October 13, 2015 - Posted to Writing
Focus, your goal is just a step away from you
Sometimes it happens after a traumatic event; it may happen when you move to a new town during high school and have the prospect of trying to make new friends and adjust to new classes and teachers; and it may happen when you leave the comfortable confines of your high school and home and go away to college. Whatever the reason, here you are, kind of in a “no man’s” land, flopping around with no particular focus in life except to move through each day, to go to bed and see what tomorrow brings. Somewhere along the line, you lost sight of where you are going and why. So, now it’s time to get that focus back, to get back on track and get on with your real life.
It Has to Begin with a Goal
Most people who feel that life is just putting one foot in front of the other have no goal. Think about when you were 3 years old. You probably had many goals then – you want certain things from Santa Claus for Christmas; you knew that if you ate all of your supper you got ice cream and you really wanted that ice cream. As you got older, you had more complicated goals – you wanted to play football, or you wanted to take guitar lessons and start a band; you wanted the lead role in the school play or to be the editor of the school newspaper. Some goals you may have achieved; some you did not. But the point is this. You were always setting goals, those are what gave you energy and enthusiasm.
Your goal is just a step away from you right now. Nothing happens without one, so it is time to take that one step. To get a goal, you have to ask yourself some questions.
- What do you want to be doing 5 years from now? Don’t know?
- What do you want to be doing 2 years from now? Don’t know?
- Keep narrowing the time frame down until you can come up with a specific goal, even if it is a goal for tomorrow. Maybe it is to get to all of your classes.
The point is this: You have to start somewhere, no matter how small the goal may be. And even if you start with a small goal, once you achieve it, you can set a new one that is longer in duration and broader than just getting to all of our classes tomorrow. The idea is to always have at least one goal, to meet it, and then to set the next one, until it becomes a habit.
Going Beyond Tomorrow
Let’s assume you have met your first goal, and then you set a goal to make it to all of your classes the rest of the week. Now it is time to set something a more substantial and challenging. How many essays and papers are due in the next month or two? Or what organization would you like to become involved in? You can have more than one goal at a time – in fact, that’s a good thing. But each goal you set has to come with an action plan – nothing complicated, just a plan for how you are going to get there.
Getting an Action Plan
O.K. So, now you have a goal of getting all of those essays and papers in on time. What’s your plan to do that? A goal without a plan will never be achieved. And here’s a simple explanation of an action plan. Go back to when you were three and wanted that ice cream. What was your plan for getting it? Your plan was to eat all of your supper so you could get it – simple.
You action plan does not have to be complicated. Here’s a thought.
- Make a calendar and put every due date for every essay and paper on it.
- Now, take a look at what is due first. What will you have to do to get it finished – maybe get a topic, do the research and write it. That’s your plan.
- Now what’s your timeline? Put it on the calendar.
- Do the same for each assignment. You now have an action plan
- Don’t beat yourself up if you mess up a bit. Maybe you slipped and didn’t follow the plan for an essay. You can then call upon our services to bail you out in at the last minute. You’ve changed your action plan, but you still have one.
Here’s the Cool Thing about Goals and Action Plans
Once you start achieving the little goals, the bigger ones don’t look so bad at all. And once you get in the habit of developing an action plan, if only in your head, those plans get easier and easier to make. The other cool thing is that as you meet the small goals, your self-confidence, energy, and enthusiasm grow too. And when that happens, you can begin to think about what you do want to be doing 5 years from make and make a plan for that too.