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Be Strategic with Goals and Milestones

Be Strategic with Goals and Milestones

When you think of your life in terms of what you want to accomplish someday, you’ll notice that someday rarely happens. It’s like February 29th. It only shows up every now and then.


Those who live a someday life don’t make concrete decisions or plans. Their goals are always vague and that’s a huge problem. It interferes with their success in all areas of their life.


Vague for the No Win


The recipe for a life of frustration, mediocrity and failed hopes is to be as vague as possible. Want to lose weight? Reach for the calendar with “someday” on it. Someday is the real identity for vague.


So, choose your someday and then sit tight. Because you just know it’s going to happen eventually. Whatever it is that you want. Someday is going to take off that extra weight and get you healthy as soon as it gets here.


Someday you’re going to appreciate that new body and be able to fit into the clothes that you want. That relationship that you want to improve or begin or whatever is just teeming with beautiful memories that’s waiting to develop someday.


On that day, everything is going to be perfect. In the meantime, you’ll just wait right there. You wouldn’t want to miss out on that magical moment falling into your lap. So many people want the weight loss and they want the great relationships and can’t understand why they’re still right where they were a year ago.


Or longer for those who believe that all good things come to those who wait in the hall of inaction. Someday can apply to your career, too. There are people just like yourself who long for life changing careers.


You’ve probably dreamed about that since you started working for less money and benefits than you deserve. You want a good career. No, wait. A great career. When do you want it?


Now, but you’ll settle for someday. It’s going to happen for you. You feel it in your bones. You believe it because you see these someday events happening to others all around you.


If you really think that believing in and waiting for someday is the way to live out your life, then you’d better like the taste of disappointment because it’s going to permeate every inch of your existence.


Someday is as mythical as the perfect boyfriend or girlfriend. It exists only in movie land. A product of fiction. Don’t let your life be a series of vague hopes that never go anywhere.


In reality, someday is the realm where nothing is happening, your life is never changing and nothing that you hope for ever comes true. Why? Because a vague hope or belief in someday is misplaced. Someday doesn’t bring about change. You do. You want your life to change? Then it’s time to get real. Starting with your goals.


You Need to Set Strategic Goals


You don’t say that you want to go to the grocery store and then not know how to get there. You have a plan. A road that you’re going to take. You have a plan for the money involved in your budget.


You know exactly what you can afford to spend there. The route back to your home has already been established. You accomplish what you set out to do. That’s the way you have to be when it comes to your goals.


These goals have to be strategic. You have to stop talking in generalities and somedays. You need to be as detailed as possible. Do that by setting a time for the stages of your goal.


Use numbers, percentages, and plans. You need to have goals that work every single day. People who accomplish the things that they want in life don’t just get up every morning and decide to take whatever life hands them and see if they can do anything with that.


No, they get up, already knowing their plan. And that’s where you need to be. You need to plan every single detail of your wants, hopes and dreams. If you want to lose weight, it’s not going to happen unless you work at it.


If there was some kind of magic fix, everyone would use it. But there’s not. There’s only planning and working that plan without stopping until you see results. It’s the same with a relationship.


You don’t get better until you do better. And you can’t do better until you know how you’re going to do that. Because relationships can be up and down and without a plan, you’re tossed about emotionally with whatever is going on.


But when you have a plan and you’re working that plan, you already know in advance. What you know is how you’re going to respond. You know where you’re going to go on a date.


You know the answers to the deep conversations because you’ve planned and studied in advance. This can save you a whole lot of frustration, time and energy when you have a plan to follow.


An area where a lot of people drop the ball with planning is with their careers. Did you know you can work decades at a job and still end up being unsatisfied? That’s what happens when you don’t have a plan to get a better career.


When you aren’t strategic, you stay mired in dissatisfaction. Some people have careers that mean something to them. It fulfills them. If you’re not excited about it, then it’s a sign that something needs changing.


It’s also a sign that you need to buckle down and come up with a plan. Set up the moves you’re going to make to get yourself out of the career and into one that you love so you look forward to going to work every week.


Step-By-Step Goal Setting


Talking about setting strategic goals is one thing, but how do you actually do that for the area that you want to change? It’s time to make your goals a priority and to get to the steps created that can put your goals or dreams into action.


The first thing you have to do with goal setting is to know what it is you want. Having a vague idea isn’t good enough. Those don’t translate well into goals that are achievable. So don’t do that, unless of course, you’re not really serious about making changes to begin with.


When you know what it is that you want, it’s easier to hold onto the belief that what you’re doing is the right direction for your life. Identifying what it is that you really want makes it easier for you to be able to see the changes that have to occur.


It allows you to see the areas of your life that are lacking or that will hold you back from meeting your goal. If you don’t think you’re lacking anything and think you don’t have anything to learn, then you’ve arrived at perfection, so this section isn’t for you.


Move on. But if you want to get real with yourself, figure out what you’re lacking. It might be not having the knowledge you need, having a slacker attitude, or you being too soft with your faults.


