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Most of us think of making changes at the start of a new year. But the truth of the matter is that any time of the year is a great time to start anew. If you’re serious about making changes in your life you need to start by setting goals: specific, concrete, measurable goals.
Start by setting a few specific long-term goals. Generalizations like “I will get into shape” or “I will increase my sales” don’t work. Goals need to be specific statements of your intentions. For example, “I will lose 30 pounds in six months” or “I will increase my sales by 10 percent this year.” Once you have your goals in place, you can create a plan to reach them.
Let’s get more specific. Maybe one of your long-term goals for 2005 is to find a new job in marketing. If so networking should be part of your plan. But, “get out and network” is too vague to be a goal. There are too many variables. You need to ask yourself questions like: Where will I go? Who should I meet? How will I measure my success?
One of your short-term goals is to decide what events and/or groups to target. Since you want to work in marketing one of the groups you should research is the American Marketing Association. You can find information on associations in your field by looking online or in your local paper’s business section. Another possibility might be your city’s Chamber of Commerce. Come up with your own ideas. Ask friends and colleagues for suggestions.
Your plan should also include deciding which groups work best for you and how many events you will attend each month. One way to measure your success is to see how many contacts you make each month. Just be sure that you develop and maintain these relationships. Don’t fall into the trap of passing out business cards to people who barely know you. That’s not networking.
Creating Your Plan
What do you want to achieve this year? Be specific. Start by developing a list of objectives: things you want to achieve in your personal and professional life. These are your long-term goals. Next create a plan to reach each long-term goal.
The plan is a series of short-term goals, objectives you can reach in a month or two. Ideally you will develop several short-term goals for each long-term objective. Short-term goals serve as stepping-stones. They will lead you where you want to go.
To help you stay motivated, your plan should also include daily and weekly goals. Make sure you give yourself the opportunity to have little successes along the way.
Change isn’t easy. It takes commitment and a lot of hard work. Having a plan will make the process easier. This year make the time to develop your goals. Go one step further and write them down. Review and update them periodically.
Don’t try to accomplish everything at once. Be content to move one-step at a time. And if you think one step isn’t significant, remember : “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” (Confucius)
Want a step-by-step guide for developing your Goals? Download Stop Dreaming & Start Doing: A Practical Guide for Getting What You Want With SMART Goals from amazon.com today.