Imagine the next 10 years of your life. Don't think exclusively about ten years from now, but really imagine each of the next 10 years playing out like a movie montage, showcasing all of your achievements and celebrations. What do you accomplish? What awards do you win? What things do you cross off your bucket list? How many lives do you touch?
Now, how many things did you imagine that seem "impossible?" Did you imagine succeeding in a completely different career? Winning an award for something you don't yet know how to do? Helping someone in a way that's currently beyond your means?
These thing might feel like dreams or fantasies, but with the right attitude and drive, they are all achievable goals.
And what's the difference between a dream and a goal?
So let's talk about your goals and how to achieve them, no matter how impossible they might seem.
When I imagine the next 10 years of my life, I dream of conquering triathlons, giving TED talks, teaching elite cycling classes, writing for an established publication and having my photo on Shape magazine. I imagine changing people's lives, helping women find their strength and giving back to my community.
Right now, these all feel like dreams, but by pursuing them as long-term goals, I can most definitely accomplish them all.
A long term goal is something that you'd like to achieve someday after much time or training, such as completing a triathlon. They're not something that you could do next week no matter how hard you tried.
1. Grab a piece of paper and write down your top 5 long term goals for the next 10 years. Don't worry about how likely or not you are to achieve them, just write them down.
2. Beside each long-term goal, write what you'd have to do in order to achieve them. For example, to complete a triathlon, I'd have to:
- increase my 10K pace
- hire a swim coach
- buy a bike
- learn to ride on different kinds of terrain
Don't worry about the semantics of how or why, just figure out what you'd need to do.
Congratulations, you just determined your short term goals.
A short term goal is something that you could accomplish within the next year.
I don't have the time to hire a swim coach right now, but it's not completely out of the question for me to do before the end of 2018.
I don't have the storage for a bike right now, and it's going to be too cold to ride it soon, but I could get a bike and start riding it in the spring.
I'm currently in marathon training mode, but once the season is over I could start focusing on my speed.
Of course, I wouldn't want to just hire the first swim coach I meet, buy any old bike or start sprinting on the treadmill the day after my race. I'll need to take the necessary steps to make all of those things happen. Those little steps are my mini-goals, or daily goals.
3. What daily goals would you need to accomplish in order to achieve your short-term goals? Write them down and make sure to be specific.
Despite their name, daily goals are not meant to be accomplished each and every day. Rather, they're goals that could be accomplished in one day, or over the course of a few days. They're mini, bite-sized pieces of work that need to get done in order to accomplish the short-term goal.
A list of daily goals for my goal of completing a triathlon might include:
- look for local full and sprint (half) triathlons in my area for next year
- research swim coaches
- research bikes
- find a local indoor pool for winter training
- find different local bike trails for spring training (flat and hilly, smooth and rough)
- find a treadmill speed training guide for winter training
- speak to people who have completed triathlons and get training tips
These are all things that I could do at my desk, on my couch or between clients. These little tasks are extremely necessary to accomplishing the larger goal, but they're not nearly as overwhelming. By breaking your impossible-sounding wishes into achievable tasks, you're much more likely to accomplish them.
4. Make yourself a task list of daily goals that you could accomplish in order to conquer your short-term goals. Nothing is too small or silly.
So the next time you find yourself daydreaming about something, don't just succumb to reality. Instead, make a plan and get it done, one tiny step at a time!