1. Set a stretch goal.Start by developing a stretch goal, a long-term objective that will take years to accomplish. Determine your stretch goal first because this choice will influence the selection of intermediate and immediate goals. A stretch goal should be big. Some stretch goals are more specific than others. One person's specific goal might be “to become the CEO of Google.” Another individual's vaguer stretch goal would be “to produce a national television show.” An extremely vague goal would be “to work in the fashion industry.” It's OK, though, to leave room for interpretation. Be as specific as possible and allow yourself to adjust a goal. Once you establish a stretch goal, you can sketch out checkpoints along the way.
2. Set immediate goals.I like to create immediate goals that are small and assign a deadline that's very soon. I suggest setting up these goals as activities that can be accomplished in a week. Ask yourself, What do I need to get done this week that will contribute to and move me along my desired trajectory? What small thing can I do this week that will move me an inch closer to my goal? For writers, an immediate goal might to write six pages of a script or participate in a weekly writing class. It could also be to start reading a book about a field you'd like to enter. Be realistic. Accomplishing immediate goals should be like taking small baby steps: They contribute to your overall development and growth and set you up to complete intermediate goals.
3. Pick intermediate goals.Intermediate goals are broader than immediate goals and can have monthly or yearly time frames for their accomplishment. Perhaps an intermediate goal might be to apply to an apprenticeship or training program. If a desired outcome requires your relocation, more schooling or quitting a job, set a timeline for taking one of these intermediate steps. Meeting intermediate goals can help propel you forward along your trajectory. Achieving them might push you outside your comfort zone more than completing immediate goals and that’s great. It’s through discomfort that people grow and become who they want to be.
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