If you’re not going to get real with yourself, you won’t meet your goals. Once you get real and know what you want, the second step is to find your inner picture of that goal turning into a reality.


This allows you to be able to understand what it’s going to take. This is the point that divides the wishful thinkers from the success stories. The third thing is to write down your goals so that you can keep them in front of you.


The fourth thing you should do is to make sure that your goal doesn’t get sidetracked by you throwing out the welcome mat for bad habits. Having a goal is nothing without a commitment to change coupled with you making sure your environment or habits support your decision.


Clearing away the stuff that holds you back leaves you free to hang on to your focus. For example, if you have a weight loss goal, then you know you didn’t just pack on those pounds overnight.


If you’re overweight and your habit has always been to stop for a fast food meal on the way home from work, then have a pint of ice cream or sleeve of cookies while watching TV, you know that has to change. 


You’ve got to clear away this habit because it holds you back. Your environment has to support your goal. That means you drive the other way on your way home if you have to.


You don’t bring enough money or your debit card to pay for a meal out. Or you eat a healthy snack before you leave the office. If you don’t make changes, then you’re going to end up on the BBC diet - otherwise known as Buy Bigger Clothes.


The fourth step in goal setting is to organize your goals into a plan. By now, you should have your goals written down. You should know why you’re doing what you’re doing and you should be prepared to fight for it.


Figure out what it is that’s going to help you stay focused. This might be a picture of your kids, or you fifty pounds ago. It might be a collage of people running marathons or having life adventures that you currently can’t do because of your weight or health.


Your goal plan is your blueprint for success and no good general fights a battle without one. Think you’re not in a battle? Just wait until you start trying. The challenges are going to come at you.


If you don’t have a goal plan ready to work, you’ll flop. Big time. Your goal plan acts as the pillars that support your goals. Now it’s time implement your goals. You’re thinking tomorrow would be a great time to start.


Tomorrow is always the best day for the diet to start. The relationship gets better tomorrow, the health changes or the career is finally awesome - tomorrow. If you’re thinking of putting off your goal, you might not be as ready as you think you are.


When you want something, you can’t wait to get started with your goals. You feel fired up with energy and you just want to go, go, go. Once you know what you want, plan to get started today.


Don’t waste another minute on excuses, whining, fear or whatever else fuels your procrastination. No one ever said that living your goals was life on easy street. It’s not. Success comes to those who work hard for it.


It come to those who are pushing uphill when everyone else is resting, playing, and procrastinating. You have to work your goals, or they don’t work. It’s that simple. Besides making your environment support your goals, there is something else that you can do.


You want accountability. It’s fantastic to have someone or a group of people who will cheer you on to the finish line. They’ll tell you that you look great, you’ve lost weight, and that you can go for that career because you’re worth it!


Accountability teams are the best. But what happens when it’s the middle of the night and you have that career change you’d like to shoot for, but self-doubt is snuggled up to you like it’s your best friend?


If you’re not careful, self-doubt is going to sweet talk you into blowing off that interview. It’s going to invite you to stay where warm fuzzies abound at the position you currently have at the company you don’t want to be at.


When you need to stand firm with your goals, an accountability person isn’t always going to be able to come through at crunch time. You have to be your own accountability.


Because when things get rough - and they will - you need to be able to pull yourself up when you fall down or hesitate. That’s what will help take your goal from milestone to milestone.


Break the Goals into Milestones


Each of your goals should have milestones. If they don’t, you need to go back to the goal list and create those. Milestones are important because they break up the distance between the start of your goal and the end of it.


They’re success markers that say you’ve made it this far. Say you wanted to lose eighty pounds. Your milestones would break that down into small numbers. You could have them broken down into 10 pounds at a time or whatever.


The purpose of these milestones is that you can measure the road that you’re on. You’ll be able to look at how far you’ve come and how much you’ve accomplished. Each milestone shows you that your goal is getting closer and closer.


You would have milestones set for each part of your goal. So if it was weight loss, you might have a milestone set for drinking the amount of water that you need or hitting the gym for a certain number of days.


It can help to look back at your milestones and see that you worked out without fail for two weeks straight. Each milestone helps to power you up and keep your spirits bolstered.


You might set getting a better career as your goal. You would frame your goals around milestones that can grow your career or enable you to start a new one. So, one milestone might be to gain more knowledge or undergo training or certification.


You would create a detailed milestone timeline. This would state when that training was to begin, when it would end and what the end result would be. If your end result is something like, “Use my new training to grow my income by $20,000,” then your milestones could be broken into times set to increase your earnings by $2,500 for the first month, again the second month and so on until you’ve reached $20,000.


Your goal might be to become a leader in your chosen field. So then your milestones would show the steps that it would take you to reach that point. Milestones can help lead you to take specific steps.


It’s easier to accomplish your goals when you see them broken down into daily task lists. You gain a sense of accomplishment when you can cross each milestone off your list.


Beside each of these milestones, write out, “due by” and then pick a date. This gives you a concrete timeline to help you stay on course. It does take some effort to be strategic with your goals and milestones, but when you do, you can achieve whatever it is that you want.

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