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Action After Goal Is Set
So you decided to start something new, be it losing weight, quitting smoking, or going back to college. Each of these tasks is daunting at first glance, but the right goal setting techniques will help you to accomplish any tasks almost easily. Anyone can dream, but it becomes a goal when written down.

Sit Down and Think
All you need to start is something to write on (a piece of paper or computer) and something to write with (a pen, or your keyboard). Sit in a comfortable spot with minimal distractions, and allow your mind to truly think about your goal.

Some questions to ask about your goal:

  • What do you need to do to realize this dream?
  • Are there set steps or processes? Or do you have to figure it out yourself? How will you find this information out? Eg: search online or call an information phone number.
  • What do you need before you can start this goal? Eg: money, more time, fresh veggies, smoking cessation products, college pamphlets and applications.
  • How did other people get to this goal? Can you follow in their footsteps?
  • Is there anyone who can be a mentor during this journey? What advice do they have for you?
Write down any ideas, questions, and thoughts you have during this brain-storming session. The first step is seeing what kinds of information you need to continue. If you are at a computer you can start researching these questions. Find out how to start, what you'll need, and what to do next.

The most helpful question to ask is, where do you see yourself in 3 months? 6 months? One year? Imagining yourself at your goal is proven to help your brain to begin processing actually doing that goal, and it provides instant gratification. Imagining your goals being met in the future gives your brain yummy mental candy to chew on and triggers the dopamine receptors responsible for the pleasure center of the brain. This question also forces you to gauge your current status. How are you doing right now? Are you actively pursuing your goals? If not, you can see what social, mental, and environmental factors contribute to hindering your progress and begin to make changes to get the ball rolling.

Gather Information and Begin to Plan

After you finish writing down what you'll need to know, it's time to head to the library or your laptop. Search engines will be crucial for efficiently researching your goal. A simple trick is to write "How to [apply for college, lose weight, etc.]..." in quotation marks in the search box and see what kinds of information turns up. If you have a specific product in mind, say for losing weight or for quitting smoking, find the website or the phone number and ask for information or prices.

Magazines available at the library for free can offer quick, reader-friendly information and almost every issue in any niche has articles especially for beginners just starting out and has fresh, new advice that you won't find in older books. However, for the most information in one place, books on your general area will be invaluable.

If you have Rs.100-200 to spend you can find a great book for beginners on your topic at a bookstore or on internet make sure you thoroughly read the reviews or skim through the book to make sure it will be a smart buy, but a recent book published within the last few years is your best bet. Beginner books series specializes on introducing new topics for beginners and have step by step plans and advice. If you are totally lost on how to start realizing your goal, find a book specially targeted for beginners.

If you need a support group, search for forums where people interested in similar goals and hobbies join to talk in one place. These forums, such as the Weight Watchers forums, are a great way to find people who are farther along in their journey and can offer guidance, advice, and help for people just like you starting out. There are also hotlines you can call for anonymous counseling on quitting smoking or finding professional help for substance and alcohol abuse.

When researching, keep a pad of paper near your workspace so you can take notes. This information will be used to help you flesh out your plan later. Depending on the goal, researching can take 1-2 hours so set aside a few blocks of time during the week if you have a tight deadline to search online or visit the library. If you have decided to purchase a book, you can highlight key points and write down the steps they outline.

Break Up your List into Manageable Daily, Weekly and Monthly Tasks

The hard part is finally over. It can be overwhelming to dive into a new topic headfirst, but now you are armed with vital information that will prove invaluable for you later on as you hit roadblocks or self doubt. Take your research notes and skim over the information that you found. Is there a clear-cut plan emerging? Begin to write down everything that you have to do for you goal. If a task is too large, break it up into monthly, weekly, or daily tasks. For example, to lose weight one of the things you need to do is eat better. This topic is too large, so it can be broken down into:

  • Drink 64 ounces of water daily.
  • Cook own dinner 4-5 times per week.
  • Try a new fruit or vegetable a few times per month .

Keep doing this for every task until you begin to see every small thing you need to do for your goal. Now you have a plan! If you haven't already, organize these into daily tasks, weekly tasks, and monthly tasks. Take a look at your list, and start the first daily task immediately. Is your first task to quit smoking to throw out your remaining cigarettes? Head over to that garbage can. Congratulations, you just set an action plan with your goals. Make sure you read over your task list everyday and to visualize your goals so that you always know where you're headed.