You can accomplish anything when you set goals

PATRICK AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. -- Have you ever felt like you were just spinning your wheels? You work hard every day but never seem to accomplish anything? If this sounds familiar there may be a simple fix and the secret is anyone can do it. So what is this magic formula? Simply stated: setting goals.

Research has shown that people who write down their goals are more likely to achieve their goals than their equally motivated peers who did not document their goals. To set goals, motivational speaker Dr. Tom Barrett offers the following:

1. Determine what you want
2. Decide what you are willing to give up or reschedule in order to get what you want
3. Associate with people who will help you get what you want
4. Have a plan that works
5. Work your plan

To begin, start with a long-range goal. Decide the end result that you want to achieve and then break that into smaller, shorter-range goals. Keep your goals in front of you, whether on a calendar or posted at your workspace to keep you focused. Ask yourself, what is the desired end result? What are the steps that must be taken to achieve your goal? What will I need to accomplish those steps? In what timeframe should each of these steps be completed? What are some potential stumbling blocks and how can I avoid them?

Once you have clearly defined your goals, make daily "to-do" lists defining what steps need to be accomplished that day toward reaching those goals and stick to it! Be flexible as situations will undoubtedly occur but try to remain focused, completing the most important and pressing goals first. At the end of the day, when you can look back and see all that you have accomplished, it will be both gratifying and motivating.

When writing your goals, always state your goals in a positive and precise statement that is both realistic yet challenging. A pneumonic that is useful in goal setting is SMART which stands for: Smart, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, Time-sensitive.

Experience and changing priorities will, of course, require periodic review of your long-term goals and modifications may be needed, but the end result will always be a more productive and successful Air Force or civilian career. Take the time to set some goals today! It will be time well spent.