Vail Chamber: Set clear goals with checkpoints to achieve success (column)
September 24, 2017
Based on the feedback and the success stories that have been shared with me since I first wrote this article, I thought it would be beneficial to share this again. Hopefully it will inspire someone new or will reinvigorate a previous reader who is already on a journey.
We all know it's important to have goals. Small goals keep us on target, shaping our daily lives. Big goals determine the course of successful careers. Goals give credence to what is necessary, helping us determine what we value and what we don't. When we know goal setting is beneficial, why is it that so many goals are never achieved? Let's examine why some people are successful in achieving goals, while others are not.
Having a goal is actually just one part of the process. The first thing we should do when formalizing an idea is to write it down. Putting goals in writing has numerous benefits. First, it gives clarity to your projected outcome. Clarity leads to action. Action takes you from point A to point B. A written goal keeps you on course so you don't veer off on rabbit trails or tangents.
Focus is vital. Anyone who has ever set a goal knows that as soon as you start your journey, it seems like the world's forces come together to stop you from achieving what you want. Naysayers tell you "you can't do it." Temptations shoot out from all directions. One obstacle after another inevitably pops up. Focusing on your written plan helps you stay the course.
Samples of typical goals: I will be a millionaire by age __. I will get into the best shape of my life this year. I will pursue and get my dream job. The problem with goals like these is that they are vague. If you don't plan when, where and how to achieve your goal, you have no format. No starting point, no direction and no timeline means no success.
Think of your goal as a road trip, a destination you can't reach in a day. You have a specific date and place you will meet a special someone, but there are plans you need to make and things you should include so you can get to your destination on the day you set. Do you have the needed funds; how much will you need? What equipment will you take on the trip? Be specific.
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For example, if you are camping on the way, then pack camping gear. You won't need a tuxedo; pack your suitcase accordingly. Never go on a journey without a map; take a marker and mark your route. How long will it take? What are your daily or weekly destinations? The more you prepare, the better chance for a successful trip.
Planning for your goals should be handled the same way. Saying you want to be a millionaire is not enough. What are the specifics of your goal? Set a date for success. If you have an actual dollar figure in mind, write it down. Educate yourself and explore options. Gather information and form a comprehensive plan of action. Review it often. Use checkpoints; they will keep you on track.
It's great to have big goals, but realize they come with hard work, an emphasis on details and probable setbacks. Attaining small successes builds momentum, lets you know if you are on or off track and widens your base of knowledge and expertise.
All successes and failures are learning tools; be flexible. When accidents or delays keep you from reaching your destination, take a detour. Remember, the more time you invest in details, the more successful your goals will be.
The Vail Chamber & Business Association is a business advocacy group in Vail and a communications outlet for businesses that want to have a voice in community affairs. For more information, call 970-477-0075 or email email@example.com.