The Career Coach: The Importance of Setting Goals for the New Year

The beginning of the year often means making resolutions, but instead of making promises you might break, why not make goals? Make a master plan of what you would like to accomplish in the coming year(s). A goal is a dream with a deadline.

pam.gif Pamela Kleibrink Thompson

The beginning of the year often means making resolutions, but instead of making promises you might break, why not make goals? Make a master plan of what you would like to accomplish in the coming year(s). A goal is a dream with a deadline.

Why:

Goals help keep you on track. Writing them down will help you get what you want. If you write down your goals this year, you will be in rare company. Fewer than 3% of the U.S. population actually write down their goals so already you will be ahead of 97% of other people. It is probably the same for all people around the world.

What:

Goals can be anything you want. Don't be afraid to write down whatever they may be. Be specific. Put a date on the top -- January 2001.

For example a goal list might look like:

January 2001- Goals for 2001.

Take a life drawing class once a week. Go to the zoo on Saturday mornings and draw animals for 2 hours. Take Richard Williams' Master Class. Read Illusion of Life. Work on personal sculpture projects one hour a day. Learn karate. See at least one movie a month. Meet two new people a week.

Even if you have just one or two goals write them down--no matter how extreme they may seem. Don't censor yourself thinking that your goal is impossible.

Your goal list might look like a plan of action.

Cinderella's goals for 2001

Go to more parties. Meet prince. Marry prince.

Goals can change and you may find that some of your goals/wants will no longer be important to you over time. When you accomplish your goals, make a new list. For example:

Cinderella's new goals

Send thank you notes for wedding gifts. Learn about landscape architecture. Remodel castle's kitchen.

How:

Feel free to write down both short term and long range goals so you can have a map of what you'd like to accomplish/acquire/learn/earn/do. Don't be afraid of putting down even the most impossible or outrageous goals. You'll never get those dreams if you don't know what they are.

If you prefer, you can create a dream board, which is a visual representation of your goals. Use drawings, type, photos or other visuals to illustrate your list of goals on a poster board. Hang it prominently so you can remind yourself of your direction every day. You can have a dream board party. Invite some friends over to share their dreams and make the boards together.

When:

Many people choose to make a list of their goals at the beginning of the year but anytime you do it is fine. In fact, last year I was so busy that I had a goal of writing down my goals for a few months. (I finally did it in late February).

Allow yourself enough time to accomplish your goals. Don't expect changes over night. If at the end of the first month you realize that you haven't started on your goals, get started. Or at least make a date with yourself to get started on one of them. It will give you a great sense of accomplishment.

Many goals can be difficult to reach but the problem is usually that we don't devote enough time or resources towards what we want. We get sidetracked. That is the key reason to write them down.

Who:

The dream board or goals list is what you want--not the expectations or wishes of anyone else. What is important to you? Don't worry about what others think of your goals/plans. It's your desires.

Where:

After you have your goals/dreams list put it somewhere you can look at it on a regular basis. Post your goals list in a prominent place. Use it to remind yourself of what you'd like to do, what you want to accomplish and where you'd like to go. It will help you keep on your path to your dreams.

Begin now--make a goals list or dream board and get started on creating the life you want.

Pamela Kleibrink Thompson is a career coach and recruiter who speaks at colleges and universities about animation, art and visual effects careers. She had 25 goals for 1999 and did two in 1999 and two more in 2000. She plans (her goal is) to make a new goal list before the end of January.

©Copyright 2001 Pamela Kleibrink Thompson

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