Do you ever feel like Alice, in Lewis Carroll’s classic story, Alice in Wonderland? Lost in a forest, Alice came to a fork in the road where she spied the Cheshire cat, sitting in a tree.
“Cheshire-cat,” she said, “Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?”
“That depends a good deal on where you want to get to,” said the cat.
“I don’t much care where–,” said Alice.
“Then it doesn’t matter which way you go,” said the cat.
“–so long as I get somewhere,” Alice added as an explanation.
“Oh, you’re sure to do that,” said the cat, “if you only walk long enough.”
Sometimes we’re like Alice, we stumble through life — wishing, hoping, wanting to get somewhere, but not really getting anywhere. Is there any way to break this pattern and start down a new path to a more desirable destination? Yes, and the answer is goals.
“Oh, never mind,” you might say, “I’ve tried goals for years and it never made a difference for me.” Perhaps you have never actually harnessed the full power of goals. True goals, the ones that change your life, have six essential components. Leave one out, and the framework falls apart with it. But, follow through on all six, and you can’t fail. Here they are:
1. The goal must be yours. It doesn’t matter if it is the fondest wish of your mother, your spouse, or your boss. If you don’t desire it enough to commit to it, throw it out! Flesh out your own highest priorities and turn them into your own goals.
2. The goal must be written down. A goal not written is only a wish. Attempting to achieve an unwritten goal is like aiming an arrow at a target that you can only imagine — pretty difficult, if you think about it. Include as many details as you can in your written goal — make it real.
3. You must be able to visualize reaching the goal — to actually see yourself, in your mind’s eye, successfully accomplishing all of the steps necessary, and then see yourself achieving the ultimate victory of reaching the goal. The best way I’ve found to do this is to create a simple Vision Board with images that represent your goals.
4. Break down your goal into a plan. Write out every step necessary for you to reach the goal and how you are going to accomplish each step. Reaching a goal, is like climbing the steps on a latter. You can’t just jump to the top of the ladder. In order to reach the top, you must take each step, one at a time. Your plan should include a beginning date and a completion (victory) date. The more detailed your plan, the better your chances of success.
5. Review your goals daily. Each day, visualize taking all of the steps in your plan and the joy of reaching your goal. The best way I’ve found to do this is to create a simple Vision Board with images that represent your goals. Look at your vision board every day and ask, “what can I do today to make this goal happen.” No goal is ever achieved until it finds its way into your daily thoughts and actions. Think daily about your goal and believe that you will reach it. Then, take action!
6. Don’t be afraid to make necessary adjustments. Imagine taking a road-trip across the country. If you hit a road block or detour along the way, would you become discouraged and turn around and go back? Of course not, you would discover an alternate route and continue on your way. Goals are no different. Periodic adjustments to your plan will make it dynamic and achievable.
Success Tip: Remember, if you don’t know where you’re going, you will undoubtedly end up somewhere else. Goals can help you do better, achieve more, and become your best self. Start now to make your dreams happen!