How To Close The Gap Separating Where You Are And Where You Want To Be

In tackling the challenge of figuring out what to do next in life, a tool you are likely to find useful is called goal achieving. It helps with the ability to achieve specific outcomes that take you closer to a desired result. Another term you are likely to come across is goal setting. I ask that you dismiss this term. Because inherent in it's meaning is the idea that you must have a fixed idea of the result you desire. It's OK to have an idea but all it needs to be is specific. Don't confuse fixed with specific.

You can call goals the broad actions that forward your mission. The blueprint for distilling concrete action steps. Achieving them requires that in addition to having an idea of what an outcome looks like you know what you need to do to bring them into fruition (hence the importance of brainstorming).

It's helpful to keep in mind that identifying a goal isn't what brings a desire into fruition. It's the sense of direction it accords that does the trick. Direction in this context isn't to suggest that one has a clear path to his end destination but that one has a sense of knowing he is going somewhere. I'm tempted to say that this sense of direction brews other useful qualities required for achieving outcomes: tenacity, passion, focus etc,.

So how might you go about achieving specific outcomes that take you closer to desired results? You have to identify them albeit through the process of entertaining the limitlessness of possibility, developing missions and embracing the abstract (a.k.a brainstorming).


Reality spells out the finitude of resources (time, attention, energy, money, people). When what lies in the outreach of possibility begin to collide with what lies in the domains of reality, rather than dismiss what possibility can offer, you may find it more beneficial to be SMART. To guide your achievement process using goals that are Specific Measurable Attainable Relevant and Timely. This distiller of action paths ensures that you have steps to take to bring you closer to the features that resides in the corners of your daydreams.

Pull from your list of possibilities. Chances are you have more than twenty items on this list. Take 20% of the number of items on your list that your consider most exciting / important / interesting. Continue to shed this list until you have just five items.

Your list of five items may look something like this:

Be in a loving and romantic relationship 
Be a Bestselling author 
Solve the riddle surrounding the existence of Dark Matter
Double my income
Get a nice paying job I like

Left in this state, these possibilities are likely to remain fragments of consciousness that tug your psyche begging to be fulfilled without offering detailed paths for their fruition. You must pose a question to each item. Ask: what does this involve doing?

To help with the difficulty of teasing out response to this question adopt the SMART method for achieving goals.

Specific requires that your goal is clear, it answers the prompt what does done look like?

Measurable requires that you track and review your progress of bringing your goal into fruition. As Peter Drucker put it: what gets measured gets managed.

Attainable requires that you believe that the item you want is achievable. This one is tricky. At one end is the idea that anything is possible, at the other end is the grip of reality on your psyche. You must exercise self-honesty to decide what you think is believable for you. As you get better at bringing your desires into fruiting you will find that the boundaries of what you consider believable will begin to recede.

Relevant requires that the items you have chosen to award your resources (time, attention, energy) has the tendency to bolster value upon you.

Timely requires that your goal is time bound. You accord appropriate time for the achievement of a goal.

Here is an example to get ideas flowing:

Say I pick "Get a nice paying job"

A specific outcome might be: collect letter of appointment from (desired company). 

A way to measure in a timely fashion might be: apply to three companies that fit my requirements by the end of next week.

Knowing the relevance and attainability requires a more individualised approach. It might be: getting a job will help me pay my bills and I can get a job in XY firm because I meet the criteria they require. 

In all your goal could look like this: Apply to Chervon, KPMG, and Unilever by end of this coming week.

This broad action-like statement opens up discrete action plans. Such as: Download C.V. template from Google. Prepare C.V. and send draft to Ekaete, Winnie, and Stephen (friends I trust and admire) to peruse and give me feedback. Call friend in Unilever to ask for criterion required for application. Call mentor (or anyone I admire) to ask for advice on strategies I might apply to secure a job. The list goes on.

Martin Lurther King Jr., is known to have said you don't need to see the whole staircase, just take the first step. What paralyses you into inaction may be far from things like a lack of willingness, improper training, or unexposure to the right connections, but an inability to identify the first step to get you going. A list of goals can help get you in motion. You just have to be smart about it.


Post Author: P. W. Uduk 

Photo Source:

Question of the week: What systems do you use to deploy activities that add value to you? Please let me know in the comments. 

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  1. Excellent post. For any chronic procrastinators out there...Sticky notes help! A lot!!!!


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