I think something that is often overlooked when one sets out on a predetermined path is that sometimes, "opportunity knocks" in a way we never expected. So for that reason, I say it is important to not be so focused on going where we intended that we don't stop to explore the possibility of a different path.
For example: During my last few days at the police academy, an instructor approached me about an opportunity to go to work for a major insurance company handling insurance fraud investigations. All I could think of was, "why is he trying to get me to leave law enforcement? I just got here!" I never realized what he was trying to do FOR me, as I thought he was working against me!
Fast forward 25 years, I was involved in a lawsuit, and, because that lawyer saw a lot of potential in me as we worked on my case, he asked me to do some part-time work for him. Had I never met him, that would never have presented itself as an opportunity. While I did not go looking for it, it definitely fit with my interests.
So, while most people will talk about research, staying focused, studying, etc., I am here to tell you: keep your eyes and ears open, and be willing to consider other opportunities that come your way! If someone says, "hey, would you be interested in going into xyz business with me?" don't be too quick to say no. Instead, say "that sounds rather interesting. Let me give it some thought. Can we touch base sometime next week?"
The world is full of wonderful surprises!
It is important to learn time management skills to help you reach your goals. Assuming you've spent time getting to know yourself and identifying a goal, such as graduating from high school or applying to a college, keep a calendar and mark down deadlines for reaching objectives that will lead to your goal. For example, if your goal is to get at least a B on a final exam, make the objectives (steps toward goals) review of the different chapters or units you have been learning and put in your schedule dedicated study time for each one. Then stick to your schedule. Time management skills help you spend time where it is most important to you, rather than just on what comes up and seems urgent at the moment. Another thing about reaching goals is that it is important to re-evaluate them from time to time. Is my goal realistic? Is it something I still want? Do I have new experiences or information that are causing me to reconsider and make a new goal?
One approach to finding success through your goals is to continue to be a lifelong learner. Each goal that you venture out upon overcoming will present a unique set of challenges. To conquer these challenges you need to be continuously growing your knowledge and expertise.
Have a passion for what you do (what goals you hope to achieve) and the learning part will take care of itself.
Best of luck,
Jalon, great question!
Here are the steps I take to accomplish my goals:
- Write down the Goal(s)
- Write a description of what the goal looks like to YOU [be very specific, details, if you can find a picture of it, that's even better]
- Write down the steps/actions you need to take to reach your goal. Include dates of when you will complete these steps/actions. E.g. a To-Do List, break goal down into baby steps.
- Answer this question: WHY? Why do you want/need to reach this goal. This 'why' will get you up early/stay up late to achieve it. This 'why' is usually bigger than you. Your 'why' will motivate you when you are tired. Your WHY is your driving force.
- Look at your goal(s) every morning and every night.
I have short-term goals: 30/60/90/120 days. ~ I also have long-term goals for 1, 3, 5, & 10 years.
Review a minimum 2x a year. Update as needed. If something is no longer important to you, remove it and set another goal.