Do you feel like there’s a gap between the life you wish you had and the life you are living? Can you see where you want to be but you don’t know how to get there? Alternately, do you feel like you want to change your life but you don’t know where to begin? The key to making these changes is setting goals and then staying on a path to reach them. Unfortunately, how to successfully set and reach goals is something you may not have been taught in school or at any job you’ve had. The good news is that you can learn how to do so at any age.
Identify Your Goals
Start by brainstorming. Write down your dreams even if they sound unrealistic. Some may not be as unrealistic as you think, and others may reveal something important about what you genuinely want out of life. If you are struggling to identify any goals at all, think about what you value, such as the respect of others, having more money in savings or helping people. If you value helping people, for example, you might want to become a counselor or a doctor.
Don’t discount a goal as unrealistic until you give it some careful though. For example, at 30, you aren’t too old to go back to school and retrain for a new career, but it’s probably too late for you to leave your desk job and become an international soccer star. However, if the latter is your ambition, what attracts you about it? Is it the physical prowess? Could you achieve that through another physical challenge, such as running a marathon? Remember that goals are not just about careers. Your dream may be to climb a certain mountain, travel the world, run an animal sanctuary or save up for your child’s education.
Work Out the Steps
This is the stage where people often falter. Reaching a goal means identifying the concrete short- and medium-term steps that will get you there. If you are trying to get out of debt, one step might be to look for a higher-paying job. Another might be to figure out where you can save money. There’s more to this than spending less on rent or entertainment. You may be surprised at where you can cut back. For example, if you are paying off student loans, you can visit here and may be able to save money by refinancing. Look around for lenders who could offer you lower interest rates, and put the difference toward your other debts.
Reaching a goal may be its own reward, but it can help to give yourself little incentives along the way. Incentives are as personal as goals. You might be motivated by allowing yourself to binge-watch a favorite TV series, splurge on an extravagant item of clothing or go for a long hike. Whatever your reward is, just make sure it doesn’t run counter to what you are trying to achieve. In other words, if you are trying to save money, don’t make your reward something that involves spending a lot.