This post first appeared on Alpha PRoduction's blog on Oct. 2, 2019.
Nearly everyone has aspirations to reach higher levels of success in various aspects of their life; however, their dreams cannot reach fruition from simply dreaming; ambition must be met with planning, effort and dedication. As famous French writer and poet Antoine de Saint-Exupéry wrote, “A goal without a plan is just a wish.” No matter if you are intrinsically or extrinsically motivated, your goals can be accomplished through meticulous goal setting.
That being said, the first step of goal planning is to imagine what it is you wish to achieve, whether that be a long-term or short-term goal, or most likely a combination of both. From there, you can begin to set SMART goals. SMART is an acronym that stands for specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and timely, or in other words, adjectives that should describe each of your desired outcomes. A simple example of a SMART goal could be “to intern at an agency in NYC during summer 2020.” Next, you must break down your goal into objectives, strategies and tactics that support your ultimate goal. I hope this step sounds familiar! Perhaps your objectives could be “to become a well-rounded student by finals season” and “to improve my potential for hiring by the spring career fair.” Strategies for becoming a good student include maintaining good grades and becoming involved on campus, so tactics could include using a planner to track assignments and joining various clubs, respectively. As for improving potential for hiring, strategies may include creating a personal brand and becoming knowledgeable about the agency industry. Some tactics could be conducting a social media audit and recreating your resume, as well as creating a master list of the firms you’d like to apply to and researching those companies and their internship program’s requirements. As management guru Peter Drucker said, “Plans are only good intentions until they immediately degenerate into hard work.” Of course, you must be dedicated and put in the work. Goal planning without any implementation would be a waste of time and potential. Other tips for success include writing down your goals, especially more than once and in various places, and reviewing them regularly to ensure you are on the right track. Creating internal deadlines to track your progress and evaluate yourself is crucial to staying on task. It is important to be consistent and accountable while implementing your strategies: ask yourself, “am I doing what I need to do to be successful?” in order to monitor and correct your actions when necessary. Goal setting is an integral part of the career (and life) planning process; however, it can be difficult to pinpoint exactly what it is you want to accomplish. This can oftentimes be daunting and downright frightening, but you must remember that while it is good to stick to your goals and be dedicated, they are flexible and can be altered, if necessary. Sometimes, goals aren’t achieved on time or at all, and that is okay. Most importantly, be proud of yourself and celebrate every milestone! Staying positive and motivated is the greatest thing you can do to keep pushing yourself to achieve your goals. It is so easy to feel overwhelmed or undeserving, so remember that you are where you need to be and that you cannot compare your progress to anyone else’s. Patience is key, and personal growth is as equally a journey as it is a destination.
So, what are you waiting for? Go out there and smash your goals to become the best you can be!