Goal planning is not just for the New Year. Without a destination in mind, we can’t make a map to get there and end up meandering aimlessly. For this reason, I’m an advocate of goal planning and visioning.
I’ve developed my practice bit-by-bit over the last decade, constantly reading about and trying new techniques to develop the best goal and vision plan. In my early twenties, I realized I had a variety of dreams, but felt like I was struggling to achieve them. Using these techniques has taken me from that place, to one where I feel like I’m truly successful; which I define as freedom of how I spend my time.
Here are some simple tips to help you get your goals, dreams, and visions on paper, and turn them into a reality:
Brainstorm Without Commitment
Over the course of a week or two, I began the goal-planning process, by jotting down notes whenever a goal came to mind. This could be anything from “learn to speak Spanish,” to “expand into four new markets this year,” both of which have been some of my brainstorm ideas. I don’t judge or commit, but, instead, write down anything that comes to mind during that time-frame.
Edit Your Notes
After my notes are compiled, I go back and reflect on what I wrote. I spend time on each note and determine whether I really want to accomplish that idea or task, considering what will really be required of me to do so. I do this until the list is edited to include only the goals I truly desire to tackle. Part of this process is determining what really suits me, doing a gut-check, and making sure that no goal is motivated by outside influence.
Look at the Bigger Picture and Find Mantras
Once the list is narrowed down, I step away from it and brainstorm single words that describe the way I want to characterize my life that year. I make a long list of descriptive words, and then I go through the same editing process as with my brainstorm notes. I ultimately select four to six words, and use them almost like mantras to help shape the way the year will feel. Some past mantras have included peace, joy, love, freedom, adventure, and growth.
Organize and Integrate Lists
I then use these mantras to help me break my goals into sections. If this feels disjointed, try to do it by category: business/work, travel, relationship (friends, family, and so forth), finances, health, and so on. By organizing the goals and using the mantras as macro-level narratives, it helps me to see how some of them can integrate and work together.
Darrah Brustein is a writer, master networker, and serial entrepreneur with businesses in merchant services, networking, and financial education for kids.
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