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Goal Setting: Your life road map

road map

Do you have a plan for your life?

So you have some dreams, you have an idea about what you want your life to look like. Does your reality match those dreams? If you answered no to that question then you are in the right place.

You are probably making some simple mistakes that are preventing you from living the life you desire.

Mistake #1: Not setting goals

Having a dream is fine but you really may as well cross your fingers and make a wish, it’s just as likely to come true. That is, unless you take some simple steps towards achieving it. The first important step is to take that dream and rewrite it as a goal. Setting goals allows us to see where it is we want to go and then make a plan to get there.

Imagine for example, that you are planning a road trip across the country. If you don’t mind where you go and when you get there, by all means just jump in the car, point it in any direction and drive. Most of us however, don’t take that approach when we are travelling. We have a set destination, at least a rough itinerary and a timeframe for our arrival. We consult the road map, plan our stops along the way and get to our destination when we intended.

Think of planning your life the same way. If you have a destination planned out, then you will know when you have arrived.

Solution #1: Take 5 minutes now to write down 1 long term goal. You may wish to make it something to achieve in one year, six months or even 90 days. It doesn’t matter if it is not perfect, just get it written down. You can work on improving it and making it a SMART goal later.

Mistake #2: Not breaking our goals into small actionable steps.

Think again about our driving analogy. So, we have decided where we want to go. Generally when travelling, there are a number of options available to us for how we might get there. We might take the scenic route, go straight down the highway or take a detour down an interesting road. Whatever we choose to do, we need to look at our end goal and ask ourselves whether our next action is going to get us there. If our destination is north, travelling south is clearly a foolish thing to do. We need to work out how far we need to travel, how much time we have available and how far we need to go each day to reach our destination on time.

Solution #2: Take 5 minutes now to break your large end goal into smaller actionable steps. Think of them as the towns you must travel through on your journey. They are the markers letting you know that you are on the right path and making good time to your destination.

Mistake #3: Not working towards our goal every day.

Each day we need to travel at least a small part of the way towards our destination. This is where our itinerary becomes important. If our travel plans have us driving on to the next town on Wednesday and we dither around until Friday afternoon, our trip will be derailed. We may not reach our destination on time or at all.

Yes, there might be unforeseen circumstances on the way. The car might break down, someone might get sick or we might have a very good reason to change our destination entirely. These things are OK, not everything in life will run smoothly. We can take the time to manage these setbacks and then adjust our itinerary accordingly but we must constantly be moving towards our destination in some way.

Solution #3: Each day take 5 minutes to write down 3 steps you are going to take towards your goal that day. Each step might only be small but each one is important.

If you have no destination in mind (large end goal), no map to get you there (action plan for achieving those goals), no itinerary to follow (small daily tasks to work on) you are like the traveller simply going wherever the road takes you. You may eventually arrive at your destination but it will probably take a very long time to get there.

For assistance with these three steps, get your copy of the My Life Roadmap worksheet.

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