Success recipe: goals, diligence and flexibility


June 05, 1994|By Niki Scott | Niki Scott,Universal Press Syndicate

It's an easy concept to grasp, but a hard one to remember. The key to success in any undertaking is setting realistic, attainable goals. Or: If you don't know where you're going, you probably won't get there.

Here are some steps that will help you get where you're going:

* Allow yourself to fantasize; every goal worth pursuing begins with a daydream.

* Write down exactly what you want to accomplish. Be specific. )) Not: "I want to earn more money," but, "By the end of this year, I will increase my earnings by 20 percent."

* Divide your goal into small, manageable, measurable parts. "Step 1: I will make an appointment with my boss to ask what further training or experience she thinks I need.

"Step 2: I will request cross-training in my present position or a lateral transfer to another department, so I can broaden my area of expertise. I also will sign up for any courses or seminars that my boss and I think would be helpful."

* Make sure your interim deadlines are realistic. Small failures will sap your energy. Small victories will keep you focused.

* Make a list of potential problems, then write down what you can do to minimize or eliminate each one.

* Set up a schedule. If you're missing your own deadlines, ask yourself if they were realistic in the first place, or if you're somehow sabotaging yourself.

* Decide what further resources you need. If you need advice or encouragement, better equipment, more education, or more help home so you can better concentrate on this goal, ask for what you need.

* If you're working toward several goals at once, make sure they're compatible. If they're not, establish priorities.

* Be flexible. Circumstances can change; obstacles may arise. But if you keep your goal in mind and have faith in your ability, these will be temporary setbacks.

* Work at a steady pace. Set a specific amount of time aside each day, week or month to work toward your goal. During this time, don't work on anything else or tolerate interruptions.

* If you begin to feel discouraged, ask yourself if you're ambivalent about the goal, or if changes -- even good ones -- make you anxious. If they do, resolve to deal with the changes that reaching this goal may produce -- even if you're anxious.

* Face any fears you have of not achieving this goal head-on. Are they realistic? Write down the worst things you can imagine happening if you fail in this endeavor and ways in which you might be able to reduce these negative consequences.

Now list all the consequences that could result if you don't try for this goal -- and don't forget the intangible ones, such as loss of self-respect, self-confidence and self-esteem.

Chances are you'll see with a glance how little you really have to lose if you try, at least, to achieve your goal -- and how much you have to lose if you don't.

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