1. Consider The Big PictureThe sky’s the limit. Where would you like to be in life 10 or 20 years from now? Don’t hold back. This is the step for dreaming big. Brainstorm all the things you’d love to do or ways you’d like to spend your day-to-day life.
2. Break The Big Dreams Into CategoriesCommons ones are education, career, personal life, housing, savings, leisure time, spiritual life and retirement living. Which big dreams fit into which categories? Are some categories related?
3. Write Down Each Category GoalThen write down steps for achieving each one. This is the key to achieving all goals – breaking them down into baby steps. For example, if your goal is to be able to live off your writing income, what steps will get you there? Perhaps a first step would be to acquire a job that pays the bills while you hone your writing skills in a college course. A second step could be getting a part-time freelance writing gig on the side. The next step could be becoming a staff writer for a small local periodical and supplementing the income with a separate part-time job that doesn’t involve writing but works around your schedule. And so on.
4. One Acorn At A TimeIf you are overwhelmed by all your goals, pick just two to work on at a time, especially if they are related. For example, if your education goal is to go back to school to get a graduate degree and your career goal is to move up into management at work, consider a part-time college program that lets you work toward a degree that will help you at work.
5. Keep TrackMeasure your progress in small steps. Every month, write down what you’ve accomplished and list what you still intend to do.
6. Don’t Give UpThis is where most dreams fade. If you hit road blocks, find a way around them. If other parts of life get in the way, take care of them and then get back on track working toward your goal.
7. Celebrate Along The WayFirst, feel good about the fact that you haven’t given up. Then, celebrate meeting each small step on the way toward your goal. If you want to buy a house, celebrate the fact you’ve saved your designated house money each month for the past year, even if it will take another year to have enough for the down payment, for example.
8. Involve OthersLet people who care about you know that you are working on certain goals. Tell your life partner, parents, siblings or a good friend. Update them on your progress and they’re sure to give you some positive reinforcement. Also let them know when things are getting tough and they’ll empathize and encourage you to keep going.
9. Balance Your GoalsMake sure you are not so driven toward one goal that the rest of your life suffers. Frequently consider your leisure time or spiritual goals. Make sure you have enough downtime each month for the fun or rewarding activities you’ve listed so that you are energized to keep tackling your other long-term goals.
10. Rethink And Revise As NeededThis is not the same thing as giving up. Once a year, sit down and read your goals again. See where you are in meeting them. Take another look at your big picture. As you age and experience different things, your goals might change. If you never wanted children but meet someone you are crazy about, you might be surprised to start daydreaming of having kids. Or perhaps you find living in the city you’ve always dreamed about is not as fun as you’d thought. That’s not a failure, that’s part of growing and living. Rewrite your goals to align them with this new outlook.
Writing mostly about toner, James sometimes strays from subjects like Oki toner cartridges in order to learn more.