Welcome to the fourth post in TRC Professional Solutions’ Personal Wellness Series – providing valuable advice to help you be the best you can be, on the job and off. It all starts with setting goals, something we think about all the time. Start right now to turn those thoughts into actions.

Goal setting is one of those buzz phrases that sound good … but how often do you actually sit down and list or articulate the things you really want to accomplish in life? You need to set goals for what you really want – at work, at home, and in a way that the two remain in good balance.

The Basics of Goal Setting

Researchers have defined a goal as “a mental representation of a desired outcome that a person is committed to.” Setting a goal involves:

  1. Identifying something you want, and
  2. Being willing to stick with a prescribed course of action to achieve it.

A goal is not the same thing as a value, though the two are related. A value is something you find important, but unlike a goal, it doesn’t have that specific course of action associated with it. For instance, you may (and should!) value being healthy. A related goal might be “to lose 10 pounds in the next six months.”

  • Actually setting a goal makes you more likely to achieve the things you want. This is especially true if your goal involves a significant life change, such as losing all that excess weight or finding the dream job that seems linger just out of your reach.
  • Set goals for the right reason. Figure out the things that would create a meaningful, rewarding, fun life journey for you. Ask yourself: “How do I want to spend my time? What daily activities make me want to jump out of bed? What do I want to learn? Who do I want to spend my time with?”
  • You can always change your direction. If the pursuit of your current goal is draining you or leaving you unfulfilled, then why hold onto it?
  • Rather than adopt a goal you hope will change your life once you reach it, do it the other way around. Make it about the journey. As steps toward achieving your goal, include learning opportunities and other meaningful activities.

An Eight-Step Plan

In a nutshell, here are eight steps for effective goal-setting:

  1. Think deeply about your life and what you what to accomplish, in the big picture.
  2. Pick something that truly motivates you or really needs to happen.
  3. Write it down. Don’t worry about the format at this point. Just go with whatever has come to you.
  4. Take what you wrote and make sure it’s realistic, achievable, and about you. If not, redo it.
  5. Make sure your statement has been written positively. In other words, your goal should be something you want more of or are striving toward, rather than something you want less of or are trying to remove from your life.
  6. Think about how you can make your goal statement as specific as possible.
  7. Take your goal statement and create a detailed action plan.
  8. Get started on the process. Monitor it and follow up on a regular basis.

Are you looking for the next step in your career?

If your goal-setting process points towards a new career direction, contact TRC Professional Solutions today. We can partner with you to ensure that every step along your journey is a successful one.

Next up in our Personal Wellness Series: Developing Interpersonal Skills

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