The Chaos Whisperer

Helping you tame the Chaos at Home & Work

How To Identify Your Goals

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A few posts ago, I walked you through my 11 Tactics for reaching your personal resolutions and goals. But what I didn’t tell you is how to actually identify what those goals are. This is by far the most important FIRST step you will need to take if you want to see any project or goal to fruition.

Your goals should be very personal to you, so I’m not going to try and tell you what they should be. But I can tell you how I went about deciding on my own 10 Goals for the year.

The key is to keep it simple and specific.

Start with one category or area of your life at a time, such as your work, your relationships, or your health. If you’re only focusing on work for the purposes of this exercise, then try to identify what areas of your work or project that demand your focus the most. You can’t make a goal for every single desire or problem you face – you’d never get them all done!

So simplify and specify.

What aspects of your work and life need the most attention? It’s important to understand the process of killing your “good” ideas for the truly great or worthwhile ones. And the same goes with your goal setting. For me, I decided to focus my goals on my work environment & experience, my finances, my sleep & fitness routines, my relationship, and my inner voice. This is my simplified list of the specific aspects, or categories, in my work and life that most need my focus this year.

Once you have identified the categories within which you need to focus, then take a few minutes with each one and describe what you want to see happen in that aspect of your life. What would a successful outcome be that you could reasonable reach in a year’s time? You can describe it however you like – in prose or poetry, as a list, or even as a drawing – however will resonate with you the strongest.

Personally, I am an avid list-maker. So I made a list. I took each category, and listed out the 1-2 successful outcomes I’d like to see in each this year. Limit yourself to only 1-2 in each category, to prevent your overall list from becoming overwhelmingly long. And again, remember to be specific and actionable.

Describe the “what” and the “how”.

What are your 1-2 ideal outcomes for each of your focus categories, and how could those come about? Or rather, what is your ONE ideal outcome in that category, and what are 1-2 ways you could see that coming true? If you describe what you’d like to see happen in that category in a year’s time, then your goal will simply be how you will get yourself there.

For example, one of my categories is my work environment. Within that category, I realized that my two primary work spaces needed to be better organized to allow me to be more productive. So the 1-2 ways I envisioned that coming true were to (1) organize my production office, and (2) clear the clutter in my home office to keep both more artistically and productively arranged.

Now you do the same! After you’ve done the above, you should end up your own simple number of specific outcomes you’d like to see in your work and life. If you end up with too many of them, or they are too vague and broad, go back and go through them again.

Remember to simplify! Keep them as specific and actionable as possible, and you will be better setting yourself up for success. If you prefer an acronym, keep them SMART: Specific, Measurable, Actionable, Realistic & Timely. However you remember, the bottom line is that the more specifically you nail down the “what” you want, the more easily the “how” will come with it.

Beyond that, the next step is to assign priorities and deadlines to your goals, and start taking action… but that’s getting more into the weeds of how to actually start achieving your goals. That’s your next assignment. But at least for now, if you’ve done the above, you can proudly say you’ve identified what your goals are – and that’s a very rewarding thing to have achieved in itself!

So happy goal setting, and feel free to ask me any questions or leave any comments you like below. I’m always here and always happy to help you simplify and specify!


Author: Rebecca Ahn

Writer. Producer. Editor. Warrior. And one Tough Cookie!

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