7 Steps to Achieving Our Higher-Level Goals Setting a goal is the start of a journey. Achieving a goal is the beginning of your next journey.

By Sherrie Campbell

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Goals are a popular topic in any conversation regarding growth, change or success. The reason goals are imperative to our growth is because they organize us. Goals bring us a sense of psychological stability, purpose and direction.

The most powerful goal-vampires to rob of us success are not other people, they are our own fears and doubts. These psychological predators are powerful enough to keep many of us from taking action, and we end up living as dreamers rather than doers. To achieve the growth, success and change we desire, we must become people we can respect and depend upon. We must look our fears in the face, and take action. The more our goals challenge us, the more we grow personally and professionally.

1. Analyze

The best way to decide what we want for our future is to analyze where we are right now. We must learn to estimate what needs to be done, if anything, to help us reach the next tier of our success. It is helpful to put words onto paper and analyze our current situation and ask ourselves if where we are and what we're doing is enough. This exercise helps us to objectively determine the baseline we're working from. There will be times where staying baseline is our most advantageous move, and other times we will need to risk change and take action.

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2. Define

As human beings, we are born with the natural desire to know more, do more, be more and to explore uncharted territories in our lives. This need for more is what funds our self-development. Those of us who deeply desire to increase our success, dream about making more money, getting in better shape, improving our diet, finding lasting love and becoming more deeply connected to life, love and people. To set achievable, realistic high-level goals, we need to determine how we want to achieve in each important area of our life, and detail the steps we need to take to be successful. The less defined our goals, the less direction, commitment and focus we will have when undertaking them. We must define our goals, shine them up, and then take well-planned, strategic action.

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3. Estimate

A great way to avoid feeling overwhelmed by the goals we set is to prioritize them from urgent to less urgent on our mental runway. The more we chunk-things-down for our brain, the less overwhelm we experience which helps keep self-doubt and negative self-talk at bay.

Urgent goals are those that require immediate attention. We must achieve these goals first and work back from there. As we meet each urgent goal, we are in tandem, meeting the smaller that build our longer-term goals. If we come face-to-face with a goal we are afraid to fly and we stall we back up our runway; therefore, it is important to put time estimates, rather than specific dates of achievement, around our goals.

We may find some of our fears are valid, letting us know we can't fly a certain goal because something about the goal is in mechanical failure. When we use time estimates, we allow for the possibility of unknown factors to occur, which keeps us from feeling like a failure when we do not meet a goal on the exact date initially chosen.

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4. Accountability

It is important to share our goals with another person. For this reason, having a mentor or a business coach is a great investment. One of the most significant things a coach adds is they keep us accountable. They give us someone to answer to. Another person's view into our life gives us a new level of objectivity on what needs reprioritizing, further planning, and which goals are ready to take flight.

When we have to factor in the unknowns, we are always more resilient and confident when we have a coach emotionally supporting us. Bottom line, when we have someone to answer to we naturally put more teeth into what we're trying to achieve.

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5. Contentment

Every goal that takes off from our runway has a period of flight time before it lands. Waiting to see how things land is always challenging when we are eager to see results. Wanting results coupled with having to wait for them can create impatience and lead to the development of an unpleasant, frustrated and disgruntled attitude.

Many things in life take longer than we want or expect. It is what it is. Once a goal takes off, we must learn to let go. Once a goal is in flight it is no longer under our direct control. The most effective way to come through the waiting period is to scale back and focus on all the good in our lives at this very moment and find contentment.

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6. Learn

When a goal takes off and it doesn't go the way we had hoped, we must take the perception that we didn't lose, we learned. We must go back to the drawing board and start the goal-setting process over again.

Failure helps us see the exact elements of the goal in need of refinement and improvement. So, we must refine, improve and launch the goal again. On another note, we may find a goal of ours didn't work because it actually wasn't the direction we were supposed to take. If it wasn't the direction for us, then we must recalibrate and redefine our direction with a brand-new set of goals. Goals, approached in this way, are effective and successful because whether a goal works or not, it becomes a win/win not a win/lose process. When goals are approached as learning experiences they help us grow and mature as much as they help us succeed and increase our income.

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7. Start again.

We have more choices available to us after a failure than at any other time because we have a blank slate to start from. If an important goal of ours has a crash-landing, we must get knee-deep in the rubble, analyze what failed, upgrade the goal and put it back on our runway. Further, we must not operate with only one goal on our runway. If we have a failure and need time to rebuild that goal, we can focus on the next goal in line and prepare that goal to take flight.

here is no such thing as a failure if we refuse to give up. There is no end to goal-setting because we can start again as many times as we choose. If we achieve all the goals on our runway, we must explore new directions, and define new goals that will take us towards new and unexplored territory in our lives.

In reality, goals take time. Nothing in life usually goes exactly as planned, so goal-setting requires patience, accountability and flexibility. Our goals are the expression of all the things we dream about for our life. We are 100 percent capable of achieving what we desire. What success comes down to is Grit. As the Cowardly Lion from the Wizard of Oz says, "If you stay on the merry-go-round long enough, you're bound to catch the brass ring."

Sherrie Campbell

Psychologist, Author, Speaker

Sherrie Campbell is a psychologist in Yorba Linda, Calif., with two decades of clinical training and experience in providing counseling and psychotherapy services. She is the author of Loving Yourself: The Mastery of Being Your Own Person. Her new book, Success Equations: A Path to an Emotionally Wealthy Life, is available for pre-order.

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