“Suppose one of you wants to build a tower, won’t you first sit down and estimate the cost to see if you have enough money to complete it?” Luke 14:28
Suppose you want to be an actress, won't you first sit down, assess your skills, undergo some training, then apply for an audition?
Suppose you want to be a lawyer, won't you first make sure you ace the relevant subjects in secondary school, apply to the university, go to law school and get called to the bar?
Suppose you want to run a business, won't you first assess the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and possible threats of that business before you invest capital?
In the same might, suppose you are tired of living average and ordinarily, suppose you want to live your life to the fullest, suppose you want to be both happy and great, suppose you want to become the woman you were created to be, won't you need to take out time to map out how to do that or get to where you need to be?
As it is said, she who fails to plan, has planned to fail. This post will teach you how to set realistic and achievable goals. I consider this timely because as year 2016 elapses and 2017 approaches, there is need to quit living life as you go, it is time to make conscious efforts to live your very best life. There's so much you can do, there's a lot you can contribute to the world, you are important to this generation, I need you to survive, the world needs you to survive. Kapish?!
Whether you are a mom, entrepreneur, career woman or student, when setting goals, they must be SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Time-bound).
During my one year of national service, before carrying out my personal projects I read through a manual – ABCs of Community Development Service. One of the criterion considered for scoring corps members for state and national awards was whether their projects were SMART. This manual helped me to really streamline what I wanted to achieve and how to achieve it. Whenever corps members come to me for help on their personal projects, I often refer them to this manual and ask them if their projects are SMART.
Let's say you are a fresh graduate, frustrated with job searches because companies are no longer willing to employ new staff because of the economic recession and the high cost of operations, so you decide that starting a business is what you should do right now to stop yourself from depending on your family and loved ones for daily upkeep. You have to ask yourself specific questions like: What are my values? What do I represent? What do I want to do? Why do I want to do this? Is this the right business for me? Who are my target audience? Ask specific questions. Don't sugar-coat the answers, be honest with yourself. If you are yet to figure it out, there's nothing to worry about, you are reading this right now because you are about to figure things out. Ask for help when you need to, our contact lines are always available.
Most of us know how to cook, even if you don't, you must have seen someone cooking food. (I love to cook "and" eat, and food was the first thing that came to mind when I wrote this. LOL!!). So, when cooking, the ingredients used are usually measured, you don't just pour everything you have into the pot of soup in the same quantity and at the same time, that would be a te-rri-ble scenario, especially if you're cooking for a typical African mother-in-law like Patience Ozokwor (By the way, she's an excellent Nollywood actress)
I'm sure you don't want that. Similarly, when it comes to the goals for your life, business, career, health, e.t.c. it is important to measure what you want to achieve and what it will take you to achieve them. Also, you'll need to define how you would know when it is accomplished, like a performance indicator to evaluate your progress towards the goal. Any goal that is not measurable cannot be achieved, it will end up just like those new year resolutions we used to make by word of mouth and never fulfill.
Are your goals achievable/attainable? Do you have the requisite skills to achieve them? If you don't, do you have people on your team who can help you achieve them? Do you have the resources to achieve them? Be very clear with your answers. WRITE THEM OUT! If your answers are NO, then you sit down again and start afresh. When you set goals that are achievable, it becomes easy for you to map out strategies for achieving them. If there's need for you to learn new skills before you begin, you go out there and learn. Take courses online, go back to school, read books, attend seminars and workshops, ask the right questions. It's never too late to do things right if you want to live your very best life.
As an individual, being relevant is one of my motivating factors for my life's purpose. I think of relevance as an opportunity to make a difference, so I make it a point of duty to ensure that everywhere I go and everyone I meet is better than I met them, no matter how small the progress is. If for instance, your goal is to set up a business, you have to define who your business will help? Will it be just you, your immediate family or your local community? How are you solving a need? Is solving the need positive or negative? How does solving that need help you become a better version of yourself? How does solving that need benefit the people around you? How relevant is that goal to you? The fact is you did not come into this world to live by yourself. Every action or inaction has a ripple effect. Essentially, define the relevance of your goals to your ultimate purpose in life and how they help you to become the woman you were created to be.
You and I will not live forever on earth, so it is important to set goals that are have a time span. Setting time-bound goals help to keep you accountable. Make sure to keep the timelines flexible and realistic. If your goal is to begin a business on makeup artistry, it means you have to set a timeline for beginning and completing the makeup artistry classes, set a timeline for launch of your business, e.t.c. Sometimes, unexpected circumstances may arise that may cause some lapses on your time plan, however it is better to be prepared for such than to be caught unawares.
After fulfilling the SMART criteria, write out your goals in order of immediate, short and long term. Each of these goals lead to the other. Long-term goals are goals you want to ultimately achieve in your life's journey. They are usually goals you hope to achieve within 5-10 years or more. Short term goals are usually within 1-5 years and they are a breakdown of things you hope to do to fulfill your long term goals. Immediate plans are shorter, they are usually drawn up as weekly or monthly plans. Immediate plans are things you need to do now to achieve your short term plans.
Remember to commit all of your plans to your Creator, listen to him when he speaks and willingly give in to his directions and order. Apply the 80/20 principle, by not trying to do everything at the same time. Figure out the little things you need to do that will give you great results. Take it one step at a time. Don't rush it, you are not in competition with anybody. You are different and you have a unique purpose. Celebrate yourself whenever you hit a target, even if you don't reach some of your goals or any of your goals, don't be too hard on yourself.
Thank you so much for reading this, share your thoughts and opinions in the comment section below so that other women and girls can learn from you too. Tell us how you have been able to achieve your goals, the challenges you encountered and how your overcame them.