Setting goals is an activity that has become synonymous with the New
Year, but in reality we should set goals year round. Well-defined goals
are imperative as they help us focus our energy in the right direction.
If for any reason you haven’t set any goals for 2016 don’t despair –
there’s no better time than now.
Write them down:
While it’s nice to daydream while you enjoy a leisurely cup of coffee,
it actually makes more sense to write them down. Writing down your goals
gives some “flesh” to your dreams and makes them more tangible
Writing down our goals also serves as a reminder that helps spur you on,
especially in moments of self-doubt. Writing down your goals in a
journal or diary helps you keep track of your progress. As the bible
says, “write the vision; make it plain… run with it”.
There are times when you need to actually take time away from the
maddening crowd to sit down and reflect on what your goals actually are.
It could be something as simple as a few hours in the spa or alone at
home when you can sit down and just gather your thoughts. Goal-setting
retreats, which are becoming more popular, are also good places to sit
down and reflect on your thoughts.
Our time and energy are limited resources, so there is always the need
to place things on a list and work through the list methodically. Decide
which goals need to be done right away, and which ones can be dealt
with later or simultaneously. For example, you may have plans to buy
your dream home as well as start your own medical practice – think it
through and decide which goals should come first and which ones can be
put on the back burner.
Tell someone: Tell not
just anyone, and definitely not everyone, but someone who can hold you
accountable. We all have our own “otimkpu”: that person who believes you
can do anything and everything, and who will encourage you when your
dream is beginning to look like a fantasy. The person you tell could
also be a mentor: someone who has done it before and who can remind you
that “it” can be done. It could be your spouse, sibling, or a life
coach. Just make sure you tell someone who will encourage you and spur
you on. In the event that you do tell the wrong person, that should not
deter you. I remember when I told a dear friend about something I
planned to do. She looked at me in disbelief, but rather than allow her
lack of faith deter me, it spurred me on and the project is now done and
Be Smart: Using The SMART formula is always a great way to elucidate your goals. First of all set Specific
goals: do not beat around the bush, but make them clear straight to the
point, for example “I want to take a communications course in the UK in
the first quarter of this year”. The more specific your goals are, the
more achievable they will be. Your goals should be Measurable:
that way you will be able to see to what extent they have been attained
over time. It’s important to set milestones, as tracking your progress
will help to keep you motivated. Try and make your dreams Attainable:
now what is attainable depends on a lot of factors, such as your
personal skills and inclinations, which can always be developed as part
of your goal-setting. So do not make the mere fact that no one has done
it before slow you down. It may be hard, but if you believe it can be
done, set those goals and go ahead! Your goals should be Realistic:
now this doesn’t mean that your goals should be mediocre or small. You
should dare to dream big! As life coach Omilola once said to me, “if
your dreams don’t scare you they are probably too small”. Lastly, let
your goals be Time-based: rather than a plan to “go back to school one day”, it should be a case of a plan to “go back to school in 2016”.
Now that you have your big bodacious goals all written out, you need to
take concrete steps towards achieving them. If you plan on a getting a
degree, then a good first step would be to take entrance exams or start
applying to schools. Even if they are baby steps, take them and you will
find yourself inching ever closer towards achieving your goals.
Keep at it and all the very best