If you accepted my challenge in last week’s blog post (or from the Facebook video), then you are in possession of your own personal mission statement, detailing the what and why of your current goal. You’ve identified what your goal is, why you want to achieve it, and what you hope to gain by achieving it. And now you’re ready to move on to the next step in The Rainbow of Goal Realization: organization.
Although some goals can be one-time objectives that we often check off in one fell swoop, most that are centered on personal or professional growth are complex, long-term aims that are easier to achieve when broken down into multiple, smaller chunks. Doing this helps sharpens our focus and lessens the chance of overwhelm, thereby increasing the likelihood of success. This is why organization is so important.
So, using my goal of traditionally publishing my novel as an example, here are a few tips to get yourself organized and goal-oriented:
- Divide your larger vision into several, more digestible pieces. Being as detailed as you can, take some time to jot down and order all the necessary, smaller components that, together, will lead you to your larger goal. Since I’ve already completed my novel manuscript and compiled a list of literary agents I want to query, my next few steps include: writing a query letter, creating a synopsis, and sending my submission package to those literary agents.
- Take an honest look at your schedule. Decide how much time you really have to devote to this goal each day, week, or month. If you’re already swamped, that may mean working in shorter bursts and just being okay with taking a little longer than someone else might. I’m often overly optimistic about how quickly I can complete something, but I am learning to both accept and plan for my slower pace. Fortunately, when it comes to our goals, we get to set the timeline. The important thing is to focus on our own abilities and run our own race.
- Set a target completion date for each smaller goal. Now that you know how much dedicated attention your schedule can tolerate, you can make estimates for how much time to allow for each step and then set a completion date to aim for. As an added reminder and incentive, go ahead and pencil in these target dates on your calendar or even note them on the mission statement that you created last week.
- Make adjustments as necessary. Life happens and although we can’t be fully prepared for the unexpected, we can roll with it without letting it completely derail us. There also may be some necessary adjustments if your goal involves doing things you’ve never done before and therefore you’re not exactly sure how long they will take. I’ve never researched literary agents before, so the two weeks I slated for completing that task turned out to be a vast underestimation. I also had the holidays and travel and time with family to account for, so my original target date for finishing my query letter and synopsis has been amended to February 7, pushing my first round of agent submissions to February 10. The bottom line is we need to be okay with losing a little momentum because of things that are out of our control, but not okay with losing it completely. It may take some time, but it is possible to find that sweet spot between flexibility and firmness.
Most goals are more like marathons than sprints. You don’t reach the finish line without preparation. It takes organization and planning and really even a little training (or retraining) as committing ourselves to complete a goal often requires the formation of new habits and new mindsets.
So my challenge for you this week is to again find some quiet time and get yourself organized, get a plan in place, and get yourself one step closer to realizing your goal.