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Robert Stanke: How you should set your goals for 2011

This is a popular time of year for individuals to start thinking about the goals and resolutions they are going to start when the calendar rolls over to a new year.

Everyone does goal setting differently, but very few actually achieve success in the end.  The problem primarily lies in the inability to turn goals into habits as opposed to short-term attempts at making a change.  Successful goal setting really calls for looking at goals in terms of long-term, short-term, and today.

Each of these three levels helps you look at what you want to achieve in the future, which can be fun and exciting to think about, but at the same time help you focus on the details of today and tomorrow to keep you focused.  Try the following approach to lay out your goals for the new year.

Using a blank sheet of paper, draw three vertical lines down the sheet, creating three equal-sized columns.  Title the columns from left-to-right in this order:

“10-Year Vision”   “Yearly Goals”   “Quick Wins.”

Then take time filling in each of the three columns with different goals.  Don’t think too much – this is a brainstorming exercise.  You can always re-create the sheet once you have created a rough draft.

* 10-Year Vision.  Most professional life coaches will advise you not to create goals ten years in the future, but we feel it is important in order to get a picture of what the future looks like.  Ten years is a good number, because just about any goal can be achieved in that amount of time.  If your vision for your future includes changing careers, for example, 10 years gives you enough time to go back to school, get the proper training, and build the right connections in the industry to pull off your vision.  So, where do you want to be in 10 years?  Knowing that allows you to reverse engineer your roadmap to success!

* Yearly Goals.  After you have defined your ultimate 10-year vision, you need to start thinking about breaking down that vision into large steps, or milestones.  What five top-level steps do you need to do to achieve your vision?  Do you need to go back to school?  Do you need to achieve a type of certification?  Do you need to start networking with a different crowd of individuals?  Write these big milestones down and put them in order of when they need to be completed.  Start with putting all the steps down on the paper, but remember that you might be able to only complete a couple over the next 12 months, and that is perfectly fine.  Twelve months from now, you will be able to see what you achieved and what steps move over to the next year.

* Quick Wins.  Quick Wins are the little tactics that are needed to achieve the Yearly Goals.  These are the phone calls, meetings, applications that need to be filled out and everything else that gets you one step closer to your 10-year vision.  The key is to get in the habit of tackling these little things each and every day.  Do this by grabbing a 3×5 index card every morning and write down three things you are going to accomplish that day to work you towards your vision.  No more than three, no less than three.  They don’t have to be big objectives either, even small steps will give you a sense of accomplishment in your road towards your vision

These three steps definitely could be broken down into further steps, but that is where sometimes the lack of focus comes into play.  The key is to THINK BIG, START SMALL, and MOVE QUICK, and these three levels allow you to do that!

This post was written by Robert Stanke and originally published on Roadmap For Your Life. Follow Robert on Twitter: @roadmapforlife

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