I think it's so imperative that each of us have direction, understand exactly what we perceive as goals to be able to achieve them. How can you understand what you truly want until you define it? How can you achieve what you have not defined?
I have complete clarity of my vision. My personal goal in life is to help make a positive difference in others. My writing goal is to become a NYTimes Best-Selling author. I've made a marriage of my personal and writing goals by combining them in that I give 10% of my royalties to a charity of my choice. So, the better my books do, the more I can help others via financial means. In addition, I enjoy hands on help with one of my favorite charities being Habitat For Humanity.
This past year I saw the fruition of one of my goals dear to my heart - starting a scholarship at a local high school. Other goals with the 10% of my royalties is to buy a working dog for a local police force, buy a fire truck for a local fire station, and my personal favorite, sponsor an entire home for Habitat For Humanity."
What makes a good goal? How is that different from a dream? To me a goal is a clear decision of what you are trying to achieve with steps broken down to achieve it. A dream is a wish without a plan.
Should goals be short term or long term? A goal is personal and can be both. You can have a large goal with smaller 'goal' steps broken down to achieve the larger goal.
How does one know if a goal is realistic? I believe a realistic goal depends on the person, their capabilities, drive as belief in self. I tell people if someone has achieved the goal you want, then it's attainable.
What if goals conflict with one another? You must prioritize goals, decide what you truly want, then focus and persevere.
Should all goals have a due date? I firmly believe that setting goals as deadlines gives you a stronger focus as motivation.
What if one gets discouraged? Becoming discouraged is normal, this includes doubts of self, life situations or just being plain tired. It happens, and to me it's important from the start to acknowledge that you'll have discouraged moments. For me when those doubt-filled times come, I stop, review my goals as what I've so far achieved, then regroup and push forward.
What if goals change? As we grow, I find that our goals, what's important to us, changes as well. So, if you find your goal changing, stop, reevaluate if this is indeed what you want and best fits your life, break down the steps, then persevere.
How does one stay focused and avoid procrastination? By planning steps forward toward your goal, setting deadlines, and using what best motivates you to propel you forward. For example, when I'm writing new pages, I can't check mail until I've written a new pages. A small but effective reward for reaching a goal. :)
So what are your thoughts on Goals and Dreams?
Teaser alert! Here's an exerpt from His Conquest:
Through the carved window, Lady Linet Dancort scanned the midnight sky battered by hard, spring-fed rain. She must hurry. With a steadying breath, Linet pushed back her hood and stepped into the torchlight. A slight scrape sounded as her slipper touched the stone floor.
The Scottish rebel whirled to face her.
Lightening split the sky. Thunder snarled in its wake. Lord Grey's eyes, feral like a wolf's, locked on hers.
A tremor rocked her as potent as the next blast of thunder. Her body commanded she retreat. Linet refused. Like the air pulsing with energy, her every sense became charged with awareness.
The urge to shield her face from his unapologetic glare stunned her. Throughout her life she'd been given the freedom to study alongside her peers. Her father had encouraged her to speak her mind. Never had a man's presence, much less his gaze, incited her interest to a mind-spinning degree. It was illogical this prisoner could make her feel anything by a mere look.
But standing paces away, with his warrior's dark gaze burning into hers, her body trembled. She owed her reaction to nerves. And rightly so. By the rebels formidable height, scathing look and arrogant stance, there was little safe about the Scot. And with orders for Seathan MacGruder to be hung at first light, he must be desperate.
As was she.
Head held high, she stepped to within a hand's length of the cell door. Lightning illuminated the chamber, exposing he'd shifted his body, his feet now braced in an aggressive stance.
"I have come to set you free." Thunder rumbled, this time closer, an ominous backdrop to her quiet offer.
The earl remained silent, his expression raw with distrust.
The rebel doubted her. She'd expected as much. God forbid if he discovered Lord Tearlach, his sworn enemy, was her brother.