As a teenager in 2005, I wrote an article for my local newspaper about the importance of setting and achieving goals. In the article I interviewed my grandpa, a former guidance counselor and novelist, about the importance of goals. During his life, my grandpa was always a prime example to me of active goal setting and achieving. Despite receiving many rejection letters throughout his life for his work, he continued to press forward and set new goals. This eventually led to the publication of several of novels as well as compilations of his poetry. In my interview with my grandpa he said, “To reach a goal you have to first have it in your mind; a dream to reach. Then you have to work towards the dream and realistically know what it will take to reach it. That is why you must take it in small steps. Don’t get discouraged. You may even wish to revise or change your goals as you mature and gain experience…Don’t set just one goal. Have an alternate or two in case you change your mind…[also] listen to…advice, but remember that you don’t always have to accept what others say you should or shouldn’t pursue as a goal.”
Based on his advice, I have broken creative goal setting into five steps:
1 – Identify your goal
2 – Set realistic, detailed steps
3 – Seek advice
4 – Document your progress
5 – Revise as needed
Let’s delve into each of these steps:
1 – Identify Your Goal
Be specific as you identify your goal. Write a very detailed paragraph about the goal you are trying to reach.
2 – Set Realistic, Detailed Steps
Create your plan. Write out the steps required for achieving your specific destination and make sure that your goals are realistic as well as attainable. This isn’t to say that you should reach for things you may never have thought possible, but sometimes it’s best to start small and work up. Once you achieve smaller goals, try working towards the more difficult ones.
3 – Seek Advice
Who do you look up to and why? Write down a list of 3-5 people you trust and respect and specify why. Do they motivate you? Do they provide excellent direction? Are they attentive? Detail the reasons you would seek advice from these individuals. When you’ve identified these reasons, get in contact with each person on your list. Explain to them the goal you’re reaching towards and why you’re seeking their advice. Be open to what they have to say and take note.
Remember, however, that you don’t have to agree entirely with the advice you’re given, but listen to each person and thank them for their time and counsel. This will be an enriching step regardless of whether or not their advice is applied. You now have someone who knows your goal and will be willing to help you along the way.
4 – Document Your Progress
Writing things down is key. This allows you to see your progress in the journey for achieving your goals. You can use your personal journal and document daily or weekly as you progress through your steps, or you can create a new journal devoted entirely to your goals.
5 – Revise As Needed
If a step in your plan isn’t working, change it. You don’t have to be tied down to any part of your goal if things aren’t working as you hoped or planned.