Tips For Achieving Your Goals

I’ve had many goals in my life. Some attainable and realistic, and some… not. Examples of these include not failing AP Calc (this goes under the realistic category in case some of you were wondering), finding a meaningful internship or volunteer position to pursue concurrently as a student, and making Michael Buble fall madly in love with me and ultimately absconding to our own custom built countryside English mansion (again this is undoubtedly, unequivocally realistic. Just bear with me here).


Yep. Happening.
Yep. Happening.

My more long-term goals include ultimately applying to and attending law school, not being in debt afterwards (can you guess which is the more realistic goal here?), and pursuing a career I am passionate about and excel in.

Now, it’s one thing to have goals. That’s half the battle! But the important part is realizing what’s realistic and what’s not (sorry Michael), and then putting together some kind of game plan for achieving your goals. So here are a few tips I’ve found helpful.

Visualize it

Seriously, never underestimate the power of visualization in achieving your goals. If professional athletes do it you should too. That’s my motto. Except steroids. Don’t do steroids (A-Rod I’m looking at you). When you visualize a goal you have over and over again, it becomes part of your thought-process and memory, therefore you become more conscious and aware of the outcome or goal you desire.

For me, this is more of a motivation technique. I might keep pictures that help visualize certain goals around my house, I might make myself notes, or (in the case of applying to law school) read books on the subject. Maybe your goal is to become a master sushi chef? You could set your desktop background to a giant piece of sushi (okay that might be a little weird, maybe don’t do that one), or read books on the subject just to keep your mind actively thinking about this goal, and excited about it.

Mmm. Sushi.
Mmm. Sushi.

Creating the game plan

Okay.. Unfortunately visualizing and remaining aware and motivated for your goal is only the first step in the process. Because, let’s face it putting up Michael Buble posters on my walls and listening to his music everyday didn’t really help me achieve that goal. Okay bad example, but moving on.

Seriously though. Why didn't this work?
Seriously though. Why didn’t this work?

I find the most effective planning for achieving goals is back planning. Think of what the final step in reaching your goal whether long-term or short-term. For example, law school is still quite a while away for me. So first I have to think – what do I have to do three or four years from now to get there? There are a lot of steps involved and I have to think each one through carefully. For now, staying motivated about the idea, getting good grades, establishing relationships with my professors, getting involved with activities that interest me are all good steps. But what’s the next step? Studying like a maniac for the LSAT, and so on. You have to know all the steps and have them mapped out at least in your head.

Start small

“A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.”

In this case it looks like the journey began without toes
In this case it looks like the journey began without toes

This is basically a form of taking steps, but for example say you’re really shy and your goal is to become this super social butterfly that has a different date every Friday and a billion BFFS seeking your advice and attention. Obviously you’re going to have to start small. Therefore you would create a sub-set of smaller goals in order to attain your ultimate, huge goal. For example one of the goals could be just to start one conversation with a stranger each day. Make sure the small goals like this are easy because it will build your confidence and allow you to keep on truckin!

Don’t get disheartened

It’s incredibly easy to get sad and depressed if everything doesn’t go as planned or you don’t accomplish your goal as soon as you thought you would. It’s important to replace the negative thoughts you have with positive ones, reaffirm your goal and your confidence, and continue visualizing the end result. Realize everyone is going to encounter setbacks but it’s how you respond to these setbacks that separates the winners from the losers.

So to all you fellow goal-pursuers out there, good luck and keep on dreaming! Feel free to share your own goals, or tips you have for goal achieving.

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