Where do you want to be in 2 to 3 years?
If you’re just finishing up your college career this month, maybe a better question is: where do you want to be in 2 to 3 months (or, maybe even 2 to 3 weeks)?
Have you taken the steps necessary to achieve these goals?
Do you have a personal plan?
Something that helps you map out what you want to achieve and when? The personal plan’s value lies in the time you spend asking yourself questions and thinking through just what it will actually take to achieve your goals. I won’t spend a lot of time writing about what makes a good goal here, but I will refer to the SMART criteria – it’s always good to review: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-Bound.
Having SMART goals is great, but before you can achieve them, you have to align your time with your goals. If you set awesome, crystal clear goals but you don’t allow yourself any time to achieve them, they won’t get accomplished. Most people don’t achieve their goals because they don’t align their time with their goals – not because their goals are too difficult to achieve.
This is important. When you set your goals, you should be realistic with the amount of time you have to achieve them. Also be honest about the steps needed to achieve your goals.
Let’s say you have a good solid list of goals, but instead of aligning your time with the steps necessary to achieve them, you make excuses for how you spend your time and why you aren’t achieving your goals. Everyone has done this to some degree at some time. When you make excuses or misspend your time, it’s the equivalent of using what I’ll call ‘time credit cards.’ You’re using time that you don’t really have – except you can never pay the time back to yourself – it’s gone. You continually go into ‘time-debt.’
I can’t say enough about goal and time alignment. This will be important forever – as you work on your education, in your professional life at work, and especially in your personal life. Aligning your time and goals isn’t easy – you can’t buy your goals, you have to earn them.
Jonathan has broad ranging experience and currently works in eMarketing at Thomson Reuters in the Twin Cities area. He is a recent graduate of Oklahoma State Universitywhere he majored in Marketing. Prior to returning to Thomson Reuters, where he had an internship during college, he worked for Expedia in an account management role for their North American lodging business. Jonathan is an avid enthusiast of all things marketing, economics, and travel. And, he is a veteran of the United States Marine Corps. Connect with Jonathan on Twitter (@jonathanpetrino), LinkedIn, and his website.