Category Archives: Know Your Goals

The 6, Step 1

Goals vs Resolutions

Happy 2017 peeps! May this be the most successful, rewarding, joyous and blessed year yet Insha’Allah!

As I went through my previous rants of years past, I found one I had written over eight years ago for my career development blog on goal planning. Now as you’ve set resolutions for 2017, let me ask you, when was the last time you actually went passed February with any of your resolutions still in mind?

That got me thinking about how we go about our new year’s resolutions. Can my idea of goal planning from eight years ago be applied today? I took a hard look at it and realized that yes it can. With that in mind, here’s a fresh take on how to apply an old habit for new year’s, and quite frankly, all year round.

Goals vs Resolutions
Goal Planning for 2017
by Ms. Hala

First week of January and I’m sure you’ve got your new years resolution set. Maybe even started working on it? What’s your new years resolution this year? Is it to lose that holiday weight? To graduate college? To save enough money? To travel the world? That all sounds good but is it tangible enough to actually be accomplished?

Let’s start by understanding the word “resolution”.

– a firm decision to do or not to do something.
– the action of solving a problem, dispute, or contentious matter.

A quick Google search of the definition shows us that it means to solve a problem, making a decision towards an action. Not sure if that’s the route you were thinking of when you were coming up with what you’d like to accomplish this year.

May I suggest using the word “goal” instead?

-the object of a person’s ambition or effort; an aim or desired result.

Goal is defined by understanding your ambition, the effort you are willing to take, the end result you actually want.

Your new year’s resolution is to fix your weight problem. Your new year’s goal is to lose that extra 15 pounds by working out and changing your eating habits. Do you see the difference?

If it’s a problem, then it’s a resolution but if it’s an ambition, then it’s a goal. Either way, let’s plan it out together. I’ll use one of my own personal goals as an example. However, this method applies for almost anything you have in mind.

I didn’t read as many books as I should in the last two years and that to me is a problem. My new year’s resolution is to read more books. Now let’s take that and start planning my tangible goal, focusing on the ambition here. To help me break it down to a tangible goal, I’ll ask myself a handful of questions:

How many books do I want to read? -One each month.
What genre of books do I want to read? -Both fiction and nonfiction.
Do I have all desired books to read on hand? -No
Can I read around my busy work schedule? -Yes
Where can I find the best books in this part of the world? -Online if not at the local bookshop.
Do I want to read just English language books? -No

You’d be surprised how much it can expand out and sometimes become a bit complex. The destination is only as great as the journey.

Take out a sheet of blank paper (yes paper, or at least type it out and print it out) to create your goal plan. On top, put your tangible 2017 goal. Underneath that, write your monthly goals towards the main goal of the year. Then again, break down your weekly goals for each month.

This break down is to help you see how you are progressing and what you still need to complete towards your goal. You can even break it down further to daily tasks to achieve the weekly goals towards the main goal. What do I need to do every day to achieve my goal? I need to do some research on the books I have in mind. Go to the local book store. Purchase books online, either physical or digital. Plan out my reading schedule for the week.

Here’s what mine looks like thus far which includes the book I started reading last year.

Put that sheet of paper somewhere visible to you every day. The constant reminder will help you stay on top of your goal plans. Note your daily tasks in your calendar so that you can be reminded of it. Mark off what you’ve completed so you’re motivated to keep going. Missed a task? It’s OK, reschedule it. Didn’t reach your goal for the week? That’s fine, add it on to the rest of the month. Life happens and  you will need to reevaluate those small tasks and weekly goals for feasibility from time to time. These little changes are OK, don’t be bummed out about it. If anything, it’ll help you regain your focus and keep you motivated towards the end goal.

What does Ms. Hala do?

With the sheet of paper up on my fridge, I’m reminded of what my ambition is for the year. My weekly goals and daily tasks are listed in my Google calendar where I’ll get push notifications straight to both my phone and tablet. I even keep a private journal of my main goal for the year and months, note down any changes and progress.

When I started my MBA many years ago, by goal was to graduate by 2010. I had the wallpaper on my phone of my college graduation picture. This motivated me every time I looked at my phone, especially on those frustrating days working on an assignment, of what I was working towards.

What’s your goal for 2017? What’s it going to take for you to achieve it? Will you be working on it past February?

Good luck peeps!

Goal Planning

The first step before starting almost anything is knowing what your goals are. Don’t just say for example, “I want to be an architect”, but you need to ask yourself a few questions:
“What kind of architect do I want to be?”
“What skills do I have that qualify me as architect?”
“Which university has the best architecture program?”
“Do they offer job placement, internship or temp jobs programs to expand on my skills?”
“Where can I go to find an internship or temporary job?”
“What do I need to do to find an internship or temporary job?”

It gets a bit expanded and sometimes it can get a bit complex.

I want you to take out a sheet of blank paper and create your goal plan*. On top, put what your ultimate goal. For the sake of example, let’s say your ultimate goal is “Become an Architect.” Under that, write “5 Year Goal” and write what your goal is in the next 5 years. It could be that you want to graduate with a specified architectural degree by the year 2014. Under that, write “1 Year Goal” and write what your goal is in this next year. Do the same for your one month goal and your one week goal. These two help you see where you are at now, what you need to complete throughout the year towards your ultimate goal.

Your one month goal could be to have at least 5 applications with required essays, statements and letters of recommendations ready to be turned in at your desired universities. Your one week goal then can be listed as follows:
– Research and speak with different university admissions advisers and/or program directors.
– Have a personal statement drafted out to be applied to my master university application

For that week’s daily tasks, you’ll be listing tasks that you need to do that take you closer to your one week goal, one month goal, one year goal, five year goal. For example, your task for today is to draft your goal plan on becoming an architect. Tomorrow, your tasks are to research all university architectural programs in your city and to look up 2 articles on the industry.

Now that you get the idea, I suggest two things:
1. On a sheet with your ultimate goal where you will see it at least once a day. When you have a constant reminder of what you want to accomplish it makes it difficult to drift away from the tasks at hand towards that accomplishment. It also helps keep you motivated and positive, which in turn helps attract that good vibe and energy while you are working on those listed tasks.
2. List at least your monthly goals, weekly goals and daily tasks where it is convenient. For example, if you carry around a planner or use your phone’s calendar. This way, you have it with you all the time, can easily make any necessary changes as well as save lots and lots of trees.

What does Hala do?

I put all my weekly goals and daily tasks in my phone’s calendar while noting my monthly, yearly and five year goal plan in a private journal. That way, I constantly see the journal and have a reminder going off almost every few hours in my pocket of what I’m working towards.

From time to time, I’ll change the background on my phone to a picture from my graduation in 2005 so that I’m motivated towards my upcoming ultimate goal of completing my MBA. These types of things help me keep a smile on my face when I’m frustrated with any homework assignments or a project like I am now.

Feel free to share your goals here as well as any questions you may have about goal planning.

Until next time, remember again that looking for a job is a full time job in itself… so get busy!