Focus on “Goals” Not “Tasks”

You will never achieve your professional or personal outcomes if you don’t establish them as goals. You may have 150 items on your “to-do list,” but what difference would it make even if you got them all done? Even if the items were personal and unrelated to work your boss has assigned?

If your only focus is working on immediate action items for the boss, you will never grow personally or professionally. We all make fun of New Year’s resolutions, but the concept isn’t a bad idea. Having big-picture goals will help you set a direction for growth or improvement.

Goals provide direction and keep you from getting mired in “today “tasks. Your daily to-do list will keep you walking through life in the same direction and at the same pace. There’s nothing wrong with this if you are satisfied with your life as it exists. But what if you want more?

As author Bill Copeland says, when you don’t set goals, you can spend your whole life running up and down and not achieve anything. In reality, you’re just fulfilling others’ goals, not yours.

What big thing would you like to accomplish more? Travel to Australia? Learn a language? Find a new career?

Setting and writing down goals like this will make them seem real and allow you to create a list of action items that will break down big visions into smaller and more doable steps.

Let’s say you want to learn a new language. Initial steps might be researching different languages and researching online or in-person courses. Perhaps you could promise yourself a trip to Italy next year if you learn Italian.

Goals let you get more from your life.

Goals should be written down.

Set goals that are a “big reach” and are more likely to energize you.

Establish a timeline

Keep a journal on the progress you are making and even your setbacks. This step creates accountability.

Goals will help you avoid procrastination.

Make sure that you are establishing SMART goals. They are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and measured by time.

Remember educator Benjamin Mays’s words, “The tragedy of life doesn’t lie in our reaching your goal. The tragedy lies in having no goals to reach.”

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