Five Steps to Reaching the Stars | Jobs In MD

Five Steps to Reaching the Stars

By: Margaret Hansen

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Five Steps to Reaching the Stars

Creating your life's goals can be overwhelming. Try this for fun:

As Stephen R. Covey's second habit states, "Begin with the end in mind." Morbidity aside, writing your own obituary offers you a great exercise in goal setting.

  1. Where will you live and work? What type of work?
  2. What will you achieve in your career and personal life?
  3. Other areas, such as:
    • Charitable activities
    • Education
    • Retirement and hobbies
    • Reputation among peers, family, colleagues
    • Your values

Your obit becomes a list of your long-term goals.

Pick the most important goal and decide what would need to happen first. Then take these sub-goals and decide what - if anything - needs to happen before they occur. Eventually, you'll have a list of short-term goals.

Whether on your smart phone or an old-fashioned wall calendar, Robert D. Lock, author of Taking Charge of Your Career Direction, recommends setting deadlines.

"A target date not only helps you make goals specific and measurable, it increases your motivation and commitment to the goal," says Lock.

Websites like offer a free place to post goals, get inspired by and inspire others, learn goal setting advice, and receive encouraging "cheers".

Another site,, offers an unusual but effective option to place a bet on yourself. If you put your money on the line (optional), StickK will charge your credit card if your goals aren't met and donate the money to your choice of friend, foe, or charity.

The Commitment Contract concept is based on two principles of behavioral economics:

  1. People don't always do what they claim they want to do
  2. Incentives get people to do things

Founded by a Yale University economics professor, about 30 percent of StickK's users fork over their credit card to help achieve their own goals.

How do you know if you're heading in the right direction? Make sure each goal passes the SMART test:

  1. Specific
  2. Measurable
  3. Achievable
  4. Realistic
  5. Timely

Good luck and have fun taking steps toward a wonderful life, designed by... you.

Margaret Hansen has been writing professionally since receiving a bachelor's degree in journalism from the University of Maine. She has worked for multiple organizations as a weekly newspaper reporter, a weekly newspaper editor, and in a variety of internal/external marketing communications roles. Her freelance career has focused on writing and editing for print, email and web publications in the employment industry, as well as manuscript editing and resume writing.