What would you do if you weren’t afraid? Afraid of failure, afraid of what your parents, colleagues, boss would say? Would you fight for your dreams? Would following your dreams be non-negotiable?
In our busyness, it seems like we forgot to listen to ourselves. We forgot to put ourselves first and go after what we really want.
It’s 2018. What actions will you take this year to follow your dreams?
Whether it’s about landing a new job, getting that promotion, landing a new client or simply becoming more proficient in your job, in this article, I will share four steps you can take to make your dreams happen this year.
How Big Are Your Dreams?
We are taught to dream big. There is an entire industry urging us to set bold, scary goals.
While setting bold goals has its merit, I’m a big believer in setting the right goals for you. That does not mean settling down for less than you deserve. It means listening to your heart and your intuition and determine what success means to you and no one else.
If you haven’t done it already, now it’s the time to sit down and think of what is it you want to accomplish this year, whether in your career or personal life.
Write them down. Think of how would you feel at the end of the year, when you look back at everything you have achieved.
Does it make you smile? Does it make you fearless and invincible?
Good! That’s the feeling you want to keep when you set your goals for 2018.
The Action Plan
Now that you know what you want to achieve by the end of 2018, let’s look at how you can put them into practice.
Here, I’m going to focus on PR professional development, but you can apply the same principle and steps to any goals you set for yourself.
After you set your big, scary goal, you may be tempted to jump right in and focus only on that.
You may be tempted to focus less on your job and daily tasks. While I understand your enthusiasm to get started, let’s back up and start small.
I know there is no fun in starting small. But it will help you take one step at a time towards your big goal, and it will avoid you burning out.
What will you do when you have too much work to do, or you are too tired?
These small steps, taken every day will become a habit ingrained in your routine. In no time, you won’t even realize you’re doing them, that’s how used to them you become.
Break down your goals for this year in quarterly, monthly, and weekly achievements.
Then break them down into daily actions you should do to accomplish those weekly, monthly, and quarterly goals.
When you have your goals written down and split into daily actions, a wonderful thing happens: they are not so scary anymore. They become doable.
Taking small, daily actions will help you achieve two things. On the one hand, they become part of your work routine, and, on the other hand, you progress towards your weekly and monthly goals.
As tempting as it is to be head-down and keep grinding for the entire year, you need to stop.
You need to stop and set milestones along the way.
One way to do that is to consider your quarterly goals as milestones.
What exactly is a milestone?
In project management, a milestone is “a specific point in time within a project lifecycle used to measure the progress of a project toward its ultimate goal.”
For you, it can be meeting someone you admire in person, after building a relationship with them online. It can be getting an insider view of the company you want to work for. Or touching base with a potential client for your business.
Milestones are those points you reach after working hard for an entire quarter.
If your goal were to become a leader in digital, a milestone could be the number of digital conferences you speak to, or the problems you solve in a determined period.
Bottom line here is, a milestone is a turning point towards achieving your bigger goal.
If you don’t reach it, you’re farther away from your big goal. If you do reach it, it propels you even closer to your big goal.
Celebrate the Small Wins
As much as you’d like to keep grinding until you reach your big goal, you have to stop and smell the roses. In other words, you have to stop and celebrate your wins.
You may be tempted to discard the small wins, such as a new influencer you connected with on social media or being introduced to a potential client you never thought of.
Part of your success in achieving your professional goals is enjoying the process. To do that, you need to stop and celebrate even the smallest wins.
When you do that, two things happen: you are more aware of your progress and thus, more excited to continue. And you are grateful. Being grateful for what you already have, it’s crucial for your personal and professional development.
When you learn to appreciate even the smallest things, your mind will find opportunities where before might have seemed impossible.
So, celebrate your daily and weekly wins. If it helps, write down each win you achieved at the end of the week. And when you feel down or feel there is no way out, read them out loud. It will give you the energy to continue.
Wrapping It All Up
It can be tempting to give up when you don’t see any progress. Following these steps will help you stay on the track, and enjoy the process.
Another thing will happen when you document your action plan: change.
In your journey to reach your big goals for 2018, you may discover what you believed to be crucial at the beginning of the year, not to be important after all.
You may discover your heart lies elsewhere.
And that OK. That’s why is so important to enjoy the process, not only the end-result. It will help you become more confident in your abilities, develop new traits, and better know yourself and what you like and want the most.