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Lack Of Strategy Prevents NZers Achieving Their Goals

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Unitec Futures Expert Says That Lack Of Strategy Prevents New Zealanders From Achieving Their Goals

Friday 22 February 2012 – Unitec Futures Expert Beth Soutter has released her top tips for getting from where you are now to where you want to be. Beth says that the enormity of our goals can often prevent us from getting started, but says that there are a number of strategies which can help us get there.

“Most of us, at some time or another, have dismissed that big audacious dream because it seemed too difficult or because we let self-doubt override ambition,” says Beth. “I work with Unitec students every day to help them reach their goals and the biggest thing I tell them is not to let themselves get in the way of their dreams,” says Beth.

Beth says that simple steps can transform goal attainment into a positive experience and has put together her list of top 5 tips for achieving your goals in 2013.

Here are Beth’s top 5 tips for achieving your goals in 2013:

Identify exactly what it is that you would like to achieve and eliminate any vague immeasurable goals. Too often we set ourselves non-specific goals like ‘get fit’, ‘get better grades’ or ‘improve at my job’. These sort of unclear goals are difficult to measure and almost impossible to commit to because there is no definite measure to prove you have achieved these. How fit do you want to become? Do you want to get an A+ average or are you working towards a B? Which areas do you need to improve on to do your job better? Try setting specific targets like ‘Get fit enough to run a marathon in under 2 hours’, ‘Achieve an A grade average during semester one’ and ‘Increase my words per minute typing speed to 60’ instead. Clear-cut and measurable goals are not only easier to stick to, but they also provide you with a greater sense of achievement when you finally do reach them. Ambiguous goals, on the other-hand, only leave room for self-depreciation. No one wants to look back at their achievements thinking ‘You could be fitter’, ‘You should have improved your grades more’ or ‘you still aren’t perfect at your job’. This kind of thinking quickly turns your achievement in reaching your goal from a positive experience into something negative making us less reluctant to set future goals.

Research exactly what you want and how to get there. You wouldn’t attempt to sail around the world without consulting a map, so don’t set out towards your goal without researching the paths which will lead you to your destination. Regardless of the goal, it is important to know what you will need to make it a reality. Do you need a University Degree/Diploma for that dream job? Or is it experience that you lack? Will some extra coaching bring you closer to selection for the local sports team? Consider looking at how others before you have reached their goals and, if you can, ask them questions. Often there are multiple ways of reaching that final destination; you need to identify which one will be the best for you. Just remember that what might appear to be the easiest route, may not always be the best.

Formulate a plan. Once you have researched all of the options available to you, now is the time to make a solid plan of attack. Break your goal into bite-sized pieces to make it more manageable and allow you to track your progress. Writing a novel? Don’t get to the last week of 2013 clutching a novel that has barely begun, facing yet another failed resolution. Instead, try setting yourself a target of two pages per week. This small, but consistent approach is much easier to commit to and the thought of just two pages (or even one paragraph per day) is almost so small that it is impossible to find excuses not to follow through with it. This approach can be likened to eating a large piece of steak. Attempting to swallow it whole would surely lead to choking. When cut into smaller pieces however the steak becomes entirely manageable and even something to enjoy. It is much easier to tackle something one piece at a time.

Share your goals with others. The process of telling others what you are working towards reinforces your commitment the goal and helps you remain accountable. Sharing your goals with others means that not only will you let yourself down by backing out or not giving it 100%, but you will also let your friends down too. Nobody wants to admit to a friend that they were defeated by their own goal and this can be the push you need to keep going when giving up feels like a tempting option. If you think you need extra motivation, try setting up a blog or Facebook page where you can share your goals with friends and find encouragement when you need it. (But just remember to keep safe and avoid sharing personal information such as your location online).

Don’t give up. Success is created through a combination of hard work, aspiration and above all else tenacity – especially when the going gets tough. Success is not genetic or a natural trait and if you ask anyone who has supposedly ‘made it’ they will all have personal stories of set-backs and epic failings to share. It is a little bit like learning to ride a bike without training wheels. Every child masters this at a different pace and most learn the importance of stick-ability somewhere along the way. Above all, you must not give up on your goals. No matter what happens the only way forward is to get back on that bike and continue to pedal without fear of the scrapes, bumps and bruises that will inevitably ensue. It might be worth evaluating your strategy at this stage too, after all, you can’t ride a bike sideways. Perhaps you now have more information or realised that your short-term targets were too difficult to sustain. Reassess and adjust if you need to, but don’t lose hope. There can be a number of reasons why things don’t go to plan and often it is these situations where we learn the most.

Beth says that these strategies can help that distant dream become a reality and leaves us with one final piece of advice to help get from where you are now, to where you want to be:
“The best time to start working towards our goals is not tomorrow, or on Monday; the best time to start working on achieving our goals is now” says Beth.
Beth Soutter is a lecturer for Unitec’s new Bridgepoint programme - a range of programmes specially designed to get you from where you are now, to where you want to be. “Even if you don’t have University Entrance, Bridgepoint is a fantastic way to kick-start the journey to achieving your goals,” says Beth.
For more information on Bridgepoint, or other programmes offered at Unitec, head to: www.unitec.ac.nz

- ENDS-

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