Goal Planning – Tips to Ensure Your Success

Jul 15, 2013 | 6:00 am
Back to School
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You can’t get anywhere in life without some sort of plan. Imagine getting ready to take a trip without having a destination in mind. Your life choices are a reflection of the goals you set and the priorities you have assigned for yourself. If you spend your life on autopilot, you shouldn’t really be surprised to see where you’ve ended up or to realize that you don’t really know where you are headed.

This is where a little planning and goal setting can literally make all the difference in your world – especially when it comes to big life choices like education and your career. First let’s talk about how to start planning.

A good plan is one that you feel can be achieved fairly easily. It should be approachable and have easily achievable stages or steps to take. Most importantly, it should have a clear end goal.

So, where do you want to end up? Graduate high school? Start a new career? In order to come up with a workable plan, you need to understand exactly what your end goal is and then work backwards.

For example, if your goal is to finish high school, you can start by looking at the steps it would take to accomplish this. You would need to:

  • Find a solution for actually attending high school
    • Research options for online vs attending an physical school
    • Research cost and validity of options
  • Determine the time needed to devote to going back to school
    • Make any schedule or work changes
    • Rearrange lifestyle to match new priorities
  • Determine how much income you’ll need to cover your education
    • Will you need to cut back hours for study? If so, what can you do to close the income gap?
  • Determine how long it will take to actually graduate
    • Do you only need a few credits? Or do you need to take a full program that might take a year or two to complete?

You can do this for any part of your life to help keep you on target and reaching your goals. Just apply these steps:

  1. Define your aim or end goal
  2. Define what actions or factors that would directly result in achieving your aim or end goal.
  3. Define what other conditions or factors may need to be addressed in order to accomplish the actions or factors in step two.
  4. DO IT!

It’s really as simple as that. Keep your plan of action in a place where you can see it daily to help keep you focused. If you feel yourself slipping or feel like you’re not getting closer to your goals, go over your plan again and see if you missed some key steps or actions you needed to take.

For instance, in the example of getting your high school diploma, maybe you needed tutoring or needed to account for the expense of technology. A plan is never a permanent thing, it can always be changing and adapting to fit your current needs.