Katie Ledecky just won her fourth gold medal at the Olympics. Before the games, she was asked what her goals were, and she calmly and, with conviction and confidence, said her goal was to win four golds. It didn’t even sound like much of a stretch goal when Ledecky said it, and she seemed to have no trouble achieving what she set out to do.
While very few people will ever be Olympians, we each can be more successful in our own lives and in our work environments. Sometimes all it takes is setting some goals for yourself.
Think back to your past achievements. Remember the semester in college that you decided to earn that 4.0 average? Or when you spent all day, every day, for weeks studying to pass the bar exam? Or the effort you put forth to finish that grant application? Or that crucial team project at work that simply had to be completed on time?
Maybe in the past, you set–and met–goals for physical fitness or feats like a marathon, or a bike race, or a team sport. You more than likely kept track of your daily progress and set periodic new goals so that you could keep working toward that desired outcome.
As you plan for future success, what take-away lessons can you find in your past achievements? Begin by examining your initial commitment. You were serious and focused. You had a clear timeline — the exam, the end of a semester, the date of the marathon, the deadline at work. Third, you more than likely had a detailed plan that matched milestones on your timeline. Think about what kept you moving forward and on target? What drove you? What helped you when things got tough? How can your answers be applied to your current endeavor?
Perhaps the most important thing of all was setting the goal in the first place. In addition to setting your goal, you made certain it was accompanied by a plan, a timeline, and by commitment and perseverance. It was the real deal.
You know a real goal when you set one. And you know that anything else is simply wishing