by Tamika Burgess
In high school teachers were always stressing the importance of setting goals. I was even required to take an elective class to thoroughly learn how beneficial goal setting could be in life. Of course, just as many of my high school peers, I paid no attention to what I learned that semester. Even when I was in college, I never set goals. It just never seemed important.
One day, well after college, a friend was telling me about a first date experience. During the dinner conversation, her date asked her what her five and ten-year goals were. As we laughed at the cliché question I thought to myself, what are my five and ten-year goals? If anyone would have asked me that question I wouldn’t have had a response; I had no plans for my future. In realizing this I spent a lot of time thinking about what I wanted out of life. In doing so, I decided to start writing out yearly goals for myself.
As a new year was about to start, I wrote out my five and ten-year plans and wrote goals for the upcoming year. Feeling quite proud of myself, when the list was complete I put it in my desk drawer and went on about my business. During that year I never once looked at my list of goals, I actually forgot that I had even written them. In October of that same year, I randomly came across the list. While looking over it I knew I had written out some good goals, but they seemed unobtainable; so I gave up on them.
As another year was approaching I revisited my same goal sheet, but this time around I made two significant changes, which I still do to this day:
Keep the list visible
My list of goals hangs on the wall right in front of my desk. It’s a constant reminder of what I need to do and where I want to be.
Make a to-do list
I write each goal at the top of a separate sheet of paper, underneath it I write everything I need to do in order to accomplish that specific goal.
For example, if my goal is to get published in a specific magazine, my to-do list includes some of the following: research editor contact info, review old issues of the magazine, write my pitch, etc. Once I complete each task, I cross it off. This serves as a visual reminder that I am making progress toward accomplishing my goal.
Making these two changes has been extremely beneficial.
I now look at my goals as a destination. Having my destinations hang on the wall in front of me as I work every day keeps me focused on where I am going. The tasks on my to-do lists serve as the roadmap on how to reach each destination/how to accomplish my goals.