“There is a direct relationship between the level of clarity you have about who you are and what you want and virtually everything you accomplish in life.”
Research has shown that goal clarity is the single greatest predictor of future success. Define what your goals are and what success means to you. If your goal is to be a great homemaker and success means that you create a safe and peaceful environment for your family to relax and reenergize, great! Just be very clear how you will measure your success and be happy. Not all successes can be measured in monetary terms. But if financial success is part of the plan, it needs clear definition too.
Most of us do not define our goals. We live more by accident than by design. Life brings us certain options; we make our choices and move on. Years pass and we do not stop to see if the direction life is headed is the one we want. We must zoom out and see the larger picture and make necessary changes to achieve our goals.
I left my job early in my career to have kids and stayed home to take care of them. It was a conscious decision that I do not regret. But I yearned for more. I knew I wanted to do something wonderful. Something that would wake me up in the morning, fill me up with energy and excitement to face a brand new day. I knew I wanted to be very successful in whatever I chose to do, and not settle for mediocrity. I did not want to make easy choices. I wanted something I truly would enjoy doing day after day. But finding out what I would be passionate about was not easy. It took me many years to get where I am right now. I now know who I want to be, what I want to do and where I want to go.
Ok, so how does one do this?
Try New Things
My greatest problem with finding out what I liked was; I had not done many things. How would I even know that I liked something if I hadn’t even tried it!
“According to the Law of Probability, the more things you try, the more likely it is that you will try the one thing that will make all the difference.” Brian Tracy again! I love that guy!
Just sit down and make a list of all the things you might try doing. Don’t reject any idea. Write them all down. Choose some and just start doing them. Some may cost money and may need planning. Many may not cost a thing. Just do it. Dating before commitment is a good idea.
Get to know yourself
To get to know anyone, we ask questions. What is your name? What do you do for a living? What do you like to read?
Do the same with yourself. Ask questions. Write down the answers.
What are the major areas of my life?
What excites me?
What touches me so deeply that I want to cry?
What gives me a deep sense of satisfaction and peace?
What kind of people do I want to surround myself with?
What activities would I like to do on a recurring basis?
What proportion of my time would I like to spend on each such activity?
Keep asking questions and answering them. Once you have asked as many questions as you can and answered all of them, you will have a better understanding of who you are. This is the first step.
Set precise long term goals
Now that you have determined broad areas of life, think about what your goals are in each one of those areas. Imagine yourself as very old. Look back on your life. What would make you the proudest, the happiest?
In each area of life, those are your long term goals. Be very specific. Don’t leave anything out.
The ability to think far into the future is a great contributor to predictable success.
From your long term goals work back to determine goals for decades, years, months, weeks and days. See, let’s be realistic, dreams change. People change. But it is still good to know what life means to you. You can always change course midway. New ideas come up. Plans change. But that is no excuse to not plan at all.
Quantify and Measure
Determine parameters which help you establish whether you have achieved your goals or not. Some are easy to measure. Relationship and spiritual goals are not easily quantifiable. So, you have to use only externally visible signs of progress. For example, ‘spending Saturday evenings playing in the park with my daughter’. ‘Meditating for 20 minutes everyday’. It is easy to know if you achieved that or not.
Revisit your current period goals on at least a monthly basis. You may need to tweak your actions or sometimes the goals may need tweaking. 🙂
Don’t forget, you have to write everything down. Please don’t do the planning in your head. Clear, Written Goals is the key.
A word of caution. Your goals and successes are your own. They should stem from deep within you. Setting goals and defining success to impress another will rarely ignite the kind of passion that is needed to propel you towards your dreams.
As Zig Ziglar says, Let us move from being a wandering generality to becoming a meaningful specific!