Twenty Something Advice: Make your goals measurable
A goal without a plan is just a wish. – Antoine de Saint-Exupery
Most twenty somethings I know would consider their twenties to be a stepping stone in their life on the path to bigger and better things. Gen Yers in particular are known for being big dreamers.
For me, having a goal and having a dream produce different results. A goal without a deadline is just a dream. A dream of mine is to be a professor. I would not yet say that this is a goal because I don’t have a specific time frame and I have not necessarily begun the specific steps to get there. Granted my current job is on the path to my dream, but it’s not a direct step by step process. Once I make the decision to change that dream into a goal I will set a plan of action on achieving that goal.
When setting goals it is important to set a deadline and make your goal measurable. Once there is a time frame in place for your goal it is much easier to break that goal down into manageable pieces. For example, my most resent goal is to be debt free by my birthday in February. Once I set that deadline I was then able to make measurable steps that I could take. I added up the amount of outstanding debt I had, then I divided that debt by the number of weeks I had left until my deadline. (I chose weekly because that’s how often I get paid) I was then able to know exactly how much money to pay each week towards my credit card. When you have a big goal and you break it down into smaller chunks you lose some of the “where do I begin” stress. For me when I first added up my total debt I was overwhelmed and felt helpless. As soon as I divided it into smaller payments I could actually begin to see the light at the end of the tunnel. Changing your big goals into small milestones can work with any goal.
Saying you want to lose 20 pounds can be perceived as a dream or a goal depending on what you are doing about it. If you mention this is casual conversation at dinner with your girlfriends (while eating a bowl of pasta) then I would consider this statement to be just a dream. Once you set in your mind that no matter what you are determined to lose 20 pounds that’s when you begin to measure your progress.
Some goals are easier to measure than others. The way to determine if your goal is measurable is to ask yourself – how will you know you’ve achieved this. The questions you should ask are “how much” and “by when”. Twenty pounds by a wedding date is very measurable. A better relationship with your husband is not. There is a way to make that measurable though – think of specifics. If a better relationship for you means making time for each other than that’s what you measure. For example – I will build a better relationship with my husband by having at least 3 date nights a month. Do you see how having something to measure lets you know how you are doing with your goal. Keep in mind that your measurements and deadlines can always be changed, the most important part is getting the ball rolling.
So, what are your goals and how will you know you’ve achieved them?
Previous Twenty Something Advice:
- Twenty Something Advice: Don’t plan your life based on what other people expect
- Twenty Something Struggle: Why Can’t I Be Happy?
- Twenty Something Advice: Educate Yourself on Politics
- Twenty Something Advice: Power of Music
- Twenty Something Advice: Circle of Friends
- Twenty Something Advice: Is it time for a job change?