Be Honest With Yourself, And Your Expectations

There is nobody that knows you better than yourself. That’s why it is so extremely important to set realistic standards based on what you know about yourself.
If you know in your given circumstance that you are able to dedicate almost all of your time towards your goals without any other obligation, then you can be much more aggressive with the timeline of your goals.
If you have obligations other than your main goals, it is important to take all of these into consideration for how you should proceed to give yourself an appropriate amount of time to achieve your goals.
It’s also important to know your own personality and circumstance and how that plays into your goals.

There are a couple of different ways that people approach pursuing their goals. There are typically three main categories.
First is constantly striving to achieve the goal as fast as possible. Sometimes this can lead to the individual feeling like if they are relaxing that they are not doing what they are supposed to do because they could be working towards their goal. This tends to bleed over into that individual's personal life and starts becoming the main priority in their life as a whole. In some circumstances, this kind of dedication is needed to achieve a goal quickly for a specific reason. Other times, this can just be due to a personality type.
The second category is someone that wants to achieve something overall and is always slowly working towards it a little bit each day. While they are consistently working towards their goal, they have a much longer timetable than the previous individual. This could be due to previous obligations that we spoke about, or personality type. They typically view progress as progress, and as long as they are stepping in the right direction it is considered a success.
The third most common personality type is somewhere in between the previous two. This individual is dedicated to working towards their goals and achieving them, but they can also mentally relax when appropriate.
So it is important to find where you are in regards to your personality and your goals. There is no wrong way to pursue your goals, but understanding all these circumstances will allow you to accurately layout a timetable for yourself.

Set Your Big Goals

Think of setting your big goals as setting up a roadmap and planning out where you want your final destination to be. The next category of the smaller goals will talk about those road stops along the way to the final goal, but it’s important to have that clear destination. 
These goals can be anything you want to get out of your career as either a dental hygienist or a dental assistant. Some individuals' goals are to be able to have consistent work hours at a modern and friendly dental practice so that way they can still spend time at home with their family.
Maybe another goal is to be able to move to the city that you’ve always wanted to live in and work at a dental practice that’s on the beach.
Your end goal might even be to open up your own dental practice and become a dentist yourself.
No matter what the end goal is, it’s important to keep it at the forefront of your mind during these planning stages. The next couple of stages require the utilization of the reflection we did in the previous stage, as well as some external research about how long your necessary processes take.
Taking into account all of the things you learned from the self-honesty and self-reflection, as well as your external research, give yourself a general time range that you plan to achieve this end goal.
This goal might be only a year away if it seems like something that’s more relatively and quickly achievable, where another might be something that’s twenty to thirty years away. It’s completely up to whatever your goal is, your circumstances, and the estimated amount of time.

Give Yourself Smaller, and More Easily Achievable Goals

These are the smaller road stops on the way to your final destination that we spoke about before.
If you only categorize success as the achievement of your final goal then it will be very demoralizing every day that you don’t achieve that large goal.
Remember what we spoke about before. The large goal is supposed to take a good amount of time to actually achieve and work towards.
Let’s say that you are currently a dental assistant and your hope one day is to be able to become a dentist in your own dental practice.
That is great! So let’s break down that overall goal into more achievable and tangible objectives we can work towards.
You may first want to pursue becoming a dental hygienist. Once you achieve that that’s one step closer. The next step might be to study and apply to dental schools and programs. Then getting accepted into one and working through the classes. 
Then you would continue on that natural path until you reach her and objective. As you can see we can break down that overall goal into much smaller, and less overwhelming objectives.

Just Because The Plan Isn’t How You Thought, Doesn’t Mean You Aren’t On Track

To stick with the road trip analogy, understand that there will be detours. Things will happen and those road stops along the way may change significantly. The most important thing to try to remember is that no matter how off the rails are out of the way it feels like you are going, as long as you were still moving in the general right direction towards your goal, you can try to pull everything else together.
There are things in life that happen that are completely impossible to plan for, and those things throw our perfect plan completely off the table.
It’s important to understand that no matter how good of a plan we have, we are going to have to be flexible on our way to our end goal. Changes that are forced upon our plan should not be something to be panicked over, but to be expected and then worked with in the best way that we can.
Changes might even be so drastic that they completely change the end goal of our plan, and that’s OK too. No one says you only need to have one big objective for your life. Change your objective and then trying to accomplish that. If you do, that is awesome, and then you can go back to your first main goal.

No matter what, just keep pushing forward.

Chris Lewandowski

Published May 31, 2021

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