Goal Setting

I have been meaning to do a post on goal setting for a while on this blog. I know I don’t keep the page as up to date as I’d like to any more, but one thing I have been really trying to focus on is productivity, which is why today is part one in my life hacks series!

I am still learning, don’t take this as a one stop fix, but this is what is working for me right now, and how I find it helping me.

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I always take on much too much at once. It is a common fault that I have and I know I am not alone in this. I am also a perfectionist, things which don’t add up well together when you work full time and also do lots of extracurricular things. When you take on too much things begin to suffer, and for me a lot of the time it is my mental health, which means that I end up leaving everything and burying my head in the sand. Therefore nothing gets done and the whole circle starts again.

Today I want to focus on a method of goal setting I am currently trying out. Breaking things down into small steps, and focusing on only one thing at a time!

Now, I am a busy person so one thing at a time isn’t strictly true. What I actually mean is one major thing.

Step 1 – One Thing at a Time

The thing I am working on right now is my sign language training. I want to progress my life and my career and in order to achieve my goal of being an interpreter I need to have the qualifications and experience under my belt.

Step 2 – Have an End Date

I set the 24th November 2017 to be my end date as to when I am going to have my level 1 in British Sign Language under my belt. I have already done the majority of the training for this; I just don’t have the official qualification yet. I chose this date as it was exactly one year after my recent surgery. It gives me time to organise my life and what I need to do for this goal to be achievable.

Step 3 – Small Steps

It is all well and good having a goal with an end date, but this is no good if you don’t know how to get there. You have to break down the main goal into small steps. My ultimate goal is to be an interpreter. But in order to get there I need to first get my qualifications, hence this first main goal of getting my BSL Level 1.

In order to get there though, I need to break this down further. I can’t just snap my fingers and get my qualification, for one, I need the money. Here are the smaller steps I have broken my goal into.

  1. Find a course
  2. Apply for the course
  3. Begin the course
  4. Attend the regular lessons
  5. Practice outside of lessons
  6. Take my assessments
  7. Pass!

Step 4 – Break it down more!

Sometimes the first few are not enough, I have broken down my 7 steps into smaller chunks, more manageable ones.

  1. Find a course
    • Research courses
      • Find out when the meetings are
      • Find out how long the course goes on for
    • Compare prices
      • Does it fit my budget?
    • Look into funding methods
      • Do I need to apply for a career loan or similar?
    • Save the money
      • Put a little away each month if required
  2. Apply for the course
    • Pay for the course
  3. Begin the course
  4. Attend the regular lessons
  5. Practice outside of lessons
  6. Take the assessments
    • 101 assessment
    • 102 assessment
    • 103 assessment
  7. Pass!

Step 5 – Set Deadlines

I already said that it is important to have a deadline for the overall goal, but what about the individual steps? So far I haven’t found a way of putting rigid deadlines on every element, for example I don’t know when the course I start will begin! Let alone when the assessments will be. But I can put rough outlines on when I’d like everything to be done.

  1. Find a course by Jan 2017
    • Research courses
      • Find out when the meetings are
      • Find out how long the course goes on for
    • Compare prices
      • Does it fit my budget?
    • Look into funding methods
      • Do I need to apply for a career loan or similar?
    • Save the money
      • Put a little away each month if required
  2. Apply for the course by February 2017
    • Pay for the course
  3. Begin the course by March 2017
  4. Attend the regular lessons
  5. Practice outside of lessons
  6. Take the assessments
    • 101 assessment
    • 102 assessment
    • 103 assessment
  7. Pass! By 24th November 2017

Obviously I haven’t put a date next to everything, but there are deadlines to achieve, even if I do end up having to move the goalposts at a later date, the aim of this is to get stuff done.

As I said before, this is just one goal. I will be applying this method to other things I want to get done in my life. It also involves things that I want to do with work, i.e. complete my diploma in Health and Social Care. This is just one example.

So to wrap it up, here are the steps in order, with a small explanation for the too long, didn’t read version!

  1. One thing at a time – focus on one goal at a time
  2. Have an end date – make sure you know when you want your goal to be achieved
  3. Small steps – break it down, what things do you need to do
  4. Smaller steps – is there anything there that can still be broken down? Break it down
  5. Set deadlines – use end dates to keep yourself on track

Let me know, did this method help you at all? I know it has put me on the path to ensuring I have my goals on track, but what about for you? Do you have any other life hacks when it comes to planning? Leave me a comment and tell me what your goals are, how are you planning to achieve them?

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