Creating the Road Map

I know what I want but I don’t know how to get there. I’m really good at having the ideas, but not so good at the follow-through. What do you do when your inspiration finally hits, but the action doesn’t seem to follow?

All right, so you made it this far! We went from exploring in the midst of indecision to the importance of following the values you know that will lead you to the life you want to live. And now, what? Well, its time to do. Its time to take action and take a step toward what you want. We all have dreams and when we have them they seem gigantic and feel so far away.

So what do we do?

Well, break it down. The dream is the end goal. But there are many phases and tasks within those phases that need to be accomplished. What is the next step that you need to take to get you closer to your end result? How long will it take you to get there? Then think is this reasonable to attain in the time you have given yourself? Is this truly connected to where you want to go?

Are you seeing where I’m going here? The dreaded…SMART goal. We have all been in those work meetings that talk about SMART goals. You may have even had to set your SMART goals yourself for your end of year evaluation. While those SMART goals seem punitive and outright monotonous when it comes to work, it may feel more advantageous and exciting when it is actually related to what you want to do. How are you going to take a cross country road trip without a map? Essentially, your SMART goals are like your Mapquest or Waze, they provide you parameters and accountability to keep you on track. Otherwise, you could be stuck in another 30 minutes of traffic because of a wrong turn.

For those of you who have been in that two hour in-service about SMART goals. This is what the “SMART” means in SMART goals:

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Attainable
  • Relevant
  • Time-Based

The thing is we learn so much about SMART goals in our careers that we never learn to integrate these skills in our personal lives. Take some time and reflect on what are the goals that you would like to achieve with your family, with your friends, in your romantic relationships, spiritually, and in terms of physical and emotional health.

Now, write those down!

How long will it take you to get there? Do you want to have dinner as a family once a week? What do you need to do to get everyone on board? When can you estimate that you can start this? Is this feasible for your family? Does it need to be dinner or can it be a Sunday lunch if schedule conflicts are a problem?

Now, look at the rest of your goals and think about them. Will it take 10 years to achieve all of them? Or is it more figuring out your own schedule and just doing. By the way, the doing part is always the hardest. It’s part of creating a habit. We are good for maybe two weeks and then we fall off that wagon again. But just like how you have had great achievements in your career or when you were in school, those achievements all stemmed from your discipline and determination.

We are much more than our jobs and I assure you, most of our employers will not show us the same loyalty as we have shown them in the long run. So, care for yourself and for your relationships. If you want to reconnect with your spirituality, think what were the parts of my religion or spiritual path that really connected with me. Then create a goal or a path to get there. If you want to travel more but never do. Pick a country and make a promise to yourself that by this date (WRITE IT DOWN) that your trip will be booked! Then do it!

Don’t give everything to everyone else to be left nothing for yourself. When you look back at your life, are you going to be thinking about that big project you completed semi-well and on time? Or are you going to be thinking about that holiday from years ago where you laughed so hard milk went through your nose?

Don’t give everything to everyone else to be left nothing for yourself.

Tara Genovese

So make your goals more than just about your job. AND WRITE THEM DOWN. I say write them down because studies show that we actually remember and have more of a chance of completing them if we put it on paper. Its like making a contract with yourself. I would also say find a place to write your goals that you find special or sacred. This way you can always go back to them. Pick an interval like every three months to go back and review the goals you made for yourself. Did you make progress? What were the successes? What were the challenges? And were these goals really something that you wanted to stick to in the first place?

Changing Course

It’s ok to change course. Don’t stick with something to the end if you know in your gut that its not what you want. You would just be repeating the same cycle of what got you here in the first place. The point is to try. Not beat yourself up in the process. When you explore a new path by doing, you learn a lot not just about where you were going but who you became along the way. So if one goal wasn’t really what you wanted, at least you made your route a little clearer.

Have you written goals for your personal life? How do you go about doing big or longer-term projects? Share your ideas!

And by the way!

My name is Tara. I am a licensed clinical social worker who provides online counseling services in the state of Illinois. This blog post is not therapy and should not be used as a substitute for therapy. If you are interested in a free 15 consultation with me, click here!

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