GOALdigging: How to get exactly what you want

Small steps are the key to getting the life you want. Here’s how to set goals and achieve your dreams.

What did you dream about when you were younger? Did you have big ideas about where you’d live or what your life would be like? Maybe you were just excited to stay up late and start dating?

We all have hopes about who we’ll become—but what happens when life gets in the way of our big ideas? Whether you had plans to become a doctor or to get out of your hometown, whether your dreams have changed or just been on hold, it’s never too late to go after what you want. Here are some tips to start chasing those dreams. (You might be even closer than you think.)

1. Dream big, but start small.
Let’s say you want to be a popular makeup artist like Raye Boyce. She didn’t start that way. Before the shampoo commercials and magazine spreads, Boyce started by simply posting pictures of makeup she found in her local beauty store. Dreaming big is great, but making those dreams a reality takes small, consistent steps. You start small, set S.M.A.R.T. goals (more on that in step 3), and slowly but surely close in on the life you want.

2. Work backwards from your dream.
While starting small makes sense, figuring out where to start can be a challenge. Working backwards from the goal makes it easier to figure out what you need to do first. Let’s say your dream is to go back to school within 3 years. Are there special tests or courses you’ll need to take first? What do you need to think about in terms of paying tuition or covering family obligations while you’re studying? Working back from your first day of class, you can create goals for years 3, 2, and 1.

3. Make your goals as S.M.A.R.T. as you are. We know it sounds cheesy, but S.M.A.R.T. goals are a great tool to help you create a plan. S.M.A.R.T. goals got their dumb name because they should be Specific enough that you know exactly how to proceed. They should be Measurable and Attainable so that you’ll know when you’ve achieved them, and you’ll feel confidence that you can. The goals should be Results-based so that you’re focused on the big picture, and they should be Time-bound because adding timelines to your goals keeps you on track.

4. Find your cheerleaders.
Identify the people who cheer you up, make you laugh, and help you when you’re feeling stuck. Those people might be teachers, counselors, friends, family members, coworkers, or even a Snapchat follower you don’t know that well. We all have folks in our lives who will tell us why something won’t work, but when we’re goal-getting, we need people around us who remind us how strong, capable, and powerful we are.

5. Find mentors, groups, and resources.
In addition to cheerleaders, you’ll want to find people who are already doing what you’re interested in. These people aren’t necessarily your cheerleaders but, by doing what they do best, they can inspire you and fill you in on exactly what it takes to achieve your dreams. If you don’t have access to someone who’s doing what you want to do, use Google, YouTube, or your local library to find resources. Whatever you’re hoping to do, there are people online and offline talking about it.

6. Have confidence (you’ve got this).
It can be hard to stay motivated when your dreams feel far away, but if you’re discouraged, think about all of the things you’ve already done. Maybe you’re an amazing listener, or maybe you helped your family get through a really hard time. Maybe you’ve dealt with issues that most people could never imagine. When self-doubt creeps in and your social media feed tries to trick you into thinking you’re not doing enough, focus on what really matters. Make a list of what you’re most proud of and refer to it often, so you always remember that you have what it takes to make shit happen.

It’s worth noting that your big beautiful dreams are gonna take some work and some time. If becoming a new parent isn’t part of the plan right now, you’ll want to make sure your birth control is covered.

You got this,

P.S. Want some visual inspiration to go with your motivation? Check us out on Instagram.

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