For most people setting goals is difficult. It is a viewed as a step-by-step tedious process, that can be frustrating, and daunting. Therefore we don’t want to do it, but wonder if our level of success would improve if we did. Sound familiar? Here is my outlook on the whole goal setting process, and a few tips on how to view it differently and make it work for you instead of against you.


    1. Focus. Some of us are guilty of having a lack of this, and some of us are guilty of having too much of this directed towards one thing. Either way, focus is important, when directed accordingly. I used to really have a tough time setting goals, my focus was all over the place and I had no idea what I really wanted out of life, both professionally and personally. To gain focus I began to ask myself some very important questions about what kind of future I wanted for myself, what I wanted to achieve in life and how I could make this happen. I know what you are thinking, this is easier said then done. And you are absolutely correct. But by asking these questions (several times, and thinking it over quite often), I was able to see what was important to me and what things I wanted to shape up in life.


    1. Taking positives from the negatives. No, I am not talking about math here. I am referring to when you are in a tough situation (personally or professionally), and how it can be a driving force for you to make a much needed change. A goal can give you a sense of direction. If you know what you don’t want to do in life, and can decide this without a doubt, it becomes clearer to you what you do want. This negativity you’re experiencing can be the motivation you need to move on, find direction, and seize the opportunities in front of you.


    1. The S.M.A.R.T goal system, it’s not for everyone. Flashback: Grade 9 Career and Personal Planning class. You are taught to write out your goals in the format of S.M.A.R.T (this stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, Timely).You are given a form with each letter of S.M.A.R.T on each line to fill out. You are bored and decide not to do it because this is not how you get things done. You are like me, because I did this. Back to reality. This doesn’t mean I didn’t have goals, but I couldn’t stand fitting my goals, dreams and aspirations into this tightly packaged format.The S.M.A.R.T format does have good points you should review when setting a goal, however don’t feel constrained by this, or discouraged if your goals does not contain each point initially. Write out it, but don’t worry about the format.


    1. The big two questions. The best way I’ve found to get myself motivated or to decide if a goal is really meaningful to me, is to ask the following big questions : What would I do if I could do anything in world (personally or professionally) ? -and- What am I willing to do (or sacrifice) to achieve this? These answers don’t always come easy, but the more you ask yourself, and the more honest you are with yourself the better results you will get. There was definitely many times I had no idea what I was going to do next, or which direction to take. I’ve wanted to quit pursuing my goals many times, and suffered various rounds of self-doubt. This is normal. Successful people all have these same feelings. The difference is they feel the fear and do it anyways. They continue to try because they are driven by these two big questions.


    1. How close you will get to your goal depends on you, and you alone. When you come to conclusion about what you’d like to achieve, you are in the driver seat. What you are willing to do, the risks and sacrifices you are willing to make will determine if you achieve your goal or not. This idea helps you measure your goal and determine whether it is something within in reach, but still challenging enough for you. The challenging part is important, nothing worth doing comes easy. If it’s too easy to achieve, it’s not a goal, it’s a task. If you are willing to do anything to achieve your goal (within reason and legal measures of course!), you mind will subconsciously help you create solutions to apply to the challenge of your goal.


    1. Taking action. Again you don’t need to write a formal “action plan” we hear about in all these goal-setting,self-helping, life-changing books, but a simple to-do list, or marking down one thing a day to do towards your goal can really add up quick. This will also give you a sense of achievement along the path towards your goal. And achievement feels good, and feeling good will motivate you to keep moving forward. Progress is good and every little bit counts.


    1. Reviewing and Evaluating. Toughest step thus far. People don’t like to be reviewed or evaluated on a regular or even semi-regular basis due to fear of falling short of expectations. This is no different when it comes to goals. It is important to do, and if you view it from another perspective, it can be less painful. Think of it this way: You set a goal. Three months later, you sit down to review it. You either: a) realize you are making great progress and getting closer everyday, or b) fall short and aren’t making much progress. Either way it is important to determine why and how you came to either outcome. Maybe the goal was too unrealistic, or maybe it didn’t mean as much to you after time went by. Or maybe you weren’t pursuing it because you were more fearful of failure than you were attracted to success. Never let your fear decide your fate. Many successful people failed several times, picked themselves back up and went on to great things. They learned from their mistakes and had the drive and determination to keep going.


It really boils down to what you want to see yourself achieve and what you are willing to do to get there. Some people happily drift through life, without direction. And others (if you are like me) take control and drive ourselves towards what we want and towards what we can be.