Everyone has some things they’d like to do or accomplish. Fewer have specific goals for and throughout their life. And even fewer can truly be called goal getters.
Yet while this latter club is pretty exclusive, there’s no reason you can’t be a part of it.
A goal-getter, simply put, is someone who continuously sets and consistently accomplishes their specific goals. They do this despite the roadblocks they hurdle over and the opposition, both people and otherwise, that push back against them. By no means do they succeed every single time. But when they fail, they don’t give up. Rather, they readjust and continue trying again and again until they’ve conquered their goal.
Sound like something right up your alley? Here are some tips to help you become or fine-tune the art of goal-getting.
You can’t set, much less accomplish, a goal if you don’t know the destination you’re trying to get to. It’s like using a GPS. Before you get the possible routes, let alone choose the one you want to take, you must enter where you’re leaving from and where you’re trying to go. You must do the same thing with your life. Take the time to truly evaluate where you currently are in both life at large and with specific aspects of life and then come to a decision about where you want to be.
To accomplish a goal, you need to first set it. But setting a goal as broad as “I want to make a million dollars” or “I want to start a business” isn’t going to cut it. You need to set SMART goals. The SMART acronym stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Time-Sensitive.
SMART goals give a greater sense of direction than broader goals. For example, the goals mentioned above don’t give you any sense of what next step to take. What do you do to start making that million dollars? When are you going to start this business? What even is the business?
On the other hand, a SMART goal like “I want to make a million dollars through my investment portfolio by the time I retire in 28 years” helps you determine what to do next — as does a goal like “I want to start an online t-shirt business as a sole proprietor in my home state within the next six months.”
Now that you have a specific destination in mind, it’s time to pick which route you want to get there. Just like when driving to a location, there are a plethora of routes you can take to achieve your goals. But not all routes are created equal. A few routes are longer, while others are shorter. Some are more straightforward, while others are well out of the box. Many routes may cost substantially more money than others, and some of the routes that cost less may require more scrappiness and hustle on your part. Everyone has to choose the best route for them. You can always adjust as you go, but it’s best to have some sort of plan before diving in.
After deciding upon the route you want to take to achieve your SMART goals, it’s wise to set more, smaller SMART goals to help you traverse along this path. Continuing on the “make a million dollars” example from earlier, additional goals may be to “spend an hour each week analyzing potential stocks to invest in” and “invest $300 per week for the next $50 weeks.” Likewise, for the “start a business” example, a smaller SMART goal along the route to achieving the larger one may be to “within the next two weeks, figure out all the legal requirements for setting up a sole-proprietorship in my home state.”
To achieve your goals, you're going to have to dedicate a tremendous amount of time in addition to what you’re already doing. In order to ensure that nothing falls under the bus, you’ll need to improve your time-management skills to get things done as efficiently as possible. Utilize a calendar, make to-do lists — do whatever you need to do to get organized. Bill Gates and Sheryl Sandberg have the same 24 hours a day as the creepy neighborhood cat lady who’s always on Facebook. The difference between them is in how they use their time.
It’s easy to get bogged down or just plain overwhelmed from time to time and procrastinate as a result. But if you want to be a goal-getter, you can’t let this stop you. Take the time to understand why you’re procrastinating and learn how to fix it. Then push through. As I say, “Procrastination is the thief of time. What you do with your time determines your future. Don’t let procrastination steal yours.”
Last but not least, it’s important to remember to take your time. By no means is this a pro-procrastination tip. Rather, it’s an anti-rushing recommendation. Just as Rome wasn’t built in a day, you won’t accomplish your large SMART goal in a day. Be patient, make sure you make time for self-care and enjoy the journey as much as you can, understanding that it’s a process.
Being a goal-getter is anything but easy. That’s why the club is so exclusive. Yet the only thing that can get in the way of your joining the club is you. Don’t let that happen. Take a deep breath, follow the above tips and stay the course, persevering when it gets hard. For just as you’re the only one who can stop you from becoming a goal-getter, you’re the only one who can do the work that gains you admittance into the illustrious club.
J.P. Pressley is a writer, entrepreneur, and an asthmatic former two-sport college athlete (basketball and track). Is he a jockey-nerd or a nerdy-jock? The world may never know. You can learn more about him at his personal website.