Goals. We all have them, but what does it take to actually accomplish and succeed in those goals?
Even though this post is categorized under “Career,” this topic of goal setting and achieving can be applicable to any part of your life. We can have career goals, but also personal development goals and travel goals. Goals are a way for us to put our finger on something and recognize that we want or need something. It always starts as a positive notion and we get excited about the possibility of getting to that end goal.
The thing is though, most people don’t think about the in-between of the initial goal setting and achieving that said goal. We sometimes aren’t honest about what’s going to go into actually reaching that goal and I think that’s where a lot of us then get discouraged. Once we actually start trying and making strides towards our goal, we realize it’s not as easy as we thought and many will give up. We make excuses, we doubt ourselves, and maybe we’re just afraid to fail. This ultimately ends up holding ourselves back from not only achieving that goal, but growing through that process.
Let’s just say, I’ve been there. I can truly be my own worst enemy as it pertains to my career and personal development goals. I’ve doubted myself and let my negative thoughts take over. But you know what? I would not be where I am today if I let those thoughts consume me and I gave up every time I tried something new or set a new goal for myself. I now see everything as a challenge for myself because I always want to be learning, growing, and progressing and setting actionable and realistic goals is the way to do that.
Starting my blog is one of the first things that comes to mind as one of my biggest goals and successes to date. Before 2018 began, I had no idea launching a blog was even a goal of mine. Once I did make it a goal in mid-January, I knew I had to be doing it for the right reasons and be honest with myself that it was going to take a lot of time and commitment. I had no idea where to even start, but by doing these five things below, I knew I would be set up for success.
I’m sharing these steps with you as a means to shift your thinking and your perspective so you can first be honest with yourself, but also be motivated to actually reach the goals you have set for yourself in life. You can make positive changes and you can reach your goals.
Have An Actionable Goal & Be Patient
First and foremost, what is the goal you aim to accomplish? You may have many goals, but it’s good to separate them into their own separate buckets so you can really stay focused. Think about a very high level goal you have for yourself, like launching a blog, for example. Physically write it down on paper. From there, jot down all the smaller goals you may need to do to launch a blog. One of the first mini goals to launching a blog is deciding on your brand – what will your colors be, what will your logo look like, what will the name of your blog mean to your readers? Another mini goal would be choosing and purchasing a website domain and design theme.
My advice is to look at these mini-goals as steps to getting you to your main goal and accomplishment. This way, you are acknowledging and appreciating everything that goes into achieving your end goal. I think seeing everything visually on paper helps too, so you can cross off each mini-goal and see them as mini-accomplishments. It will not only help keep you motivated, but also, you won’t get so caught up in the fact if you’re behind in reaching your goal.
Make sure you stay patient with yourself and don’t allow yourself to get discouraged if you aren’t seeing results right away. It’s easy to get caught up in our own thoughts and progress may not go as quickly as we’d like. However, it’s critical to remember that goal setting and achieving takes time and takes hard work, so be realistic with yourself and know that you will get there when the time is right.
Do Your Research & Ask Questions
Once you’ve defined your main goal and its mini-goals to help you get there, it’s time to do some research. Google became my best friend as I was starting my blog because I had literally no idea what I was doing. I was excited to learn everything that goes into it and began furiously Googling, reading, documenting and implementing what I learned. There is so much on the web and it’s incredible how quickly you can find tutorials and advice from strangers. When I did get stuck, namely with my site’s theme, I asked questions. You cannot be stubborn when it comes to reaching your goals. You have to be vulnerable in knowing you are doing something likely entirely new and you’re not going to have all the answers. Ask questions to those who have been in your situation or reach out for help when you need it. Generally, people are going to be willing to help you and I promise you that it will go a long way for you to achieving success.
Stop the Compare Game
Just stop. Stop comparing. It’s rare that anyone is going to be on the exact same life path as you. Even if you are trying to achieve the same goal as someone else at the same time, they will be achieving it in different ways and even running into completely different hurdles than you.
You also cannot get caught up with those who have already reached the goal you are working towards. When we look at others’ lives and see success or something we don’t have, it can potentially have detrimental effects. We compare and then get down on ourselves that we’ll never have what that person has. We tend to see the end result of where that person is in life and that’s just not fair. You have to think about everything they too had to do to get where they are. They worked hard and put in the time and effort and likely ran into issues and hardships along the way. Have perspective – you are just at a different place in your life and that’s okay.
Focus only on you and your path. I know that’s easier said than done, but I’ve learned this really is the biggest step for success.
Be Prepared to Put in the Work
This is the mother-load. If you’re not ready to put in the work, you’re likely going to end up disappointed and discouraged throughout the entire process. Nothing comes easy and you have to realize that. When it came to launching my blog, I was writing, editing, photo editing, creating my website, and building up my social channels all at once. To do that, I was working late nights after my full-time job, putting in hours equivalent of a second full-time job. I did this because I wanted to prove to myself that I could meet my launch date goal. Even now that my blog has launched and is in its infancy stage, I constantly feel like I have to be proving myself to stay relevant and write relatable content. This often means again, very late nights and weekends full of writing and everything else that goes into publishing blog posts.
If you’re 100% serious about reaching your goal, you will put in the time and effort, especially if you want to do it right. After you’ve done your research, you’ll have a better understanding of what exactly you need to do to succeed in your goal. Use that as an opportunity to set deadlines along the way and keep yourself on track. Just like goal setting, by breaking up the process into smaller deadlines, you’ll be more prepared to continue working and doing everything you need to do to accomplish your main goal.
Put Yourself Out There
I’ve wrote about the importance of networking when it comes to landing jobs. Networking can be advantageous even when it comes to achieving your goals. I recommend being willing to put yourself out there and start the process by asking the right questions. As you progress, continue asking questions and connecting with other like-minded individuals. For me personally, starting my blog has already opened so many doors and I’ve been able to meet new people both in-person and virtually. I’ve been thrilled to meet other women who share the same interests and goals as we’ve been able to support each other in this crazy blogging world.
My point here is to take advantage of meeting new people and going to events. Talk about your goal and what you’re doing to accomplish it. You never know who may be in a similar situation or who has been there already, as they can offer words of advice and encouragement. They may just open a door for you you didn’t even know existed.
There you have it – the 5 steps to achieving your goals! Do you think these will help in motivating you in the process of reaching that one goal you have in mind? Where do you think you could use more help? Leave your thoughts in the comments!
Kelly Nash is a Chicago-based writer, career coach, speaker and founder of Lipstick & Ink®. She also works full-time in technology as a Success Manager at Salesforce and has over 10 years of digital marketing experience. Kelly has been featured in Thrive Global, Chicago Tribune, International Association of Women, General Assembly, Salesforce, and SheFactor. She’s fueled by black coffee, sunshine, a good ink pen, and a bold lip.