sometimes you get so far off course that some of the steps or timeline expectations need to be changed. Other times the obstacles that occur force you to reevaluate your priorities and change your goals.  Do not resist altering your goals if they are no longer what you want.  Life is everchanging so it is important that your goals change to fit your wants and needs.