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How to Map your Goals in 3 Easy Steps

Oftentimes in our career, we have experienced setbacks. Instead of learning from them, we tend to “trim” our dreams to make them more grounded or realistic. As a result, we become cautious. Why don’t we try to dream big, set a plan, and go for it!

According to an article from Psychology Today, researcher John Norcross defines a goal as "a mental representation of the desired outcome that a person is committed to". Additionally, research shows that setting a specific goal makes us more likely to achieve the things we want. While in a separate article from Entrepreneur Magazine, the process of goal setting could be like arranging checkpoints along the way to the desired end.

Similar to taking a long drive, we plan for pit stops to take coffee, do some stretching and grab a sandwich perhaps as we reach our destination. This is just the same when we map our goals. According to Entrepreneur Magazine, we can divide goal-setting into three parts: immediate, intermediate, and stretch goals so that we will be able to review how we progress as we move towards our goal.

1. Confirm a stretch goal. Start by developing a stretch goal. A stretch goal is a long-term objective that may take years to accomplish. Determine your stretch goal first because this choice will influence the selection of intermediate and immediate goals.

2. List your immediate goals. These are small targets with assigned deadlines that happen very soon. The time horizon for these sets of goals is weekly or bi-weekly depending on the immediate goals you have.

For artists, an immediate goal would mean to produce one or two paintings a week. For business development managers, the immediate goal would translate to 10 meetings in a week. Any effort that will consider moving your business forward can equate to immediate goals.

3. Specify intermediate goals. According to Entrepreneur Magazine, intermediate goals are broader than immediate goals and can have monthly or yearly time frames for their accomplishment. For instance, this would translate to enrolling in a skills-training program or creating a new line of service or product to expand your business. Similar to your immediate goals, you set up your time horizon for this set.

By compartmentalizing your goals this way, it illustrates how you will be able to reach for your dreams in a pragmatic way. While creating a strong foundation by establishing your immediate and intermediate goals, you focus your activities on moving your business forward through measurable results. Your desire to succeed in meeting these goals allows you to reap the fruits and having fun on your journey. Achieving them may mean hard work but definitely worthwhile.


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