To embark on a major journey, you should first have a real idea of your destination. This way, you’ll be able to plan adequately for your journey – directions, mode of transport, estimated costs, time, etc. Skip that, and you’d end up wandering aimlessly. Similarly, when it comes to planning for your success, you will need a “destination” and a “roadmap”. That would be a clear vision of what you want, and specific goals to help you on your way to achieve your idea of success.
Creating A Vision
To be truly effective in your pursuit for success, you should first be able to visualize your “destination” – a clear vision of where you want to be in the future. It’s what you desire, your passion, your purpose in doing something.
Creating a vision is important. It’s the very thing that gives you direction, a compass that directs you in making the best decisions, and taking the right actions that will propel you towards success. It’s what gets you excited and motivated to push beyond your self-imposed boundaries. It’s what keeps you focused and on top of the game.
To begin, take some time to envision how you see your life in your ideal future. Reflect on your passions, core principles and values you live by, and your purpose in life.
Remember to define your vision – make sure your vision is specific and clear. It is your starting point – the very foundation you will be building on. It is the ideal you will be striving for, to get close to.
It should be something that is in line with your values and principles, as well as your view of the future. Simply coming up with a vague vision of wanting to be “wealthy” or “popular” is not enough ; it should be something more solid and specific.
An example here would be:
- To be financially free by age 50. To work only 30 hours a week.
- To be a healthier individual – both mentally and physically.
You can also think of the people you admire and look up to – the kind of characteristics or habits you wish to emulate yourself. In fact, you can even ask them to be your mentor, to help you think things through on certain areas and advise you on what has worked for them.
Again, don’t restrain yourself too much when creating your own vision. Your vision is personal and unique – there is no right or wrong. It’s something that only you can decide for yourself, and this also is dependent on what you want to achieve in life.
Remember, the point of creating a vision is to know your reason for doing something, and to help you be more focused and motivated. But simply envisioning the future is not enough – that just reduces your vision to little more than a glorious daydream.
Setting Your Goals
Visions will remain unattainable when not coupled with goals. And this is where goals come in.
Goals are more specific and quantifiable targets – it’s the “roadmap” to your journey of success. They act as benchmarks or milestones, aiding you in laying the path for the rightful achievement of your vision. This also includes the tactics as well as strategies you use to work towards your vision.
To explain it in simply, goals are a tool to help you take conscious steps each day to help you realize your vision.
Again, a solid, clear vision first is important. The goals you set and work towards achieving should be in line with your vision. This keeps you focused on the big picture as to why you should complete your goals.
A good approach to use when it comes to setting your goals is the S.M.A.R.T.E.R approach to goal setting.
S.M.A.R.T.E.R is an acronym that stands for: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Time Boxing, Evaluation and Revise. This approach is an extension of S.M.A.R.T that has already been discussed in this blog earlier. Here’s a detailed elaboration this approach.
Your goal should be specific and crystal clear – you should be able to know what success looks like here. The more specific you can get, the better. A good tip here is to ask yourself the 5 W questions below :
What do I want to accomplish? Why is this goal important?
Who is involved?
Where is it located?
Which resources or limits are involved?
The goals you set for yourself should be measurable and quantifiable. This is so you can track your progress and performance properly. Being able to see progress is a great motivator – it gets you excited knowing that you are well on your way to success. Not only that, this helps your focus.
A successful goals should be one that is realistic and achievable. Lying to yourself and aiming for a goal that is beyond your abilities will only result in failure to reach that goal.
That being said – this is not an excuse for you to be complacent here. You should set goals that will stretch your abilities but also remain possible for you to achieve.
Also, you should consider factors that will affect the achievability of the goal, like financial and time constraints.
Your goal should be relevant. It should matter to you, and also be aligned with your other goals and vision. This step keeps you from focusing on the wrong things.
Every goal you set should have a deadline – this gives you something to work towards. However, aiming to hit a goal in 5 to 7 years is not considered a proper deadline. Sure, it contains a time element – but it’s not specific enough.
Your plan to reach a goal in 5 years will be quite different from your plan to reach a goal within 7 years.
Setting a more specific date for your goals allows you to develop a clearer plan to achieve it. This also prevents you from letting other everyday matters take priority over your goals.
Over time, things happen and goals change. Look over your goals from time to time and evaluate them ; check if they need changing to fit your current situation. Constant evaluation of you goals is essential for you to reach your goals.
Upon evaluation, if you find that your goals need readjusting, revise them accordingly.