Success Starts Early - Setting Goals
When I began writing this blog, do you think I knew all the things that would be included over the years? No way! But do you think I had any plans? Absolutely. That's because whenever you start a journey it's always a good idea to know where you want to wind up. The things you want to do are what we call your goals.
My interest in maps began when I was young, as my family used to take a lot of road trips. A good road map will include your starting point and a destination, as well as different options on how to go from one to the other. When you start thinking about what you want to do, you'll need to be honest with where you really are, and then have a good idea of where you're going (or what you're doing). Most success experts agree that there's no point starting without a destination. It's like playing basketball with no goals - after all the dribbling and passing, how do you know who wins?
So we need a destination. But how do we decide what it should be? It has to start with figuring out what "success" means to you, and that's why this topic comes first. For instance, is life all about being rich? Well no, not if you don't also have health or friends. It may take time to define your ultimate target, but since you'll spend your entire life on this journey it's worth every second of thought to get out right. And it's ok if you make changes along the way, because the longer you travel towards your goal the more you realize that success is more about the journey than the arrival anyway!
Here's my suggestion on how to make good goals: remember the acronym W.E.S.T. The best goals follow these guidelines, one for each letter in the word:
Written - A dull pencil beats a sharp memory every time! Writing things down moves them from imagination into the real world.
Exceptional - It doesn't cost anything to dream big or aim for the very best.
Specific - Add as much detail as you can so you know when you actually hit the target. "Get good at solving a Rubik's Cube" wouldn't be as well-defined as "Solve a Rubik's Cube in less than 3 minutes".
Timed - A goal without a date is just a wish. Write down when you want to accomplish your goal, and you're really on your way!
Write down 16 things that you want to do, to have, or to become. Take the first two and figure out which one you want more, and put a line through the "loser". Then take the next two and do the same thing until you're done and have eight left. Then go back to the top and compare your first two winners, crossing out the new "loser", as if it were a tournament bracket. Keep going until you only have one left - then make it specific and put a date beside it, and you've got yourself a real goal!
An author named Stephen Covey wrote about how "Begin With The End In Mind" - look it up sometime!