How To Achieve That Goal
The third item to consider whenever setting a goal is “How.”
“How” are you going to achieve your objective? How? How do you go about doing things?
What capabilities/strategies/action plans do you have? Do you need to develop new capabilities, strategies, or action plans? Are they in alignment with the Why and the Who? If not, what needs to be changed? Perhaps you need to change your capabilities (get more training), strategies, or action plans. Or maybe, given this new information, you need to reassess your role (Who) or your beliefs and values (Why).
To be able to do so, you must have the necessary strategy and resources in place.
As a simple definition, “strategy” is the specific steps it will take to achieve that goal.
For example, let’s say your goal is this: “I want to go back to school and get a bachelor’s degree in English by December 31st of next year.” That’s an admirable goal, but you aren’t just going to walk onto a college campus and be awarded a degree in English. You must decide which school to attend, how to pay for school, and how many classes to take at one time, among other details. There must be a strategy.
Let’s take strategy even further, again considering the college goal.
Earning the degree itself is an important goal. “How” are you going to achieve your objective? You can break it down into smaller goals. For instance, one of those smaller goals could be: “I want to finish four classes by the end of this year.”
A goal may be short-term, medium-term, or long-term. Some people call everything under a week “short term,” under six months “medium term,” and over six months “long term.” Others might choose different time frames.
Short-term goals are ones that you will achieve soon, such as within a day, within a week, or possibly within a few months. They are often the stepping-stones that lead up to medium- and long-term goals and are a great way to progress through your plan. Those stepping-stones are your strategy. Short-term goals keep you from becoming overwhelmed or losing sight of your long-term goal. They give you steps to look forward to so you can celebrate along the way to the larger goal.
What you decide you want to achieve by next week and where you decide you want to be in one year, or five, or even twenty, will impact what you do today. Be ready to plan your strategy.
Achieve that goal Assignment
Consider the goals you’ve written down. Write “short-term” next to each short-term objective, “medium-term” next to each medium-term objective, and “long-term” next to each long-term objective. By doing so, you are beginning to plan your strategy or the steps (short-term goals) you will take to reach those goals, to get you from here to there.
For example, using our road map analogy and an imagined scenario to go with it, let’s say you want to drive from San Francisco to San Diego (that’s your long-term goal). Your “Who” is “nephew” because you’re going to San Diego to see your uncle. Your “What,” of course, is to arrive in San Diego. Your “Why” is because he adores you, and he just won the lottery. Now, it helps to make stops (short-term goals) along the way for such a long drive. Your first goal can be to get to San Jose. Your next goal will be to get to the 5 Freeway. And so on.
The short-term goals need to be arranged one behind the other in the order they need to be accomplished to achieve the bigger objective. These new short-term goals will be your strategy.
The other important aspect of deciding “How” a goal will be carried out is the resources you have available, or will have available, to achieve that goal.
Resources are necessary to carry out a task. They usually are people, equipment, facilities, funding, or anything else required for completing a goal.
An assistant is a resource, more education is a resource, and an encouraging mate is a resource. Other resources may include books, tapes, seminars you would like to attend, courses you would like to complete, mentors, and coaches.
A list of your resources is a valuable tool for making and accomplishing goals because you can instantly draw on resources to help you. If you don’t currently have a specific, necessary resource available to you, you will need to determine when to get it and how you will obtain it.
“How” are you going to achieve that goal using resources?
What is it you want to achieve? If you want to start your own business in the next couple of years, you know you have to set back cash (resource) to obtain this goal. You will also need to decide if you need additional skills (resource) or education (resource) to set up a business. Here you’ll notice that resources and strategy go hand-in-hand. Resources are those people or items capable of or required for completing a goal. The actual planning of what you’ll need and determining the steps you’ll take to achieve them is strategy.
Let’s assume I planned to become a senior account manager. Consequently, I will volunteer to perform chores (strategy) with a friend who is a senior account manager at another company. While performing those chores, I’ll ask him for some helpful tips (resources).
The most valuable resource you have is . . . Guess who? . . . Yourself.
You might like to do what marketing consultants call a SWOT on yourself—this is where you analyze your Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats.
You’ll probably only want to put your strengths and opportunities in your resource’s list. Think about your abilities, physically, mentally, and in terms of confidence. Your strengths and achievements in these areas are useful resources for you to draw on.
In your journal, beneath each “Why,” write: “How: Resources Currently Available.” List every resource you currently have available to you in terms of your own experience and outside resources.
Now, beneath each “How: Resources Currently Available,” write: “How: Resources I Will Need to Obtain.” List every resource you can think of that you currently do not have available but need to get. Leave space to add to this list as further thoughts or ideas for resources surface.
As more thoughts or ideas for resources surface, make and arrange new objectives, and the “Who” and “Why” needed to obtain their resource objectives.
Review and adjust the resources you need to obtain and the strategy required to carry out the “How regularly.” This will help you to achieve that goal you set for yourself, easily.