Sunday, August 15, 2010

Discovering and Attaining Your Life Goals

By D. Dale Fairclough, CPC, PE
August 1, 2010 (Original date)

In the fast-paced world we live in today, it may seem like life is flying by. Sometimes we are just hanging on for the ride and living moment to moment trying to keep up with all of life's demands. This is especially true if you have a challenging job, children or other family members to care for, bills to pay, a home to maintain, or other time consuming responsibilities. We often feel some satisfaction in just keeping up and in maintaining things in such a fashion that they don't go haywire.

However, just keeping up and maintaining the status quo (keeping things as they are) will probably not get us to the higher goals we have in life. To reach those goals often requires a step-change-- meaning that we make a noticeable change in some area of our life that clears a path for us to take big strides forward.

You may then say, "I just don't have the time to even think about anything beyond what I already have to deal with". The truth is that, if you really have the desire, you can make the time through having the right mindset and effective planning.

Here's are step by step guidelines towards setting goals and taking the initial steps towards attaining them:

1) Find a quiet time to think. You don't need much time, but it should be a time where you'll have some peace and will be uninterrupted for 15 minutes or so.

2) Now, let's work on changing your mindset. First, remove any negative thoughts that tell you "you can't" or "lt's too hard", etc. Picture them being washed away out to sea or being flushed away never to return. Now, repeat to yourself, "no matter where I am right now, I know that I can be and will be where I desire to be". Just leave it at that. If any voice begins to tell you otherwise, repeat the sentence to yourself or even out loud.

3) Next think of the area in which you'd most like to set a goal for yourself (finances, relationships, business, education, spiritual, health, etc.)

4) What is the particular goal you have in mind? Don't limit yourself and don't think small. THINK BIG. What specifically do you want to accomplish? (i.e. get a degree in a particular area, save towards a home, lead some type of a group, etc.)

5) Now that you've gotten that far, you may need to wait until you have more free time to continue with the next steps of developing the goal. If you desire, continue forward.

6) Develop the goal further: You need to answer the questions what exactly is the reason and purpose of my goal? It could be simply that it will bring you true happiness. Who, besides yourself, is directly involved in this goal (if anyone)? Where will I accomplish this goal? When will I accomplish it? How will I get there? What abilities/resources do I already have and what abilities/resources do I need?

7) You'll need to understand what has prevented you from getting to your goal in the past. Here's where you may come face to face with past pessimism. Here's where you will have to battle against the thoughts that want to tell you "you can't, because...". Can you work towards this goal with your current lifestyle and responsibilities or do you need to make a change in your life to clear the path for this goal? When every reason that "you can't" begins to rear its ugly head, combat it, with "I can and I will, by doing..."

8) Now that you've answered these questions and addressed some of the roadblocks, the next thing you need to do is make a concrete plan towards achieving your goal. When do I want to be done? When do I need to start? And what do I need to accomplish each step along the way and when? Depending on the goal, you'll need a year to year and month to month plan. Then you will drill this down further to create a week to week plan.

9) Follow your plan and stay on course. Check each week that you've made the headway you expected. What progress have you made? Any need to make changes to get around something that isn't going well?

10) If all of this sounds too challenging to do by yourself, enlist the services of a good life coach. A life coach will help bring out your best ideas, organize your thoughts, and create a solid and workable plan. Most of all a good coach will motivate you to stick with your plan and will act as a sounding board along the way. There is no shame in getting help. People do it all the time to get into good physical shape. Why not get a coach to help get your life in better shape? CEOs have life coaches and advisors, even the President does as well. Why not you? You are just as important as anyone else. Believe that!


Dale Fairclough, CPC, PE is the Founder of and Chief Coach/Consultant at Achieve Coaching and Consulting. To get in contact with Dale, please visit or send email to Dale directly at  Copyright 2010 by Achieve Coaching and Consulting.

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