“It’s January 01 2014 and I’m working in a dental office as a registered dental assistant. I’m proud to be a fully qualified registered nurse working in pediatrics before the age of 40. It’s my 30th birthday (October 12 2014) and I’m enjoying my work in the criminal justice system at a state corrections facility. It’s my son’s 8th birthday and we are happy, in our own home, and I have a steady professional job.”
No matter what your educational program or career choice, you have to have clearly defined goals. Goals can be long-term, like those highlighted above, or they can be short-term like those things you want to achieve by the end of the week, or even the day. Did you set yourself a goal this morning?
To succeed you have to set yourself goals, otherwise how do you measure success? Goals focus the mind, they give you direction, they enable you to be accountable to yourself. The difference between a dream and a goal is a dream is just something you’d like to have happen but something that, in all likelihood, probably never will – unless you win the lottery!
By sitting down and properly writing down your goals, you will make them more achievable. Of course they have to be reachable in the first place. Setting a goal to be a millionaire in the next 3 years is not a SMART goal, unless you have a plan to get you there. A SMART goal is Specific, Measureable, Attainable, Relevant, & Timely.
Don’t write your goals on a scrap of paper; type them, print them out, and keep them somewhere visible. Pin them to your desk at home, stick them on the refrigerator, or to the inside of your notebook. Make them your computer screensaver, or set them as your desktop.
Look at the goal examples above – note how they are written.
- In the present tense, even though you’re writing about a future event, because that helps you visualize yourself in that place; writing in the future makes them seem much further away.
- In the ‘first person’, using ‘I am’; that helps you take ownership of them. These goals are personal to you, so own them, believe in them, and set goals that motivate you.
- There is no ‘wanting’ – ‘I want’ isn’t part of a goal – wanting is dreaming, not goal setting.
- Include a time reference to make it measurable – a date, a birthday, an anniversary, or a milestone.
To set your goals, carefully consider what you want to achieve, write them down and realize that it will take hard work and commitment to get there. This is your map; you wouldn’t set out on a cross country road trip without a map would you? Planning your route, setting milestones, and determining when you want to arrive are part of every journey. So treat your goals the same way.
Once you’ve set them, identify, analyze and determine what it is you need to achieve them. Remember, just like a map, if you feel yourself getting lost along the way, refer back to your goals, and they will help you get back on track.
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