On a Mission: Setting Goals

Okay, so we all know goals are important right? Whether it’s baseball or soccer, without scoring you can’t win. But just having goals isn’t enough. Once you have them, you need to write them down.

A study done by the Ford Foundation and mentioned in Never Eat Alone (by Keith Ferrazzi) says that only 10% of the population has specific well-defined goals. But 7 out of 10 of that 10% only achieved their goals 50% of the time. The other 3 out of 10 people surveyed, however, achieved their goals a resounding 89% of the time–the difference? They wrote their goals down.

That’s the idea behind my goals page. To keep me accountable and working toward my goals, I write them down where the big wide world (aka all of you) can see them. If you don’t know where you’re going, you’re going to have a lot of trouble getting there.

I recently went to lunch with a good friend. She has always thought she wanted to go into law–but now that she’s working as an assistant at a law office, she’s changed her mind. As a result, she’s looking for another job. But when I asked her what type of job she was looking for, she couldn’t tell me. So, even though I check job boards religiously and forward leads to all my friends (I know it’s a weird hobby), there’s nothing I can do to help her reach her goals–because she doesn’t have them.

As a freelancer, you can’t always know how many of your queries will be accepted or how many project proposals will result in you landing the job, which makes it hard to set goals. However you can set yourself goals based on work once its awarded. You can also set yourself word count goals, or goals for number of queries submitted.

Which is exactly the point of my goals page. Although for a while now I haven’t been updating it nearly often enough, if you visit it now you’ll find I’m back on the wagon. I have several concrete goals to accomplish. In addition to writing my goals there, I have a cork board on my wall that I pin notes too. Personally, I find a great deal of satisfaction in crossing something off a list (or putting a check mark next to it). Each task has it’s own small piece of paper, pinned to my board that I can tear down when that item is completed.

Of course, everyone has their own methods, but the important part is having goals, writing them down, and spending time each day dedicated to achieving them. Slowly but surely it’s working for me.

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