For many, achieving a dream or goal can be elusive. Don’t let this be the case with you. Pin down your dreams by developing a clear plan.

Goals don’t have to be grand. Your goal might be to sort out your wardrobe, begin a new exercise program or learn a new skill.

First be clear about what you want to accomplish. Why is this important now?

What will the benefits be if you do it? Who will benefit from this project? How will you and they know you’ve been successful?

You’re much more likely to reach your goal if it’s SMART:

Specific — What will you do exactly? In what order will you do it?

Measurable — How will you measure your success? How will you know you have achieved your goal?

Achievable — How will you achieve the goal? Who will work with you? What resources do you need to meet your goal?

Realistic — What tells you this goal is do-able? What could go wrong? How will you cope if that happens?

Time-limited — When do you want to have achieved the goal by?

When you’re clear about what you want to achieve, decide on your course of action. Plan the sequence in which things will be done: if you’re working with others, decide who will do what; work out how long each step will take; work out what resources you need (new running shoes? art supplies? packing boxes?); and calculate how much will it cost. Include tactics and logistics in your planning. Think about risks to meeting your goals (what could stand in your way?) and how you might manage these risks.

Next, put the plan into action. As you work towards your goal, you’ll need to keep an eye on your progress. Along the way, you might hit hurdles or roadblocks you didn’t anticipate. Your challenge then is to work out what you can do to get the plan back on track. Change your plan if you need to — it’s not set in concrete. If you’re working with a group, keep talking to each other and offer support and encouragement.

When you’ve achieved your goal, celebrate! Take some time to enjoy your accomplishment. And by reflecting on your achievements, you can learn from any mistakes and know what works best for next time. What did you learn that was unexpected?

Goal setting is easy, just take it step by step; plan and execute.

Train Your Mind...

  • Think about a project that went well from start to finish. What did you and others do to make it a success?
  • How did you respond to the challenges that came along?
  • What do you think is worth taking forward to guide you in future projects?

Fiona RobardsFiona Robards is an experienced psychologist with four masters degrees who teaches at the University of Sydney and UNSW Medical Schools and regularly presents at international conferences. She is the author of What Makes You Happy?, - a guide to mastering the simple things which make you happy healthy and free - which she spent five years researching.



photo credit: 96/365 Nuez via photopin (license)