Feel like you’re getting nowhere? Set a goal.

By: Magda Walczak

We all hit a slump every now and then. Regardless of what the reason for it is, those times when we feel like we’re not moving forward can be quite damaging to one’s confidence. If you feel like you’re not moving forward, I  have some practical advice for you to get out of your slump – set a goal. It works and here’s why.

Setting goals does wonders for your sense of accomplishment

Ever since I was fifteen years old I set goals for myself. I always wrote down a one, two and five year goal for at least three areas of my life: friends and family, financial and professional. I’m proud to say that I’ve completed, if not exceeded, every single one of those goals. The sense of accomplishment has been one of the forces that propelled me to continue to accomplish more and more. It’s like a snowball that keeps getting bigger with each little win. It  has worked for me for many years.

Then when I turned 30 things started going to shit, so to speak, in many areas of my life. So much so that I didn’t bother setting goals that year. In the following three years whenever something good happened, something bad would follow. Work had extreme ups and downs, I broke up with my fiancé, I had a major back injury that’s left me in pain for the rest of my life, just to name a few. I had plenty of residual motivation to continually move forward, but nowhere at the speed or satisfaction of the past. I just haven’t been as focused as I was prior to 30 and not setting goals is a large reason why.

Set clear goals to get out of a slump

Over three years have passed since I last set personal, financial and professional goals. It’s time to get out of my slump and achieve some amazing things this year. Setting goals is a great way to do this for many reasons, including:

  1. Setting goals gives clarity to your vision. Until you specify exactly what it is you’re after, how can you make sure you’re working towards the right outcome? Setting a goal makes the desired outcome super clear.
  2. Setting goals motivates you. You wouldn’t set a goal unless it’s something you really wanted. Articulating what you really want reinforces it and gives you that little boost towards actually making it happen.
  3. Setting goals increases the likelihood of you completing the goal by making you accountable. Accountable to yourself, that is, and let’s face it – who’s a bigger judge of ourselves than ourselves?
  4. Setting goals gives you focus. Without a goal, how do you know where to spend your energy?
  5. Success breeds more success. Once you achieve a goal, each subsequent goal is that much easier because you have proven that yes, you can do it!

I find that setting SMART goals is the best way to go, whether it’s the three types of goals we’re talking about here (personal, financial and professional) or whether it’s setting goals with your team at work, etc.

My goals as of February 22, 2014

Well, these aren’t all of my goals, but it’s a few key ones that I definitely want to achieve within the next year. I think I need to think a bit more about the long term ones before I commit them to paper, so to speak. This should be a good start:

  1. By the end of 2014 launch a business that demands less than one day of work a week and provides me with the equivalent of 25% of my current salary. This business in addition to the marketing consulting I’m doing now.
  2. By the end of 2014, help save at least 20 animals’ lives. This can be done through donations, adoption, etc.
  3. By the end of 2014, visit at least three cities I’ve never been to and at least one new country.
  4. By the end of 2014, take my parents on a vacation that’s so good that will call it “the best they’ve ever been on.”
  5. By the end of 2014, publish Saylor’s Tale and sell enough copies to cover any costs (I’ll think bigger long term!)
  6. By June 30, 2014, get my body mass index to under 23.

So that’s me. What about you? I hope this post gets you motivated and you set some goals. Maybe start small and write down some short term goals. Once you achieve those, you’ll have the push you need to set (and achieve!) even bigger goals.

P.S. Need even more motivation? Set a reward for achieving each goal. I splurge on a nice meal when I achieve mine.

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Always hungry. Nuts for dogs. Love to travel. I write about marketing, food, web, travel and whatever else strikes my fancy.

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